I’ll never forget the rush I felt as the plane taxied down the runway on my first solo trip.
Fixated on the window, my pupils dilated in wonderment as my heart thumped away eagerly inside my chest.
“This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”
Speaking those words aloud – just above a whisper – confirmed that this surreal moment was actually happening.
This was immediately followed by a stimulating breakout of pimply gooseflesh, a final confirmation of my reality.
Although the experience was completely new, there was an air of familiarity to it, like rekindling a beloved childhood sensation.
I knew in that very moment that I could never go back.
Of course I’d return home in the literal sense, but it wouldn’t be as the me from before. It would be as an alternate version of myself, one that operated at a higher frequency.
It’s a bit difficult to explain – even as a writer – but there’s just something about that first solo trip that does something to you. While words can only convey so much, I’m going to do my very best.
I hope this post lights a fire in you, inspiring you to take the leap into the unknown.
Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee what your individual experience will be like, as it’s different for everyone.
What I can promise, however, is that after your first solo trip, you’ll never be the same.
If you’re used to traveling with a significant other, family members, and/or in a group setting, planning your first solo trip might feel overwhelming.
That’s because traveling by yourself means everything you do (or don’t do) depends solely on you.
You can’t rely on a travel buddy to get you to the airport on time, confirm your hotel reservations, or wake you up in time for that sunrise shoot.
Instead, you’ll need to look out for your own well-being.
Fortunately, although this may sound intimidating, relying on yourself can actually be quite liberating.
This experience will teach you how to fend for yourself, think ahead, and trust yourself in a way you never have before.
It will also help you flex your planning muscles, if that’s not usually your strong suit.
The better you are at arranging itineraries and keeping track of when/where you’re going, the easier your first experience will be.
The upside of relying on yourself is the incredible sense of freedom you’ll feel when you do. When you travel solo, you answer to no one.
As long as you’re not harming others and/or doing anything dangerous or illegal, the world is yours.
Once you realize this, your whole trip will start to click into place.
Just imagine it.
You can wake up whenever you want, go where you want, take as many photos as you please, and eat wherever your heart desires.
Meanwhile, no one will be there to complain, debate you, rush you, guilt you, or otherwise complicate things.
You’ll really just do you, no strings attached!
Admittedly, navigation has never been my strong suit. In fact, it was the number one fear I had before taking my first solo trip.
But you know what? I figured it out!
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✨Darling, let’s get beautifully lost✨ . One of my biggest fears of solo travel was getting lost. Navigation has never been one of my strong suits, so having to figure out a completely new city on my own on the fly was more than a little intimidating. . But can you guess what my favorite moments of my trip were? Getting lost. Finally making it to this beautiful spot on Petrin Hill was quite the adventure. I walked up an enormous switchback in this dress as cars whizzed past me at a distance that couldn’t have been more than a foot from my face. As I made my way up the hill, I learned to trust myself, built confidence, and tapped into a navigational side I never knew I had. Plus, by taking the long way, I stumbled upon some beautiful sights which became incredible photo opportunities that I never would have had by taking public transportation. By the time I finally reached this spot on Petrin Hill, I felt like I conquered a new planet. My creativity was at an all time high. I wanted to shoot every leaf and twig I came across. . Looking back now, I wouldn’t trade all the nervousness I felt for the chance to feel “safe.” I know now that an overabundance of “safe” is the enemy to personal growth. . Have you ever let yourself get beautifully lost? What did you discover along the way? . 📸: Me (tripod) . . . . . #prague #petrinhill #praguestagram #pragueworld #visitprague #sofetravel #solotraveling #whimsicalwonderfulwild #roamingwomen #wanderlustwednesday #athomeoutdoors #naturegramy #womenwhowander #wanderingwomen #theeverygirltravels #globelletravels #shetravels #theviewfromhere #prettylittletrips #wekeepmoments #shewhowanders #thedailyadventurer #travelgirls #speechlessplaces #visualwanderlust #liveforthestory #traveldreams #suitcasetravels #ladieslovetravel #huffposttravel
Does this mean I made my way around without any difficulty?
In fact, I got lost several times while in Prague.
However, I’m glad I did because each experience improved my navigational skills – and boosted my confidence.
So trust me when I say, if I could find my way around foreign cities, you can too!
Traveling solo is a huge confidence booster.
Personally, learning how to navigate around a new city was a biggie for me. Getting my bearings without any outside influence was one part “baptism by fire” and another part just getting out of my own way.
In addition, traveling by myself also made me much more confident taking my own photos.
