What travelling solo around Europe taught me

38478572_10155750649416623_8844538651284078592_o.jpgIt’s been a hot second, hello hi how are you?

I am fresh off the plane, not in LAX with my dream and my cardigan, but back home from 6 weeks of trekking around Europe and the UK. Just like every 20 something says coming back fresh from a Europe trip, “6 weeks was definitely not enough time.” 

Why might you ask? As any regular person would kill for 6 weeks overseas. Don’t worry, many of my full time working friends have expressed extreme jealously that I would even consider complaining about having a few months in the European sun, I realise I might sound a touch conceited.

I am for sure grateful I had this long off, between graduating and before starting my career. But it’s the break I needed, away from Melbourne, after finishing 18 years of education and to get away from the rigid routine I was stuck in.

I was in a place where I wasn’t growing, or achieving the things I wanted to do, so for me travelling has always been a way to help refresh my state of mind and reset on the right path for me.

Solo travel was something I was always fearful of. I’m independent but not to the degree I take myself out for coffee or lunch, or even spend a day shopping alone. So when I neared my graduation and all my friends either were locked down with studies or work, I booked this trip on a whim.

For those who kept tabs on my Instagram youmight be piping up, saying “that’s not a solo trip, look at all those friends gathered around you in exotic occasions with scenic sunsets” (yes I added that last description for some fun). You’re right, I got lucky and ended up travelling around with old friends and new friends, and it was the perfect mix I needed.

I don’t meant to sound cliché (warning I’m going to sound extremely cliché), this trip taught me so much about myself, but also opened my eyes to a world I forget exists. I often find us Aussies neglect the rich cultures that bustle on the other side of the globe, whilst we focus on insignificant things such as how long will the next Prime Minister last?

Seriously though, this trip taught me how to actually be alone, and be myself in foreign and uncomfortable places. Not to say the cities I visited were unwelcoming, but more being in a situation I was vastly unaccustomed to. Such as arriving in a country where English is not the first language, there are fake taxis left, right and centre, and free Wi-Fi hasn’t quite reached their neck of the woods.

Having the opportunity to explore such different cities, both alone and with friends was enriching and helped me realise that travelling is definitely something I need in my life. I want to meet people from every walk of life, I want to try food I wouldn’t get back home and I want to see places that I can only dream of.

Travelling solo was no easy task. I got lost so often, definitely had a good anxiety spiral when things wouldn’t go my way and went through cash faster than anticipated. I honestly began to question some nights if I would make it to my hostel or would be embracing sleeping under the stars. Regardless of the hurdles I crossed (the clichés continue), I would redo this trip in a heartbeat.

Europe taught me that whatever gets thrown your way, even if it’s not ideal, that it’s possible to overcome. This trip showed me that you will meet people in your life, some you love and some not so much, but it’s important to embrace these new friends in the moment and just be thankful for what the universe serves you when it arrives on your plate.

I’ve always loved Europe and probably always will, each country holds something unique (except for the thousand gothic cathedrals and ancient castles, honestly they begin to all look the same).

If you want to explore the world but no one wants to go with you, or you simply want to ‘find yourself’ or hit the refresh button, travelling solo is without a doubt one of the greatest things for the soul. Again with the clichés, sorry.

Book that flight/tour/hostel, whatever it is. You’ll always find a way to earn back the dollars, but travelling will always make you richer at the end of the day. Ok, clichés are over, I’m done now promise.

You’d better believe I am already planning another trip, but where to next?

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