Another week, another inspiring solo female travel story. For those who don’t know, Women Who Wander is a travel series I have on my blog where other bloggers can share their stories of Solo Female Travel. It’s something I personally have not done enough of but reading all these incredible stories inspires me to no end! This week, Angela shares her first, unplanned solo travel experience, and how the kindness of strangers shaped her whole experience.
I’m Angela, the She behind www.SheWentWear.com . A 20-something year old traveler who likes to blog. I started traveling with my parents when I was younger and my curiosity for the world grew as I did. I started blogging as a way to keep my loved ones involved on where I was in the world and the more I wrote the more invested I became in my blog. She Went Wear
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It Doesn’t Always go to Plan
I remember my first time traveling solo and I regret nothing. It started out how most travel adventures start out, with a group. haha. My best friend and I planned to explore Europe at the end of summer. We had it all mapped out, we would start in Paris then make our way down to Barcelona.
Well… Life happened, and weeks before our trip, I found out that my best friend couldn’t make it. I was so disappointed but not discouraged. I knew that I still wanted to go on the trip with or without her. Even with my parents trying to talk me out of it I was still determined to go and make it the best trip I could, solo and all.
If I heeded all the cautions my parents and friends warned me about I would’ve missed out on such a beautiful opportunity to explore the world and myself. It was honestly bigger than seeing these famous cities but more about me getting out of myself and my comfort zone and allowing myself to grow without limits.
The Kindness of Strangers
I arrived in Rome and exhausted was an understatement. The one thing I still don’t know how to do is pack light. But I guess in some weird way God was trying to give me a break and the airline I flew with lost my luggage. So there I was, at Rome Fiumicino Airport thinking what the heck do I do now.
I called my mom.
After being a drama queen and crying to her, I checked into my Airbnb and googled the closest shopping areas. It wasn’t until midnight that I realized I didn’t eat anything that entire day. I went next door to this quaint pizza place, the owner’s English was worst than my Italian. I didn’t have any cash to pay but he still gave me my meal and he kept saying “ dopo, dopo” I smiled and tried to remember the phrase so I could try to translate it once I got home. Dopo means later.
The next morning when I woke up, the first thing I did was go to the ATM. I stopped by the restaurant to look for him, and there he was with a friend! His friend spoke English and acted as our translator. I told him that I was grateful that he was so kind and here is the money for the pizza. He smiled and said, “Tutto bene, sedersi” ( sedersi means sit) and they fed me breakfast. Then his friend helped me plan my days in Rome and told me all the things I should see and do while there. I had two new friends all in the span of 24 hours. I stopped by daily just to say hi and have small talk, I think having that helped me cope with the lost luggage and the unfamiliarity of being in a new place.
The Heart Wants What it Wants
After a week in Rome, I changed my itinerary. My next stop was supposed to be Barcelona, but instead, I wanted to go back to London to go on more dates with the guy I met the first go round. Sounds super cliché, right? An American girl goes abroad and falls in love on the first date. It wasn’t like that though, he was just really funny and I enjoyed my time with him. This was also my first time staying in a hostel. He offered that I could stay at his place, but I didn’t know him well enough for that. American, not easy ha. I was nervous as heck staying in a dorm though, what if my stuff got stolen? What if there is a creepy guest who will try to kill me? All these questions came to mind but I still booked the room.
None of that happened. I met a german woman, an American woman and a Chinese man who are all now my friends. I must say it was a strange bunch, but I had more in common with these guest than I did with some people I know back home. So all my touristy activities I did with them, and date night and local spots I shared with the London beau. What was I worried about? While I know there are many horror stories out there, I was blessed enough to not have one yet *knocks on wood*.
Be Cautious, Not Afraid
I know that there are many stories out there to make you cautious about traveling alone as a woman. And while no experience will be exactly the same, you should still go! Be cautious of course, but don’t confuse being cautious with being afraid. If you’re afraid you will never step out of your comfort zone, and in order to truly experience the wonders of the world you need to step out of your comfort zone. That is where all the magic lies. And if your experience isn’t all fairy tale like- learn from it, but don’t let it shape you in a negative way. If you want to change your world, you have to change your outlook.
It took me traveling solo to realize that I wasn’t alone. All throughout my journey, I ran into the kindness of strangers, like-minded travelers, the British gentleman and the sketchy selfie stick seller. My world opened up as soon as I stepped off that plane, and I haven’t looked back since
Finally, If you are interested in writing for Women Who Wander, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can’t wait to share your stories
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