Solo Travel Completed – Now What?

The last 2 weeks were very introspective, adventurous and eye opening for me. To be honest, I didn’t know how hard it would be. It seemed crazy to take 2 months off from work and not go on at least one long vacation. Over the years I’ve googled “solo travel” on more than one occasion seeing what possibilities were out there, but it never went further than some research. This time, however, it felt like I had to make a move and so I went ahead and booked the trip.

At first it didn’t really phase me that I was doing it alone, but as the trip grew closer I started getting nervous. I was hesitant about taking the trip on my own and didn’t know what to expect.

While on the trip, I was no longer nervous, but I did feel lonelier than I thought I would feel at times. The trip was a bit bitter sweet. I was visiting all these amazing places, but I wasn’t sharing it with anyone but myself. The thing is that you don’t have to be alone to feel lonely. I’ve found that you can feel lonelier surrounded by other people than you can on your own.

In Durnstein, Austria
In Durnstein, Austria

There were lots of people that I met on the trip that were very welcoming. I met some fun, smart and warm people that I never would have met otherwise. Almost everyone I sat with at meals was a pleasure to talk to and would always then reach out to me when I’d see them in the lounge or on the walking tours. Some couples, I felt, even took me under their wing. I was most comfortable with the non-couple travelers like girl friends traveling together or mother and daughter duos. It seemed less intrusive to sit with them at dinner than with 1-2 couples.

Like I mentioned several posts back on introversion, this was a big step for me. I had to strike up conversations with people that I didn’t know well or at all. I don’t want to make it sound like it was torture and I don’t want anyone to pity me, because at the end of the day I had a great experience. It’s not as hard as I thought to talk to virtual strangers and to get to know new people. I got to visit some amazing towns and cities. I learned a great deal about the history of these places by having local guides instead of just simply going through a guide book. I tried really good regional foods. And I met people that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to meet.

Would I prefer to go with a travel companion next time? Of course, but I don’t regret for a second going on the trip. I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of if I just push myself.

Now that I’m back with 1 month left of my sabbatical, I’m starting to feel the pressure to really get down to what I want to do once this time is over. I had some thoughts while on the trip, but have to really start fleshing out what those next steps might be. It’s a good place to be in in my life and I have to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone and try new paths and adventures.

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