My first solo travel experience; I have no regrets

OK, I do regret packing too much stuff ;)

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Solo travel in Prague
I loved exploring Prague at my own pace

I wrote this on my way back home when my Interrail trip had finished. It was the last leg, a fast train from Germany to the Netherlands, where I would stop at my parents’ house to repack my suitcase and take a coach back to London. This was my first time to experience solo travel and on the way back I felt so happy that I wanted to capture the moment in writing. I’ve now been back in London for two months, but the memories of my first solo adventure will stay with me forever.

This is what I wrote on my journey home:

My Interrail adventure has come to an end. It has been an epic trip. Sure, it wasn’t always easy, but it was so worth it. It’s hard to find the words to describe this experience, but let me start at the beginning. I started planning this trip a few months ago. I’d always wanted to try out travelling alone, as solo female travel is so highly praised and I thought it is something I had to try at least once in my life. Interrail was something else I really felt I had to experience while being young. As I’m not in full-time education (I’m an evening student), it’s hard for me to find a friend who can just take several weeks off work to join me on a Euro trip, so I decided to combine the two and make this a solo Interrail journey!

European train

I was feeling super excited about this trip and started making lists of all the places I wanted to visit. It was so hard to decide where to go, I think I may have had around 20 destinations on my list at one point! I’ve had to really be very strict with myself to be able to narrow it down to the 7 cities I ended up visiting, and even then, I’ve sometimes felt too rushed and in need of a break between sightseeing.

I almost changed my mind about this trip

It was about a week before my departure date, that a friend of mine backed out of her plan to spend a weekend with me in Budapest. At that point, I kind of wanted to quit the whole trip. As you might have read on this blog earlier, I was super scared by the prospect of being alone all the time. All my plans for Budapest were made thinking I would have a friend to share them with. I couldn’t bear the thought of visiting the ruin bars or thermal baths on my own. So, I planned to visit Kraków instead of Budapest. A bit of a detour, but it turned out to be so worth it! Kraków was wonderful, and also very cheap. I urge you to visit right now! I would really like to go back, in fact I’m thinking I should make it a trip around all of Poland another time.

Solo travel in Kraków
Having a great time on my own in Kraków 🙂

But even after this change of plans, I wasn’t really feeling it so much. I left my packing very late because I didn’t feel like going. I was just so scared that it was gonna be horrible and I would be walking around all of these cities feeling like a lost soul. Having no one to talk to, no one to eat with and generally being super lonely. But I had bought my ticket, and got the time off work, so I went anyway. I way overpacked my big 80 litre Osprey Sojourn trolley backpack and went out the door. I am a notorious over packer. You’ve probably seen girls dragging massive suitcases through European cobblestone streets, like their life depends on it. That’s me exactly! I dread the thought of hand luggage only flights, and I do whatever I can to avoid them. Like Interrailing, haha!

Overpacking, too much luggage!
All the stuff I took on my Interrail trip!

But I’m so happy I went anyway, I loved solo travel!

Then, from the moment I left, I’ve just had a great time. There were some minor incidents, I even cried on a train, but overall it has been an amazing experience and there’s no way I would have wanted to miss it! I’ll write more about the details of visiting all of these European cities later on, but for now I’ll just say that I loved every single one of them and I’ve met some great people on the way. I haven’t had the chance to get lonely, so there was nothing to be afraid of. My worst moments were not the end of the world, although I have cried to myself that I just wanted to be home. But then a while later I was having a great time again 😊 I loved travelling by train, it’s just such a great method of transportation. I love sitting next to a window and seeing the different landscapes glide past. I had planned for lots of reading when on the trains, but ended up just enjoying the views and thinking about life as the ever-changing stunning landscapes went by.

Alps from the train
Beautiful view of the Alps from the train, one of the highlights of my trip

I’m not sad to go home, like I am on some of my trips. Of course, I would have liked this adventure to last longer, but I feel satisfied that I’ve made the most of it. Not in terms of sightseeing, but in terms of personal growth. I have no regrets.

If you’ve never done any solo travel yourself, you totally should! I’m a complete convert and I’m sure this first solo trip will not be my last one 🙂

8 COMMENTS

  1. Good for you! I wish I had solo traveled even younger than my 30 year old self (just in the USA where I’m from). I didn’t travel solo internationally until I was 39. But I love it. I hope you’ll do another one. It actually gets easier and less intimidating as you learn more.

    • Thanks Lynne! I’m very happy and proud that I did it, and I can imagine it will get easier as you do it more often. I feel I’d definitely love to it again and perhaps also in another part of the world. Although technically speaking, visiting several countries within Europe is international travel, it’s still not as scary as going really far away to a very different world!

  2. I experienced that same anxiety before my first big solo trip, too! I didn’t want to go anymore. Way to go for conquering it and having a great time.

    • Thanks Emily, it’s always nice to know you’re not the only one! Did you end up going on your solo trip?

  3. Congrats on your first time solo. My first solo trip was to Tokyo, and I love it! I hope you will continue doing it!

  4. So great that you faced a fear. It can be daunting to travel as woman by yourself to anywhere. I”m glad you decided to go through with it! Yay!

    • Thanks Victoria! I’m very happy about it as well, I was scared at first, but it left me feeling stronger 🙂

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