I was 21 when I took my first solo trip.
At the time, I had been studying abroad in Paris, France and had come up with what I deemed a well-thought-out and strategic plan — fly from Paris to London to visit friends for two days and then spend another three days exploring England’s capital on my own.
To me, it was a great way to ease into solo travel: start with some familiarity (I know these people!) and then transition into the unfamiliar (Now I’m alone in a completely new city).
The result: I had a great time on my own despite a few first-timer mistakes (like not knowing when the London tube closes and getting stuck on a very confusing night bus by myself). Ultimately, I discovered that perhaps this solo traveling thing wasn’t so bad after all.
Over the next nine years, I went on more solo trips: Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico. Occasionally I knew someone in these places, but most times I was completely on my own, befriending strangers or partaking in solo exploration.
Along the way I’ve learned a lot — both about myself and other people. Here’s what years of solo travel have taught me: