Solo-tripping sounds scary and it is a daunting experience indeed. But it is also an experience that taught me a lot about myself.
I took my first solo-trip to Amsterdam. Solo-tripping had been on my bucket list for a few months. So in February 2017, I took a plunge in this deep, dark and mysterious hole aka solo-tripping. Down at the bottom of that dark hole, I thought to myself, “Boy, I am in heaven!”
My friends found it incredibly strange that I wanted to travel alone.
“You are going alone?”, they would say.
“Yes I am”, I would respond.
But that solo-trip to Amsterdam will always be very close to my heart as it was my first. I wanted to share the reasons why:
- Confidence – By embarking on this adventure alone, I gained immense confidence in my ability to plan a great holiday. I researched the place thoroughly and saw many youtube videos before visiting Amsterdam. I booked a centrally located hostel and navigated the city mostly on foot with the help of google maps. I did not hesitate to ask the locals for help.
- Ability to deal unexpected events – I missed a pre-booked walking tour of the Red Light Area. I was very interested in learning about the history of the place and all the trivia that the guide was going to throw at us while we walked along the dimly lit lanes of this neighbourhood. It was 9:30 at night and I was flying back the next morning. So I decided to explore this area by myself. I visited most of the places that were mentioned on the itinerary of the walking tour by myself and tried to learn about their history by interacting with the locals. I also visited The Museum of Prostitution. It was an eye-opining experience. Although, it wasn’t as great and informative as the tour would have been, I was content with not missing out completely.
- Meeting new people – If you are as socially awkward as I am, solo-tripping is the deal for you. This is because while staying at the hostel and meeting new people will help you overcome social anxiety. While at the hostel, I met a guy from South Korea and we managed to communicate with each other despite language barriers. This guy had been travelling solo for the past three months, and here I was taking pride in my weekend alone. I also came across a man from Spain who was on a wheelchair. I spoke to him in my broken Spanish and it was hilarious. He told me he visits Amsterdam every year to party. It was overwhelming to see this man’s enthusiasm for living the life. He hadn’t given up and seemed to be a happier person than me.
- No compromises – Travelling solo is a boon because you can do whatever you want. You can wake up late or extremely early. You can spend hours shopping or at the museum. You can skip the sites you find boring. You can eat whatever you and wherever you want. You can spend as much time as you like at your favourite attraction. You can emerge yourself in history of the place without worrying about disappointing others. It is you alone on that trip and you don’t need to compromise for anybody. Travelling solo is pure freedom.
- Being in my own company – Amsterdam’s beauty aside, the best part of this trip was to be alone. Solo. In my own company. Learning to be my own best friend. Learning to love myself and enjoy my own company. For the first time, I really understood what all those cheesy quotes on Instagram actually mean. I didn’t need anybody to be happy. I didn’t need anybody’s approval. I didn’t care about others’ opinions. I could make myself happy. I could treat myself to Amsterdam and enjoy alone. I was not craving for anyone’s company and I thought to myself, “If they don’t need me in their lives then I don’t need them in my life.” I felt invincible.
That weekend alone in Amsterdam taught me that we are born alone and we die alone. We don’t need anybody else in our life to make it perfect because we don’t have perfect lives.
That weekend, I understood,
I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.
– Oscar Wilde