It’s been five weeks of solo travel around Europe.
A lot of moving around.
A lot of lugging around too much stuff.
A lot of wine. A lot of cheese.
SO MUCH BREAD.
Bad Spanish. Passable French. Little attempt at Dutch.
Hotels, hostels, apartments. Trains, planes, and buses.
A lot of thanks for offline Google Maps.
These first few weeks were Phase One of my Europe trip. Later today, I will be arriving at a work exchange in France where I’ll spend 3 weeks working on a vineyard. I have no idea what to expect, but I am super excited to see what I’ll be doing. And, to be honest, I am most excited to be settled for a few weeks and around some other people. That has been the hardest part of traveling so far, being on my own for a while. I find it most difficult in vacation places like Colmar or Biarritz where everyone is coupled up or in groups; solo travelers feel like a novelty here. In cities like Amsterdam or Madrid, being alone can go virtually unnoticed. And in these cities, it has been much easier to meet people (locals or other travelers).
I haven’t had steady dinner companions. I’ve been the girl just drinking wine by herself, and I get really chatty when I do meet someone because I am just so excited to talk to someone else.
I generally love being alone and don’t mind having time and space to myself (in fact, I prefer it). But that doesn’t mean I’m not lonely after traveling on my own for a few weeks, meeting people here and there. Being in a city for a few days doesn’t help either – it’s tough to make connections when you’re only in a place for 2 or 3 days.
All that said, I have really enjoyed my trip so far. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have beautiful weather (albeit sometimes too hot), easy travel, and no major issues thus far. There is little to complain about – I have eaten incredible meals (more to come on that), made some new friends, and seen parts of the world I have been dreaming of visiting for years.
I FEEL SO MUCH GRATITUDE – for being here, for doing this trip, for everything.
Leading up to this trip, I felt a lot of uncertainty (as I guess can be expected). I thought, “Maybe I am making a huge mistake. Maybe I shouldn’t go”. Of course, there was NO WAY I was giving into that thinking, but it did cross my mind.
At every step of this trip, I am reminded that this was not a mistake. This was the best thing I could have done. I haven’t looked back once. I haven’t regretted one thing (except maybe a few things I brought that I could have done without).
I am no longer certain of what day or month it is (it’s September?). I count my days by the number of nights I am in a town/hotel and then I move on. My plans are totally blank after the end of this month. I have never quite lived like this and it is all at once thrilling and scary and wonderful.
Read more about my Self Care Sabbatical and the other places I’ve visited!
I have traveled 4 and 1/2 million miles. The memories are fresh. You will look back with pride.
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