That’s me standing in front of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, on the first trip I’ve ever taken by myself.
I have never travelled by myself. By that I also mean, I’ve never travelled to a place where I didn’t end up staying with relatives or packing myself into a hotel room with friends. I’ve always wanted to do it, but I never had the motivation to really go for it (that and I have Filipino mother who worries about me constantly).
But then, like all great adventures, it started with a significant, heartbreaking event, and all of a sudden the next path in my life was clear.
I was going to go to Europe for one month, from September 18-October 18. And I was going to go there by myself.
Okay, well not completely by myself. While I was there I stayed with relatives in London and North Brussels, joined a 14-day group tour, travelled with a friend in Berlin, and stayed with a friend in Mattighofen, Austria. But I did stay for two days in Vienna by myself, spent a few hours in Salzburg with my lonesome, and explored most of London alone.
And I have to say that those times when I was alone were blissful.
I could wake up whenever I wanted, eat wherever I wanted and walk as fast or as slow as I wanted. I only had my time, my needs and my wants to deal with. I absolutely loved getting to explore a new city with no one to care about but myself.
Of course there are times I wish I had a friend to share moments with, especially when I found a really cool monument or sight that I wanted to take a picture with but didn’t trust any of the shady characters around me with my camera. (Funny, yes, but true story).
As this is my ode, an open love letter to solo travel, if you will, I only have one more thing to say and that is, if you’ve never travelled alone, even just to a city over your border for one night, do it.
Don’t wait for something heartbreaking to happen or for that “right moment.” There is no right moment. There’s only the gift of the present. It’s cheesy, but it’s true. It’s when there’s no one else to talk to but yourself that you really discover who you are and what you’re made of.
And that’s worth the price of a plane ticket alone.