BUT…it didn’t suck. Far from it. You’re probably thinking it wasn’t a great time but you’re very, very wrong. So let me explain and please try to look at it from a different perspective. To say that this trip was fun isn’t the appropriate word at all to describe the experience. To say my trip was fun falls way short. Imagine, you are traveling by yourself and are landing in London and your final destination is Dusseldorf Germany with a layover in Iceland. You have 10 days to get there. How are you going to do it?
The plan was to land in London and be there a couple of days. The next place is the south of France in Marseille. Grab a train through the French Riviera into Nice, Cannes, Monaco and finally at Genova Italy. Afterwards, head north into Switzerland and stay a day in Zurich. Next, go meet my friend Eli in Cologne Germany. Spend a wonderful day in Brussels. After go to Dusseldorf for the Connect Techno music festival and lastly catch my flight from Frankfurt to Iceland and finally to San Francisco.
How? I did not know. When? Not exactly sure. How long who knows. Everything was on the fly. Nothing planned. All I knew is that I was going to get to Dusseldorf for the music festival and afterwards catch my plane home from Frankfurt.
Feeling nervous, anxious, and insecure
I can tell you right now that I felt insecure everyday I was on this trip because I’m entering countries that I never been too. I don’t speak the language. I’m not familiar with the streets or directions. And I’m by myself. This is traveling alone. But I managed to learn enough French, Italian, and German to get by. I asked my Air BnB hosts how to say certain words. I looked at Google translator. French and Italian weren’t very difficult since I speak fluent Spanish. German was cool to learn but most people in Germany speak English. Personally, I’m not a shy person at all. So I engaged people despite my limited French or Italian. Plus, some French and Italians spoke Spanish which made communication much easier.
Figuring things out
After a couple of days you start figuring things out and start understanding that certain words mean certain things. For example, in Germany I was looking at my train ticket and the word ‘Gleis’ means platform. I figured these little small things on the menu, at the train station, looking at the city bus map I could tell what certain words meant and things started to fall into place. My insecurities turned into confidence and I was on my way.
Feeling determined and proud
I felt very proud of myself being able to navigate through these places in Europe. Overcoming the language barrier and learning their language made me super confident about myself. There was a moment when I was feeling insecure and a voice inside my head said, “I’ve been here before nothing to worry about.” As it turned out there was nothing to worry about.
Back home in California
On the day before my last I was enjoying the day in Brussels Belgium feeling sad that tomorrow this journey would be over. When I returned home I was feeling a sense of emptiness now that my European trip was over. I had overcome obstacles in front of me and that was the most grateful thing I was proud of during this trip. I had visited places I had never been too and was able to get around where I needed to by myself.
Why it’s important to travel alone
I believe that people have a one dimensional view of travel thinking of images of sitting on a beach drinking refreshing drinks or strolling down cobble stone streets in Europe smiling while drinking espresso. The mistake is thinking it’s all sunshine and rainbows but it isn’t. And that’s not a bad thing at all. Just that no one talks about the other side of traveling as I have revealed here.
It came to me during my trip that the majority of people would never travel alone. Why? Because it’s harder. It’s more difficult. Having to overcome language barriers, fears of missing your train, your flight because you don’t know your way around. This is why everyone travels with groups of people because they feel safety in numbers. When you travel alone there will be many times you won’t have anyone to talk to. And that scares people.
“We’re afraid to be alone not because we don’t have anyone, it’s because we are afraid to be with ourselves.”
As much as I enjoy company during trips I’d much rather travel alone. Having to wait for others and hearing people complain or hearing them get insecure is not something I look forward to nor do I tolerate. Hence, why I’d rather travel without others. There is a lot of wisdom and knowledge to be gained when traveling especially alone. However, the majority of people are so insecure, so scared of the thought of them being alone that they tolerate other peoples insecurities and their whims, cry’s and limitations just so that they won’t travel alone. I no longer have time for that. Traveling alone makes you smarter because it forces you to act. If you don’t do anything because your insecurities have taken over your abilities to act then you will not get anywhere. It’s amazing what you can achieve and overcome when you have to. When you travel alone, you have to move, you have to act because eventually you have to come home.
So was my trip fun?
Please don’t ask me that 🙂