When I told people that I was planning on travelling solo, Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ rang in my head. Horrified looks from everyone in the room. Being an introvert, and ironically, quite extroverted about my introverted-ness, my friends and family couldn’t quite believe my decision to enjoy (or endure) some solo travel.
I had planned to do a few short UK trips before going abroad to get used to the idea. It’s not that I didn’t want to go on holiday with friends, but my social battery depletes VERY quickly, and I wanted a few days to not have to worry about it.
City vs. Coast
Despite heading to the quiet, rural Pembrokeshire and the very, VERY busy Edinburgh in December, I found that Edinburgh felt more isolating. Being the only person walking on a beach with my headphones in felt liberating. However, Edinburgh’s Princes Street at the height of the Christmas chaos felt more intimidating. What would usually be ‘a mooch around’ if I was with family and friends, suddenly felt like an ‘aimless wander’.
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I realised quickly that I was looking for an aim, constantly needing somewhere to be or something to do, unable to switch off from my usual hectic schedule. Of course, as a first attempt at solo travel, this was to be expected.
Having a rough plan of my days seemed to help, even if that meant booking in one thing per day to give my trip some structure. A visit to an independent cinema, a restaurant reservation or a museum pass – I did a combination of free and paid activities.
This was the big one for me. On my second night in a seaside town, I realised that I didn’t want a repeat of the 5pm Tesco meal deal at the Airbnb (not that Tesco meal deals aren’t elite). I headed to the local pub at 5 to try to avoid the bulk of the evening diners.
Feeling INCREDIBLY self-conscious, I ordered, sat down and began to read my book. I then realised that nobody actually cared that I was sat on my own. I tried a different pub every night for the rest of the trip.
One of the major perks of solo travel is that you have complete autonomy over absolutely everything. Although this was initially really strange adjusting to it, I fell in love with the lack of compromise. It’s not that I don’t like going to Nando’s with my picky family, but I definitely preferred the independent restaurants that I sampled while on my own.
What I’m trying to say is …
DO IT! Whatever your reasons, just do it. You won’t know until you try, and unless you try, sometimes repeatedly, you won’t know how it works best for you.
I loved solo travel – even as an introvert – and I’m looking forward to more trips in the very near future, and so can you!
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