Truthfully, I’m not a fan of asking random strangers to take my photo when I travel. Since pictures are a huge part of my work as a blogger/content creator, I don’t want to just “wing it” and hope for the best.
Besides, if you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I’m in all of my pictures, so having my trusty tripod with me is a must.
Solo travel really put my tripod skills to the test, and I surprised myself by being up to the challenge.
In fact, I actually became so absorbed in setting up my shots that entire afternoons would slip by. Honestly, I sometimes wouldn’t have a clue what time it was until dusk fell and I was still shooting!
Here are some of my favorite tripod shots that I captured during my solo adventures:
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I first discovered Nový Svět completely by accident, but what a happy accident it was! 🤩 . Nový Svět – or New World, as it’s known in English – was formerly the outskirts of Prague Castle. Once home to the city’s poorest class, this area became popular amongst artists and filmmakers after World War II. . Today, this neighborhood is commonly referred to as the Montmartre of Prague! This was such an unexpected delight to discover, especially considering that I had lost a good chunk of my Montmartre photos due to a hardrive error in Paris 🙈 . It’s chock full of cobblestone streets, picturesque cottages dating back to the Middle Ages, and even a charming coffee shop, Kavárna Nový Svět! . TIPS FOR VISITING NOVÝ SVĚT: . This area is very close to Prague Castle, so if the castle is already on your itinerary – which it definitely should be – be sure to pay Nový Svět a visit! . To Get Here: Stand with your back facing the Prague Castle entrance. Cross through Hradčanské Square and take Kanovnická Street a couple of blocks until hitting the street Novy Svet. . ✨Be sure to save this post so that you can pay this gem a visit when you’re in Prague!✨ . When was the last time you stumbled upon a charming gem on your travels? . 📸: Me (tripod) . . . . . #praguestagram #praguephoto #toppraguephoto #sofetravel #solotraveling #darlingplaces #thedarlingmovement #prettycity #postcardplaces #prettylittletrips #travelgirlsgo #thefairytalebloggers #journeysofgirls #travelmoments #femaletravelbloggers #travelinladies #travelcolorfully #prettylittleinspo #travelinbetween #tripotocommunity #globelletravels #femmetravel #explorerbabes #pinkflashesofdelight #huffposttravel #igersofficial #travelgirldiary #wheretofindme #speechlessplaces #girlsthatwander
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🌺”Bloom as if you want to make the whole world beautiful”🌺 -Debasish Mridha . Portugal has some of the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen on my travels (more proof that Lagos and Mykonos are siblings). Just about everywhere you turn here, there’s some insanely gorgeous gargantuan blossoms just blooming in your face. . Tips for Finding These 🌺: Although this spot may look like part of a street, it’s actually part of Praia Dona Ana, one of my favorite beaches in Lagos! Here’s the scoop on how to get here: If you enter from the “main” street (the one with vendor selling beachy goods and the casual food joint), you will be struck by the beauty of Praia Dona Ana. Once your pulse stops racing at the sight, you will notice a staircase to your right that leads down to the beach. That’s for later. . If you head left, you will find a couple of pretty white homes with orange rooftops. Right by those you will notice another staircase that’s much more enclosed than the main one. If you follow these steps up to the second level you will find this ridiculously beautiful flower porn. After you grab those IG-worthy shots, keep following these steps for what I consider one of the most stunning (and more secluded) views of this amazing beach. Save this post so you don’t miss this beautiful sight in Lagos!👇🏻 . 📸: Me (tripod) . . . . . #prettylittletrips #weshareportugal #portugal_gems #portugallovers #postcardfromtheworld #travelgirlsgo #traveldreamseekers #portugal_vision #portugalagramas #babeswhowander #travelcolorfully #darlingplaces #lagosportugal #discovernewplaces #shetravelz #pinkflashesofdelight #seeingthepretty #thefairytalebloggers #portugal_passion #inspiringwanderers #journeysofgirls #sofetravel #femmetraveler #solotravelgirl #girlstraveltale #wanderlustgirl #bestofeurope #dreamylittleplaces #girlsborntravel #fairytaletown
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(Potentially) Unpopular Opinion: I’ve found myself wanting to surround myself with positivity more than ever, as in people and activities that uplift me. Sure, there’s a lot of awful ish going on in the world right now, I’m not trying to deny that. But it doesn’t personally serve me to dwell in it. . Telling people that they can’t be positive all the time and that it’s in some way dishonest - if that’s truly how they feel - is just as wrong as telling people not to be sad/mad/anxious. All feelings are valid, this is not a competition, and you’re entitled to feel whatever feels right to YOU. Positivity is an active - and sometimes difficult - choice, but I make an effort to choose it each and every day. . 📸: Me (tripod) . . . . . #lagosportugal #portugal_gems #portugalovers #portugalguide #portugalvisuals #portugalia #portugal_vision #portugaltravel #portugal_passion #darlingplaces #postcardplaces #prettylittletrips #journeysofgirls #inspiringwanderers #babeswhowander #shetravelz #thewanderingtourist #girldiscoverers #girlsdreamtravel #theeverygirltravels #ladiesgoneglobal #thedreamytravels #shetravels #wanderwoman #abmlifeiscolorful #femaletraveler #damestravel #prettylittleiiinspo #allpinkeverything #roamingwomen
Traveling by yourself is also a great way to sharpen your problem-solving skills.
