Welcome back to Women Who Wander. This series focuses encouraging women to seek out solo travel. Empowering and inspiring both seasoned Solo Travellers and those who have yet to venture out on their own. The response to this series has been amazing and I just want to thank you all for embracing it. Hopefully many more Solo Travel stories to come. This week is Cassandra with her first solo adventure Couchsurfing in Munich

Meet Cassandra:

Couchsurfing in Munich

Originally a Virginia gal, Cassandra left the comfort of the United States and moved to Spain for two years to teach English. She’s now back in her hometown, and trying to create her unconventional lifestyle. She believes in big dreams, a whole lot of love, and is a street food aficionado! The Quirky Pineapple is a lifestyle and travel blog that focuses on stepping out of our comfort zones in travel, women empowerment, and international couples who found love abroad. Cassandra hopes to inspire women to chase the adventure, whatever that may look like for you. You can find her blog at thequirkypineapple.com

You can also find her:

Facebook; Youtube; Instagram

When I decided to plan my first solo trip, I was terrified. I wanted to feel like all of the strong, resilient, and inspiring women I read about in numerous blog posts. The ones that talked about solo female travel and how it changed their lives! I wanted to be like them, conquering and dominating the world, and doing it alone! The honest truth was that I had never traveled alone before in my life! I was scared, worried, and felt extremely self-conscious.

I was living in Spain at the time, and traveling home for the holidays ended up being very expensive. Instead, my family and I agreed that I would stay in Europe for the holidays and use it as a time to travel. In the end, my aunt and I decided to surprise my parents and sisters with a ticket home, but not before my first solo trip Couchsurfing in Munich, Germany!

Before my trip, I researched EXTENSIVELY. I think I spent hours and hours scrolling through Pinterest and reading other blog posts, Google, Wikipedia, and a lot of TripAdvisor reviews. Since it was my first time traveling solo and to a country where I didn’t really speak the language (although I think most Germans speak a little bit of English), I was so nervous! I decided not to book a hostel and give my try at Couchsurfing in Munich. Yes, y’all, my parents were not the happiest! First, I told them I’d be traveling alone, then I told them I wasn’t getting a hotel or hostel room, and lastly I told them I’d be sleeping on someone’s couch. That left them feeling even more worried. But, I was determined to make this solo trip a good one, and wanted to meet people along the way.

Heading Solo to Munich

Couchsurfing in Munich

The day of my flight, I was jittery and extremely anxious! I think because I didn’t have someone to bounce my excitement off of, I made myself even more excited and nervous by holding it all in. The flight from Madrid to Munich was short, but I felt awe-struck. This will probably sound strange, but I think I had on “rose coloured” glasses because of how new everything felt to me! I’ve traveled before, but always with a friend or a group of people. When you’ve got people around to distract you on the flight, getting to your lodging, and bouncing ideas and jokes back and forth, you don’t feel as alone. But, when traveling solo, you’ve got yourself and your thoughts, and your senses are on high alert.

I struck up conversations on the airplane with the woman sitting next to me, eager to make connections. I spoke to the man sitting in front of me, trying to learn about the landscape we saw, flying into Munich. Traveling alone made me more excited to talk to people just so I wasn’t feeling too lonely! After arriving, I made it to the couchsurfers’s house that I’d be staying at. I was alone at first, since he was at work. The other girl who was staying at the house was gone. It made me feel less nervous about meeting this person and trying to get through the awkward-ness of hello’s and introductions. I made myself comfortable and rested after an early flight!

Feeling VERY Alone

The first hour or so, I took the time to freshen up at the couch surfers house and look up some places to eat. I felt very alone, very scared, and really unsure if I should even leave the house. Not because I was scared, or thought that I’d get lost, but I think I’d stick out like a sore thumb and everyone would know I was alone! I thought I would look like a loser. So, I stayed in the house a bit longer than expected. But finally pushed myself past the anxiety and ventured out on my own. That first step outside was really scary! I didn’t have a plan, I thought I’d just walk around and take in the Christmas markets and see what I could find. I LOVED IT.

Couchsurfing in Munich

Taking my time exploring the streets of Munich, I took in the architecture, the spirit, and observing people. Since it was during the Christmas season, there were Christmas markets everywhere. I walked slowly through the market. Taking photos of food, indulging in Gluhwein, and admiring all of the trinkets I saw. If I was cold, I walked into a store and browsed.  When I was hungry, I ordered a traditional bratwurst! Although I felt alone, and still unsure if making a solo trip was right. I couldn’t help thinking about how nice it felt to go at my own pace and reflect on things myself. There wasn’t a nagging friend, to tell me to pick up the pace, a group of people I had to round-up, it was just me!

Couchsurfing All The Way!

It’s true that when you’re with other people, you’re less likely to strike up conversations and meet others. It’s also true that when you’re alone, you end up feeling a bit self-conscious. When I met my couch surfing host, I was taken aback by his kindness and willingness to help! We spent the rest of the weekend together, meeting his friends, sightseeing, and learning about each other’s cultures and languages. I was on edge, at first, since this was my first time couchsurfing ever, let alone couchsurfing in Munich. But after meeting and talking, I could tell that I had nothing to worry about.

I don’t think if I had decided to stay in a hostel in Munich, my experience would have been the same. Nor would it had been the same if I traveled with another person. I was a lot more open to meeting different people, trying new things, and letting my worries and fears go (within reason). Having the cultural exchange with my couch surfing host was a whole new experience for me! The hospitality him and his friends showed me made me fall more in love with Munich and the German language! I was hooked, and I wanted to have more couchsurfing experiences. I even returned to Munich with my friends the following year, but the experience wasn’t the same.

