Well, I’ve done it. After 10 years of regretting the fact that I’ve lived in England (twice!) and never travelled Europe, I’ve taken the plunge and booked a month-long backpacking trip to 8 different countries and 12 cities. The catch? I’m going solo.
That’s right folks. Pull your jaw off your keyboard. This gal will be carrying her own pack and taking solo selfies across Europe… by choice! And let me tell you, the reactions I’ve received to this revelation has been both disheartening and uplifting. This singular detail, which to me is fairly trivial because I’ve almost exclusively travelled solo in the past, seems to be groundbreaking to everyone else.
I live in rural Newfoundland and for most of the people I know, I’m the first woman they’ve ever met who has travelled by herself and they are very unsure about the idea . When I first faced naysayers who urged me to cancel my plans or insist that it was unsafe for me to travel alone as a woman, I was gutted. As you’ll learn through the rest of my posts, I’ve never been so excited to travel in my life, and to be met with negativity when I revealed my plans simply hurt. It hurt because I wondered why this was people’s reaction. Was it because they thought I wasn’t up to the challenge, or did they think women in general shouldn’t or couldn’t travel alone? But this negativity hasn’t made me rethink anything about my trip. In fact, I’m more determined than ever.
Yet, as these comments continue to sink in, I’ve discovered more and more that these people weren’t questioning my ability to rise to a challenge and fend for myself – they were simply concerned that I wouldn’t be travelling with someone who could provide me with company or watch my back if I needed it.
But let me reassure you. You needn’t feel sorry for me because I’m travelling alone. I love the fact that I feel confident enough to embark on this adventure by myself. I don’t have to wait around for months or years until a friend or loved one can get the time off work to dedicate to a long trip. I can visit the cities that I want to see, I can eat bread and cheese every single day if I want to and if I’m so inclined, I can spend my entire European trip visiting bookstores and trying new beers.
While I am slightly disheartened by the naysayers, I have talked with so many friends and even strangers who think that what I’m doing is empowering. Those are the sentiments that keep me going. I know I’ll meet challenges along the way and I will have to make decisions to make sure I’m safe during my trip, but this is going to be an adventure of a lifetime and I couldn’t be happier going it solo.
And believe me – you won’t feel sorry for me when I’m instagramming photos from the beach in Nice surrounded by beautiful French men or dancing to a Polka band in a beer hall in Munich. What I’ve signed on for is not going to be lonely, it’s going to be liberating!