Welcome back to Women Who Wander, the online series where solo female travellers get to share their stories and experiences. I absolutely love reading all your stories and they have and continue to inspire me in my travels every day. This week we have Veronica, who caught the travel bug at a young age. Since then she has carried on the tradition into her adult life.
My name is Veronica, I am 20 years old and I’m studying linguistics in the romantic Venice, Italy. I love taking photos as never-ending photos, and eating hazelnut cream.
I enjoy the feeling of connecting with people with different languages, and I’m amazed by how incredibly beautiful the planet we live on is.
During my experience as aupair in Spain, I started my blog. After a few changes, it finally became Una Veronica Vagante, which translates in English into A Wandering Veronica. In this post I will tell the story of how I became Wandering.
You can follow my adventures on my blog unaveronicavagante.wordpress.com
and on my instagram.
I still remember the first time I stepped on a plane. I was 14, all on my own, and had no idea of what was going to happen. I actually was in a mix of emotions. I was scared because of the too many crashing planes I had seen in movies, but I was also excited. I was going out of my country for the first time, I was going to live in a family that was not mine and that didn’t speak my language. The two-weeks experience worked out well. I learnt some random words in German, I had a trip to the Herrenhausen Gardens in Hannover and a new strong friendship.
It All Starts Somewhere
Three years later, right before turning 18, I decided I wanted to give myself another experience like that. I surfed the web, read countless pages and sent tons of email, and so I embarked on an amazing adventure. An adventure that has forever changed my life.
I spent the whole summer working as aupair in Pamplona, in Northern Spain.
I worked during the day taking care and helping two lovely kids with their English. I then usually had free evenings and weekends, and I spent them with other girls from Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Poland and France. You cannot imagine what a blast I had! We travelled as much as we could and we were in a different city almost every week. We shared dinners, photos, doubts, and emotions, and we threw a farewell party every time that one of us left. I had never thought that friendships could grow in such a short time, and leave such vivid and emotional memories.
That summer, my heart was full of happiness and excitement. I felt complete. I was having the time of my life, and I was learning so much. But I had to go back home, and finish high school. The year of my 18th birthday, which is a huge milestone in the European culture, I was half in Italy and half in Spain. Luckily for me, I could take part in an exchange with a school in Murcia. Unfortunately for me, I found out I was in love with the country and that I’d never stop travelling.
And so I never did.
I kept visiting cities all over Europe, such as Berlin and Lisbon, but I realized I felt as if I had never travelled alone. I was tired of planning and making compromises, and I really wanted to live an experience with myself, for myself, with no one having my back. Therefore, for my 20th birthday, I gave this gift to myself. Two weeks later, I went on a two-day trip to Marseille, France. All on my own, without knowing any word in French – I must confess that this was kind of stressful for me! The trip was amazing and I actually found out that in my solo trip I was never really solo…
At the Chateau d’If, I had a guy congratulating with me for traveling alone, and another one kindly asking if I wanted a picture taken. At the market, I was able to hold a conversation using the few words I knew in French and my Italian gestures. I even had the chance to say Bonjour to whoever I met. I forgot it felt so good to get a happy and spontaneous smile back.
Solo Doesn’t Have to Mean Alone
This experience reminded me that even if you leave your home by yourself, on the journey you will meet a lot of people. Some will be kind, other not so much, and others will be friendly, while others not really. But as long as you aren’t at the North Pole, you’ll never be alone. It’s extremely easy. A smile, a little conversation and you will discover that, around you, there are tons of people traveling alone who are in the same situation as you.
I get often asked if I am scared. I surely have fears, but I always make sure to never regret even a single thing. As time passed by, I learnt that the inner voice inside each of us knows more than we actually do. So, if there’s something that makes me feel uncomfortable, I just find the way out. I won’t have a great time with such feelings – would you?
As you read, I have no superpower. Being a (young) woman who travel has made me crazily happy. If you feel like it, if you feel the urge of leaving, please, do it! You don’t need much – just a backpack and a smile.
I’ll see you out there!
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