Summertime Overseas

When I think of the adjective “solo,” I think “free,” “independent,” “unrestrained.”

Just a few years ago, I would have shaken my head and chuckled at the thought of adventuring abroad alone.  Today, I have made the very decision that would shock the person I used to be into disbelief.  This summer, I will spend a little over a week traveling around Europe with my friend.  After that, I will explore the continent solo.  Yes, that’s right.  Reserved, cautious me will be traversing a new continent without the comfort of familiar faces or abundant resources.  Why, you ask?

Off the top of my head, here are the reasons why I am committed to traveling around Europe solo:

  1.  I have always wanted to go to Europe.  As much as I would love to share this entire experience with friends, the fact of the matter is that the majority of them are not ready either financially or time-wise.  Why should I wait for them?  There will always be a reason why they cannot go, but I do not want to wait until I am older, settled, and have more fixed viewpoints.
  2. On that note, I am not going for the sake of “vacationing” but to immerse myself in new cultures.  I absolutely love learning about new places and having the opportunity to be alone will allow me to be far more perceptive and hold onto less preconceptions.
  3. I know I will never be lonely – traveling solo gives you the luxury of deciding when you want to be alone and when you want to be in the company of others.  As an introvert, I appreciate my alone time, but when I crave the company of others, I can easily find that through the friends I know abroad as well as other fellow backpackers staying in hostels.
  4. And speaking of which, I had already spent roughly a week in a hostel last summer.  Everybody there was on the backpacking trail and very open-minded.  Because they were from all over the world, they brought many interesting viewpoints and stories that I never would have come across in the past.  They made for great conversationalists as well as travel buddies, and I am still in touch with some of them.  I am completely unconcerned about being lonely ever.
  5. And in terms of safety, I know for sure I can navigate Europe just fine because 1.  I speak French and 2.  I speak English.  Furthermore, I know to do my research regarding the places I visit beforehand. Having already traveled in unknown areas, I know the precautions I must take in everything, whether it be to clutch my bag close to my body at all times, to not go into closed-off spaces, to lock up my passport in the hostel, and others.  In addition, the places I intend on staying will take care of me – they have useful knowledge about the area and will have organized group activities.

I will finish this school year strong, but come June, say a temporary goodbye to Ms. Z, and a “welcome back” to Kathy the Wanderer!  I cannot wait to update you all on my experiences, both with my friend and solo.

 

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About Kathy

US-turned-international educator, I enjoy sharing my travels, education experiences, and general thoughts on life. Thank you for visiting my page!
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