Embrace Solo Travel

If you have the opportunity to couch surf, and aren’t too wary of it, I highly recommend the experience. Traveling solo and being open to all of the opportunities it presented me showed me how kind people can be. I made connections and learned from different people. I felt like those independent, strong, and resilient women I followed on Instagram and blogs. Who were chasing down their adventure, solo, and rocking it. Embracing the awkward and self-conscious feelings made me realise that traveling should push us out of our comfort zones a bit more.

Find more Women Who Wander entires here

Finally, If you are interested in writing for Women Who Wander, you can contact me at youngandundecidedblog@gmail.com. Can’t wait to share your stories

Couchsurfing in Munich

Linking up with FarawayFiles

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27 thoughts on “Women Who Wander: Solo Travel & Couchsurfing in Munich”

  1. ‘Couchsurfing’ is taking solo travel to a whole new level. I would never be comfortable with either of them, so kudos to Cassandra for this adventure of a different kind. I hope you have more such fabulous travels getting to know locals better and spending more time with yourself. 🙂

  2. As a couchsurfing host, it’s showed my husband and I how kind people can be too but in a different way. It’s so cool to meet people coming and seeing your city. We’ve not had a bad experience with a surfer and that’s just so awesome. Good for her on getting out of her comfort zone.

  3. I have always found solo travel very difficult and kudos to Cassandra for this. We being a couple blogger finds it’s lot more easier as we have partner all the time. Couchsurfing is really cool, might try someday.

  4. Wow it sounds like couchsurfing really ended up making the experience for you, although Im not sure Id be brave enough to do it myself! Great you enjoyed Munich and met some new people

  5. We’ve never tried couch surfing but I really want to – I guess travelling with my partner eliminates some of the dangers but it sounds like Cassandra had a blast! Need to try it soon!

  6. Oh, solo travel! This is my favorite subject right now, because I just came back from my FIRST international solo trip and I LOVED IT! I made lots of friends I didn’t feel alone at all. Girls, take courage and step out of your comfort zone. The world is amazing and just waiting to be discovered. Please, don’t let fear hold you back!

  7. Love this post ! I’m yet to properly couch surf but so brilliant to see such a positive post about solo travel! Nothing should hold us back from exploring the world!

  8. I travel solo most of the time – but couch-surfing alone!? WOW Well done 🙂 Unfortunately I had a not great experience with CS in France so I’m building my confidence back up!

  9. I had to smile if I saw your blogpost as Munich is the city where I live and was born and raised. It’s great to read you had a good time here. I also had to smile because I exactly know the feeling of travelling alone and feeling like a loser. But it’s the opposite. It makes you stronger and others will admire you in the end.

  10. Respect, i don´t think i would have been keen on doing couchsurfing while travelling solo! Sounds like a nice experience though ;). I´ve been living in Germany for the past 6 years now and we´re doing lots of trips areound here, Munich is great!

  11. I love reading about women that are inspired to solo travel! I’ve always wanted to try couchsurfing but I’m a little uneasy about the whole concept. Great post!

  12. Wow, what a brave lady! Couch surfing sounds like fun and it was something I was contemplating but now I feel inspired to give it a go. Thanks for the great read!

  13. Wow, I think Cassandra is really brave! I mean, traveling solo for the first time is already a really exciting thing to do, but Couchsurfing straight away as well is double so exciting. I have respect for that and I think she really fits the solo female travelers who dominate the world ;).

  14. That was a very interesting first hand experience of how everything went great from solo travel to couch surfing. Both arent easy. Solo Travel is however something I wouldnt really find joy in. So, I doubt if I would go for it.

  15. I don’t think I could ever do the couch surfing thing, but I’m glad you enjoyed it! One of the best things about traveling is meeting new and interesting people, and it seemed like couch surfing really gave you the opportunity to do that!

  16. I’ve not done too much solo travel but when I have it’s been extremely rewarding and great for overcoming fears. Joining a walking tour is another great way to meet people when you are travelling solo. Food tours especially are great because there is a lot of sitting and chatting over delicious food. Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  17. Wow I admire you for taking the couchsurfing plunge! It really paid off as you got to see the city with a local. Bravo! #FarawayFiles

  18. I completely understand where you’re coming from travelling solo. I have had those fears before, and seeking to do this for the first time in my life in the near future. Thanks for sharing!

  19. I really like this series! I’d have love to read a bit about other women who travel solo, when I went on my first solo trip ten years ago… 🙂

  20. This is a great inspiration for solo travel if someone is thinking about it for the first time. Couch surfing is a good way to meet friends and safe too as you can check references first.

  21. I haven’t heard of couch surfing – it sounds like a fun way of meeting locals when you’re travelling on your own. When I travelled alone, I found that doing tours was a good way to get to know other travellers. You spend most of the day together and often choose to go out for a meal together at the end of the tour. #FarawayFiles

  22. Great post Chiera – I am loving this series! I will admit that I am probably closer to the mom in the situation than the couch-surfing independent.. and my initial reaction was that of her parents – you’re going to WHAT?! Stay on a stranger’s couch? Happy that it was a happy outcome and afforded her opportunities to really integrate into the culture… but it will probably take some convincing by my son when he brings up that option… sooner, rather than later in my case! Thanks for sharing – #FarawayFiles

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