The first of many reasons to go travelling on your own

Hello one hello all, so I saw this someone ask about whether they should travel on a city break on their own. I know Victoria has done that and she loved it, so I thought I would give you the first of many reasons why you should from my own experiences from when I traveled for a month (one year to Iceland and the next Italy). So put the feet up and enjoy, this could be a long series!

You will meet so many great new people

When I visited Italy for a month a couple of summers ago I was a bit nervous on how many people I would get to talk to and befriend as I hadn’t really made an itinerary in comparison to the Iceland trip. But I talked myself into being a bit more confident and if the opportunity arose, to talk and chat to others. The very first night in Venice I was in a tent cabin (it’s hard to explain but the ground was pretty hard in the campsites in Italy so they had these rooms that contained a bunk bed and a single bed in a metal frame with canvas wrapped around it. It was funky, but our “cabin” was torn a bit at the entrance)

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Unique, but strangely decent accommodation…

Anyway the point is this little issue brought myself and an Australian lad and an American girl a bit closer together as we would joke about it and voila like that I had two buddies for a couple of days. With Jenna and John we would chat about where we were going in Venice and where we should go, helping each other with suggestions. Jenna had been in Italy studying for the summer so luckily for me she was my sage of information and recommended a number of small towns and villages that quite frankly I would not have considered before, simply due to not knowing they existed. We got each other’s details and kept in touch.

This continued throughout my Italy trip to anytime I stayed in a hostel, I would make friends pretty quickly with people. In Milan I befriended a group of Californians who coincidentally had only just met each other that day too and two French guys. While we traveled about in Milan we all went as a group as we found we wanted to see the same thing. This actually came handy as one of our group needed assistance in posting some goods to a different country for their next stop so we worked as a team for an hour or so and found the best and cheapest place and what we had to do to get it sent off. Teamwork!

Finally when I went to Naples I arrived at the hostel and I got chatting to one of my new roommates for the next few days named Orsolya from Hungary. We connected pretty well with similar tastes (she was a teacher and I studied teaching) and we decided that we would keep each other company while visiting Pompeii, which was handy as we both found great shots for each other. We also had a German friend named Finn, but he had already been to Pompeii the day before so joined up with us that evening as we went exploring through Naples at night. It was a good evening!

It wasn’t exactly the same on my first solo trip.

I was a bit nervous to begin with as it was my first holiday on my own, plus I knew I wasn’t going to spend too much time in one place so I was unsure on how to approach people, so for the most part I became friendly with the locals who would give me tips and I would hitch rides across the country and learn so much about how that person lived. It became especially handy hearing other people have the same experiences. I know of a few people who hitched a ride and the driver took them to a less touristy road (I know it sounds like the start of a horror film but this is more Disney) and voila, there was this lovely secluded waterfall that only a couple of others were at. They got to take pictures for a bit and then drove on. The fact that this Icelander went out of their way and was probably late in getting home shows the way these people are and how proud they are of their country. I know you won’t get that all the time in other countries or even in Iceland, but these little stories make me want to talk to strangers.

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I pitched this tent, in the dark at 3.30am… I am a magician.

The most I got to know people was when I stayed in Reykjavik for a week and a bit and I met some great people like Andrea from Milan (sadly he wasn’t in Milan when I was a year later) and some lovely folks for Japan who had only just turned up and I got to be the one to give them advice on where to go. But as I say, I spent more of my time talking to Icelanders and this increased tenfold during the Reykjavik Marathon as I ran around and hung out with a struggling guy near the end of the race. We hung out after with his family who were so lovely too.

Usually during the nights or early mornings a group of travelers would hang out in the common room area (it was the main place to charge your phones etc.) so a really good comrade would appear and while someone ran out for a second, we would look after their gear. It was a great community atmosphere in those rooms and we would be up pretty late talking about nothing and trying each other’s foods. (Be prepared for joining in cooking for over 10 people at a time if camping or hosteling on a budget)

As you can see, I was a lot more confident on my second holiday in Italy than what I was in Iceland. I think that was a bit more due to being a bit more secluded in my camping etc in Iceland and due to nervousness of approaching others. But I would try and natter with the locals as much as possible and I think that was also something I maybe did a bit less in Italy as I did find more people to hang around when travelling about. As when I was in say, Florence, or in the Lake Como region I would only really have the locals to talk to and I would find myself asking them about life there and finding out more about them I probably seemed noisy! But I would like to hope that they simple saw it as someone being interested, in as polite a way as possible!

Please don’t do

When in Iceland in my last few days after Andrea had left I noticed a girl who would barely ever leave the dorm room. In the morning I would go off and maybe if I was still in the City I would pop back late afternoon and she would still be in bed and by the evening time she was still there. It made me a bit sad that she wasn’t venturing out into the beautiful country and she wasn’t socialising with anyone, I did want to talk to her, but I didn’t. If that had happened when I was in Italy I know now that I would have approached her and asked if she wanted to come with myself and others to see things. Sometimes confidence is key!

Now I am not saying that if you are travelling as a family or a couple that you don’t meet new people, I just think if couples usually tend not to go to accommodations where that level of interaction is generally required. I know I would love to go back to hostels and stay in them, but would I do that with Victoria? I am not sure. I think I would like to share with just her. Anyway I am digressing and you have been reading for long enough!

So that is the end of my first post, I had meant to have this as one whole post, but the sections were getting longer for each point that it would be too long. So welcome to this broken down version! I do hope you enjoyed this one and if you have any questions throw them my way! Until next time.

If you want to chat more about any of my posts, please follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to also receive updates. Until next time, thanks for reading and I hope to see you again soon!

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