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Why I’m backpacking Europe… solo!

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!

Comments

7 Comments
  1. posted by
    Lisa
    Apr 11, 2015 Reply

    Backpacking solo sounds awesome to me! I would probably spend tons of time in book stores. At least you don’t have to worry about having to split up your plans with what someone else wants to do too. Can’t wait for blog posts about your trip!

  2. posted by
    Sara Leslie Ann
    Apr 11, 2015 Reply

    I think what you’re doing is amazing, and it’s high-time it happened! I know you’ll have a wonderful time, and that you’ll be a wise traveller. So excited to read more about your journey (’cause this is not just a trip–it’s totally a journey)!

  3. posted by
    Bertha Walters
    Apr 11, 2015 Reply

    I really like your blog Kayla and I will be one of your most frequent visitors. As long as you are safe that is all I am concerned about! I am happy for you that you will get to do the cities you didn’t get to on your other trips!

  4. posted by
    Glenda
    Apr 12, 2015 Reply

    Kayla, you are going to do what some of us can only dream about. While it may seem daunting, I applaud you for taking it on. This quote seems quite applicable….“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain Stay safe and I can’t wait to follow your journey.

  5. posted by
    Heather
    Apr 12, 2015 Reply

    I’m glad you are saving Paris for last. Of all the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit in Europe, Paris is by far my favourite. I found the people were friendly in all the places we visited in France and Italy. I only wish I was going with you. Have fun and take lots of photos.

    • posted by
      newfoundlander
      Apr 12, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, Heather! Paris is the top of my bucket list places and I left it until last because it would be the closest to my 30th birthday. I tried to go for my 25th (but ended up in Dublin instead), but my 30th seems more fitting. I’ll be sure to let you know how I enjoy it 🙂

  6. posted by
    marie
    Apr 13, 2015 Reply

    safe travels…enjoy your trip….take care

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