Welcome back to part two of my series on reasons why you should go travelling alone. Last week I wrote about meeting more new people and I used my experiences on the matter to give nice truthful examples for you. This week is all about having no restrictions to where you want to go while away. Also, last time I went very long with my examples, so there is the chance that this may happen again. Sorry but not too sorry. Sorry.
My first holidays were always family or group endeavors and that meant we always had to do something that pleased the entire collective or strops would be thrown to the Moon. But when you get to travel on your lonesome you get to decide everything and it is a glorious thing. Here are a few things I enjoyed on my trips!
You can plan your trip right before you go
In Italy I wanted a bit more structure to my visit to Iceland, there were just so many cities and towns and regions that I wanted to squeeze in the month and I didn’t really want to waste too much time on trying to figure things out. So I had my basic route planned out and I have to say I did get to all of my intended destinations, maybe not on the days I envisioned, but I got there. I will get into that point later on. For those interested, my little snake through Italy was: Venice, Verona, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Naples, Bari and then Rome. I felt pretty good for hitting all the destinations I had planned as you feel a sense of accomplishment in keeping to your little agenda.
I will admit though, I didn’t book any of my accommodation before I left for Italy, I did kind of just book for places the day before as I was never sure if I would stay an extra day or a day less etc. So unless you are a bit risky like me I would suggest having them booked, but to have the flexibility in the agreement to cancel. That is why I loved using Booking.com throughout my trip as I could just select free cancellation if I wanted to delay my arrival to that town or city as sometimes exploring leads you to random places… Speaking of which.
Or you can plan on a whim
When in Iceland I had mapped out the main places to visit Golden Circle, Selfoss and along the Laugavegur trail. But I had not really planned out much else other than the odd day trips. I knew I would base myself in Reykjavik for around a week at the end of the trip as September is known for getting a tad… wet there, so Hostels were to be my home on those occasions.
This meant I really had no clue where I was going to go and I think I Knew I was going to go along with advice from locals to find little treasures. So on my arrival, well the day after I arrived (I set camp in the dark at 3am) I went to the reception and inquired on the best places to visit in their opinion that wasn’t overtly touristy. I knew I would go a long the Ring Road as it was THE road in Iceland to travel along. But where exactly I would stop was a bit of a mystery to me. So with the help of a lovely receptionist she pointed out good campsites and hostels along the route. Which was very handy as then I could book my accommodation in advance. In Iceland I was a lot more rigid with my bookings, because of not being savvy and some parts of Iceland were very small and I didn’t want to lose a bed over me being indecisive.
But in between that I would often decide the night before I went to sleep or the morning of the day on where or what I would do. Thanks to all the knowledge given to me from the locals and other travelers I was able to pick out great little spots and not worry too much as I knew I could walk back to my room or tent easily. As much as I love Reykjavik, you really are missing out on so much wonder if you don’t drive around or travel around the ring road and/or head to the Fjords. There is so much to see and a month really wasn’t enough for me!
There were days in which I was just wandering around a town and I would over hear some talk about a certain location and I would be bold and ask where about it was and would just go there myself. I was a tad silly and would sometimes not search about the place. The people’s descriptions just made it sound awesome. I liked having this type of adventure and I know that that is also not for everyone. There has to be some sort of plan and that’s grand, I mean I am the type of person who approached a tour bus before it’s departure and asked where it was going for the day and would just pay on the spot and jump on and only find out on the ride there where we were going! It is exciting to me to not really know much about the place as over research can ruin it for me.
You can change plans if you aren’t feeling it
As I mentioned, in Italy I made much more of a plan to my trip, but there were times I completely deviated from it and went off on an excursion that would make the holiday. For example I had planned to go to the Dolomite’s to run around the mountains (there was a place that had running trails) but the weather was poor for two days and I didn’t fancy being up in a mountain during lightning and flash floods.
So I then stayed in Venice for an extra day and for a day trip I thought I would scout Verona. I am so glad that I did this because, as nice as Verona and Juliet’s boob is… I didn’t need a planned two evenings to be there. So when I came back to Venice on my departure date I headed off to Milan instead. Which is lucky as that is where I met my Californian and French friends! But as I was early in Milan I was soon a bit bored of it also and left after 2 nights for Lake Como, which was not on my schedule. But I had been browsing the map and looked at it and thought that it looked nice and you always hear such great stories. So I filled my backpack and went off to it, again leaving a city earlier than planned. I spent 2 great days around Lake Como than I simply would not have had the chance to have if I had stuck to my plan, I had glorious weather there and I was running along the road talking to locals who were also running. I went along beautiful trials it was awesome.
This continued for the majority of my Italy trip as I traveled to so many little towns and experienced lots of great things that if I had stuck to a plan I wouldn’t have. For instance when I was in Naples I had planned to go to Sorrento. I was on a hot train in late August with soaring temperatures and I just thought that I did not fancy going to Sorrento for long at all. I stayed on the train and went to Salerno instead. From there I took a boat and traveled along the Amalfi Coast and wow was it great! I then walked along the road as I was a bit stupid and couldn’t find the path for the Path of the Gods. I walked for miles taking wonderful pictures and running along the route until I walked through Amalfi to Positano as I had just missed a ferry. I got on the last bus to Sorrento and the bus driver almost didn’t let me on. A bit of begging from me and everyone else on the bus made him relent and off we went, with me standing on the steps of a coach looking out the front as this mad man drove us at crazy speeds and angles all the while singing and having everyone sing along too. By the end of the trip everyone was calling him Maestro! Amazing experience.
So, if my experiences have taught you anything is that there are some positives to winging it but at times it is best to maybe have a tiny bit of structure to your trip. But imagine if you had wanted to go off from Sorrento and hit the Amalfi Coast like I did and the other person wanted to just go to Sorrento. Would you have really have persuaded them to go off plan and have a fun day or would you have had (I am guessing) a lovely time in Sorrento, but be a bit disgruntled? By going alone you are giving yourself that freedom. Or just be the dominant forceful one of the group/partnership! Until next time!