Bon Voyage to Me!

In two days I depart on my Eastern European vacation!

I’m actually more nervous right now than excited, although I know that as soon as I arrive at the hotel the excitement will take over. The nerves are really just anxiousness from not knowing what to expect. Will every thing go well with my connections? Will they actually be there to pick me up at the airport and will I find them easily? What will everyone else be like?

I’m going on this trip alone. Alone is a relative term as it’s a tour group and river cruise so I’ll be surrounded by people, but you get what I mean.

This isn’t my first vacation alone, but the last one was to a spa which seemed a much more common or acceptable trip to make solo. There are lots of single travelers at destinations spas and it fits in with the idea of meditation and finding yourself usually linked to those locales. But a European trip seems different to take alone.

There’s the mixed reactions I get from people when I tell them I’m going alone. Some are genuinely excited for me, some in awe and some with pity because I don’t have a partner in crime.

As I was planning my sabbatical, I knew I wanted to take one big trip during those two months. At first I wavered because of the solo part of the travel, but at the end of the day I didn’t want to not go away just because I didn’t have anyone to travel with. So I thought about places I’d never been to before and have wanted to go and settled on Eastern Europe: Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.

I consider myself independent and don’t have issues exploring by myself, but I also don’t talk to random strangers or really enjoy sitting alone at restaurants even if it’s the counter or bar. That’s when I decided that finding a tour group could add some security to my trip. There would be people around and I could choose whether to talk to them or not.

When I called my friend, who is a travel agent, to help me find the right tour I told him, “I don’t want it to be all old people, but I don’t want a bunch of 18 year olds on a Contiki type tour.” So when I came across a river cruise as an option with one of the tour companies he sent me, I told him that’s what I wanted. He said “It’s all old people.” To which I replied that I didn’t care at that point. I’m not even a big cruise lover, but something about sailing (I know we won’t actually be sailing) down the Danube seemed idyllic. The majority will probably all be over 65, but they could be really interesting people or be bringing their whole family on some sort of trip. I decided I just wanted to go for it.

Now here I am about to leave in a couple of days. Writing about the trip has actually broken through some of the nerves and brought up more of the excitement. I’m looking forward to getting out of the country for a little while, to experiencing new cultures and getting inspired by seeing new places and people.

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