Recently I took a vacation to Venice… alone.
A couple of years ago people would have gasped if I even uttered that phrase. A young woman travelling to Italy, not just Italy but Venice an extremely romantic city, alone? It would have followed with questions of safety, and maybe ‘how’s’. Followed by the biggest question…why?
Okay so yes, some people do still react in this way. However, to my surprise I received praise and admiration, tales of colleagues wishing they had the courage or time to do it. No mention of my gender or my safety.
The world is closer than ever before, everything can be booked in an instant online, you can catch a plane and get to anywhere in the world within 24 hours. Flights within the EU are so cheap and you don’t need a travel agent anymore. The new EU data laws means we can use our phones with no extra charge just like we would in the UK. Travelling solo is just so easy now, and thats why people do it.
I would be nervous to mention I went alone, scared people would think I have no friends or was strange for wanting to do such a group activity solo. But the more people I spoke to, the more stories people shared of their trips alone or planned trips alone this year. People just understood, they got it. They got that solo travel means some sacred me-time we so rarely get in this world. It means loving yourself, doing whatever you want. Seeing what you want, eating where you want. Enjoying the activities you love, soaking up all of the culture. Being alone means you’re more likely to meet people, get out of your comfort zone.
I sat in restaurants alone, I met artists, hotel owners, glass blowing manufacturers, fellow travellers all because I was alone. I got to see things I would have never experienced hadn’t I met these people. When you are with your friends, family or significant other it makes it extremely difficult to leave your comfort zone. You end up only interacting with each other because that is your safety net and well why would you need to talk to anyone else, you came with them.
By going alone it opens you up to a whole different side of travelling. You will feel out of your element but that is the beauty of it, you are there to immerse yourself in something different from the norm after all. This may sound stressful and horrible to you and let me tell you after getting over the initial; I did it, I got here alone, oh wow it is so beautiful dances I felt homesick. I couldn’t speak the language, I had to do everything myself and nothing felt familiar. It is the true definition of being independent and knowing no matter what life throws at you, you can do it alone, you’ve got yourself, you’re stronger than you know. What got me out of that funk was listening to english music as I walked around the city, maybe a top tip for travelling alone is to have something with you that makes you feel safe and empowered.
I can’t claim to be a well seasoned solo-traveller as it was only my first time. I carried my passport and valuable belongings on me at all times, I stayed alcohol-free and did my research and it got me by and I survived. The only issue with travelling alone is you have nobody to take pictures of you! Here’s my selfie of me and my dairy-free gelato.
Although I am no expert I am enthusiastic and would definitely do it again and recommend it to all.