Traveling alone, especially as a young woman, may seem intimidating, but don’t think about it, and JUST DO IT! The things that that scare you the most, grow you as a person the most and make the best stories and memories. It is such an empowering experience to get a bus, plane, metro, hostel, and food all by yourself. You can eat when you want, sleep when you want, and go experience the things you want in the city you are in without having to worry about others traveling with you.
I have traveled by myself once–to Copenhagen, Denmark, and I didn’t even plan to. The round-trip flight to Copenhagen from London was only £30 (about $40), so I bought my flight. I mentioned it to my friends, assuming they would go, but they didn’t seem interested. So when the date came, I was alone. I thought about not going, thinking “it’s only a $40 loss, it’s fine, you can just stay at home.” I AM SO GLAD I didn’t listen to that because it was the best experience, and I met the most amazing people on that trip.
When I landed in Copenhagen, I had to figure out how to get to my hostel from the airport. The predominant language on directional signs is Danish, but underneath, English is normally written, which made it easier. Additionally, I always make sure my phone will have data before I travel anywhere. If I didn’t have access to google maps, then I am not sure I would have made it this far–not even kidding. There were only two metro lines in Copenhagen, so I figured out how to get to my hostel fairly easy.
Once I got there, I thought, oh my god, I haven’t talked to ANYONE this whole time. It was weird. I started to feel alone. But everything in life is about your mindset. It’s about what you make of the situation. In my room, of eight people on bunk beds, one girl told me about a shared dinner the hostel holds at 7 PM every night.
I decided to go. Why not? It was a very simple dinner–pasta and bread, but hey, it was only $3. I met a 26-year-old from Argentina and a guy from France. We had a nice conversation, and then I headed to bed.
The next day, I saw the sights of Copenhagen, but at night, is when I really felt the power of traveling by myself. I decided to go to the shared dinner again in attempts to see the people from the night before or meet other people. I noticed people playing beer pong, and of course, I couldn’t resist. I never just go up to random people, but this time was different. I was alone. I didn’t have the comfort of a friend group. So, I grew some balls and said: “I’ve got next game.”
Just by introducing myself, I was exposed to, now, lifelong friends. I was welcomed with open arms into this group of travelers. They were all traveling by themselves as well and met in the hostel. There was a guy from Venezuela, a girl from England, two girls from Canada, a guy from Scotland, a guy from Portugal, and then me. All different cultures combined into one amazing night in Copenhagen. We played beer pong, flip cup, and then ventured out of the hostel to a couple bars. Karaoke was the highlight of the night, and we ended with Burger King!
The next day came, and I had breakfast with Abby, the English girl, and two other Americans that she had met previously. Abby and I saw Copenhagen for the day, and then met up with everyone for a late lunch before my flight back to London.
I left, never knowing if I would see those beautiful souls again. If I had traveled with my three friends, I probably wouldn’t have even tried to speak to anyone else because I would have been comfortable. I wouldn’t have eaten at the places I wanted because I would be compromising with friends, and I wouldn’t have met those amazing people. Great things happen when you step outside of your comfort zone. Get out of that zone, it is holding you back!!
At the end of the trip, I was so empowered. I felt amazing. I got the bus, the plane, and the metro myself, in a different country, with no one’s help. I met amazing people. And most importantly, I learned so much about myself. I still remember the view of the city center as I was leaving and the feeling of empowerment that I had. I will forever cherish that moment.
P.S. I actually saw one of the guys again, but in Barcelona. Crazy, right?