Solo Travel: I Got Back from Solo Travelling Europe for 1 Year and I’ve Changed
Let me start off by saying that I always hated the idea of travelling solo; and I never understood why people loved to do it. I hated having to go somewhere by myself, couldn't stand the idea of going to a restaurant or a cafe and just sit there alone and eat or drink something, having to do anything by myself was just a no for me. Bear in mind that I am an mainly and introvert and also I love spending time alone but while I'm at the comfort of my home and not out in public.
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I was one of those people that was intimidate by the idea of travelling alone and never thought that I would do it since it was out of my comfort zone, until I was out in a situation where I had to do it.
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Solo traveling is now one of my favourite things to do and I think everyone should try solo travelling even if it's just once, it's a great opportunity to get to know ourselves better. I met amazing people while travelling solo and had the best experiences and the memories are great. This is a great opportunity to see the world and have a good time and meet new people from different countries, you can do what you want whenever you want, you have full freedom which in my opinion is one of the best things.
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I finished my 1 year solo travel around Europe, and I'm not going to lie, it's all kind of a blur because I was living in the moment, so the days just kinda of passed. With that being said, the best decision I ever made so deciding to go on my own!
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So, here's what happened. I decided to go to Spain to study there, and yes I was going on my own and I was fully aware of that, but my family was supposed to come visit after a bit and stay with me for a while, so I was fine with that. I had plans for the year, chose the places and countries that I will visit, made plans with family and friends to come visit and stay with me, but in the end, none of it worked out.
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The year I travelled to Spain was 2020, and yes that was COVID year. I travelled in January and it was fine, I actually made a new friend while at the airport in Egypt and we ended up hanging out a lot in Spain. I also met a lot of people and made new friends just after a week of being there. It was all going great and I was enjoying every minute of it.
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I was of course busy with studying, assignments, and projects...etc, but I was still having fun and going out with friends and meeting new people. I also had a friend come over from Germany and we spent a day together, so it was all going great. Fast forward to March, I had two weeks of exams and then it was spring break for the 3 weeks after that, and I started making plans with my friends and were planning to have fun.
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Well, Spain ended up going into lockdown just like the other countries, and it was for two weeks at first, and I had my exams at that time, so I ended up doing them online of course, but then after that, lockdown was extended and I was living in an apartment by myself and I didn't have anything to do. That was not fun at all, and I was so bored, and lockdown kept getting extended, until the government made a plan which would last for 2 months of how we will go back to "normal" life.
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My family and friend couldn't come visit because nearly all embassies in Egypt were closed and not accepting visas, so I ended up having to stay alone, and I decided to just go and explore Europe by myself. I first went to Málaga & Setenil de Las Bodegas in Spain, which was so fun even though it went wrong at first; but I loved it. I then went to Lyon in France to visit a friend, then ended up going to Luxembourg which was not planned at all. I went to Portugal after that, even though I went there before but I just loved it so much and wanted to go again, and then I went to the Czech Republic where everything went wrong and I ended up staying in Prague only, but still it was one of my favourite trips and the Czech Republic became my favourite country.
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Now, it all actually went down hill from there, I was travelling and enjoying summer break, and I had booked two other trips, one to Austria and the other to Italy, but I ended up cancelling both trips because both countries increased their security measures because of COVID and I couldn't go anymore. I stayed in Madrid, but then decided to move apartments which was needed, and I planning on just staying there, but then was informed that I would have to take the next semester online as well because the Madrid campus would not be open. The reason was because I was in an international school so students are from different parts of the world, and most of them had gone back to their countries and wasn't going to come back, so campus wasn't going to be open for just 2 or 3 students.
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I still decided to stay there in Madrid, I still had friends there and was hanging out with them and didn't feel lonely at all. I then decided to cut my trip short and go back to Egypt, because I was depressed and just couldn't take it anymore. I ended up booking a flight and came back to Egypt without really telling anyone, well I actually told my mum and my brother but that's it.
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Now I am writing this blog post two years after I came back, I honestly don't know why I waited that long, but I was reflecting on my solo trip, and I realised that I changed, and even my family said so. Don't get me wrong, I didn't change for the worst, I would say I improved and developed a lot of skills, which was great. I also started acting differently in a better way, and I wanted to share that, because I want others to have the same experience, which is why I always talk about solo travelling, and I ended up convincing some of my friends to go on solo trips, and they absolutely loved it.
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So, here's how I changed👇🏻
Learned more about myself: Here's the thing, you can say that you know yourself well and all that, but trust me, you will never know yourself fully unless your are on your own. If you are someone who is used to being around family, friends, or in a relationship all the time, then how do you expect to know and understand yourself. I don't want to get deep, but this is the truth, being solo made me learn a lot of things about myself, and I learned that I love spending time by myself, it showed me how much I love my freedom and how independent I am. I still love my family of course, and I live with my mum and brother, but I still love and cherish the time I spend alone.
Enjoyed my own company: As I said, I learned that I love spending time by myself, love being free and independent. I just love my own company now, I go to the cinema by myself and watch a movie and enjoy it, I go to a cafe or restaurant and just have a meal and I ask for a table for one confidently without an issue, and these are small things that I never though I would enjoy, but now, it's actually fun. I just really love solo travelling and doing things on my own.
Learnt & developed problem-solving skills: Now, when you are travelling by yourself, you have to solve your problems because there is no one else there. Now I know how to solve my own problems, but I would always ask for help from my parents. Travelling solo made me change that, any problem I faced I had to solve, and there was some problems that were time sensitive. Also, I became calm when I had a problem, and not going to lie, there was time where I just laughed😂
Built & increased my confidence: Now this is an ongoing process for anyone, and I thought that I was a confident person, but turned out I wasn't😅 When people first met me they thought that I was shy, until they got to know, but I was able to change that. Now when people first me, they wouldn't say that I am shy, and I am actually proud of that, because as I said, I am a confident person, so it really bothered me that people would think otherwise at first. I am now confident when I first meet people and I have no issues anymore.
Learnt to take smart risks: Now I am someone who would always take risks, but most of them weren't that smart. The more I travelled solo, the more I was able to take smart risks, because I learned a lot, like my first solo trip wasn't the same as my second or third. The more you travel solo, the more you learn and the more your improve.
Learnt to depend on myself: Now, as I said I live with my mum and my brother, so I would depend on them, but if I'm left alone I would be able to handle everything, but that would always be for a few days or weeks, but not for a long time. Being on my own for almost a year, you just get used to it, and I am perfectly fine with that, I hate having to depend on other people.
Became flexible: I am a very organised person, I am OCD and I love having a schedule and just live by my calendar, now that all changed when I started travelling solo. When you travel solo, you end up meeting a lot of people and making new friends; and you would end up hanging out with them and making new plans. I learned to be more spontaneous and flexible, and I didn't let anything ruin my trips. This is also something that you learn and get used to when travelling solo, and it's honestly one of the best things.
Gained new perspective: Solo travelling gave me a new way to perceive life, I met a lot of people, got to know new cultures, experienced new things, and much more. All these things, gave me a new perspective on life and redefined it for me. I am actually happy that solo travelling changed the way I view life and it made me a better person.
It was just amazing for me to see myself before the trip, during the trip, and after the trip ended. I am glad that I travelled solo, and I always recommend it to others. So, if you are someone who haven't travelled solo before, this is your sign to do so✨
I also wrote a lot of blog posts about solo travelling, so whether you are a first timer or have travelled solo before, you will find them helpful. Click here to check them out!