Here are just a handful of challenges I encountered on my solo trips:
- Confusing streets
- Sketchy areas
- Foreign airports with confusing signage
- Uncomfortable carry-on luggage confrontations
- Communication barriers
- Camera setting difficulties
However, I managed to work my way through each obstacle on my own because there was no other option.
And guess what? You will too!
I always try to meet my partner’s needs when I have a travel companion with me.
For instance, I’ll often let the other person pick a restaurant or dictate how long we stay somewhere based on their energy.
Unfortunately, this often means experiences are cut short, if not altogether lost.
When solo traveling, on the other hand, I tend to live in the moment and absorb my surroundings so much more.
Since you get to dictate each experience, you can truly enjoy things to the fullest, whether it’s strolling along the beach for hours or slowly savoring a delicious meal.
You may even look at beautiful sights you’ve seen before in a totally new light. This happened to me – quite literally – as I watched the sunrise in Lagos, Portugal.
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“If I should capture the most beautiful sunrise, only then, will I stop capturing them.” . Seeing my first solo sunrise in Portugal is something I will never forget. In a world where we’re always trying to please and do for others, I think it’s so important to keep some moments just for you. In fact, I’ve found myself pulling back from sharing dozens of Stories a day and capturing every moment on camera in favor of experiencing them fully. . To be honest, my trip to Portugal was supposed to be a vacation after hiking the Camino – something I haven't experienced since becoming a travel blogger and starting this account. Reason being, there’s always this invisible pressure to document every minute and be “on.” It’s something I’ve been struggling with A LOT recently, particularly in regards to how it relates to my personal life. While this platform requires so much of me, I’ve learned that I need to spread myself out amongst many platforms/personal things to feel fulfilled. And that means sometimes enjoying moments that are just for me. . I’m truly happy to say that this sunrise was something I enjoyed just for me. Yes, I did happen to capture a shot just as it was coming up to share with you all, but I will never forget that first moment I glimpsed it across the water at the edge of Old Town Lagos. It was big and fiery red like a giant flaming grapefruit bursting through the sky. I was in awe. Even though I woke up at 5:30 AM to shoot before the crowds (while on "vacation"), I’m glad I did because I would have missed such a beautiful sight. So now, I share this photo with all of you, but I keep that first moment for myself. . When was the last time you enjoyed something just for you? . 📸: Me (tripod) . . . . . #sunriselovers #speechlessplaces #shetravels #postcardplaces #portugallovers #weshareportugal #portugal_gems #postcardfromtheworld #getlostclub #travelgirlsgo #portugal_vision #travelcolorfully #babeswhowander #lagosportugal #darlingplaces #travelcolorfully #wandergirl #babeswhowander #girlsthattravel #womenwhowander #inspiringwanderers #journeysofgirls #sofetravel #inspiredtravel #solotravelgirl #girlstraveltale #wanderlustgirl #dreamylittleplaces
Instead of rushing through the moment, I stood and stared, admiring the beauty.
When you solo travel, time is yours to spend how you wish. In fact, time seems to slow down when you don’t have reservations or other obligations to constantly rush off to.
Instead, you can decide how quickly (or slowly) you want to wake up and divide up your time however you see fit throughout the day.
If a plan falls through, you can quickly shift gears and rearrange your schedule on the fly without disrupting someone else’s plans.
Or, if you prefer, you can operate without a schedule whatsoever. Your trip really is yours to design.
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✨Quiet, reflective moments alone: the solo wanderer’s greatest gift✨ . One of my favorite things about solo travel is the freedom that comes with it. Get up and go as you please, answer to no one, change plans on the fly, and do whatever moves you. For a classic Type-A planner like myself, solo travel surprisingly made me a more spontaneous traveler. If a plan fell through, I was quick to find an alternative and content to go where the wind blew me. I uncovered many hidden gems (like this one) traveling this way and it was one of the most fulfilling adventures I’ve had yet. . I’ll be sharing much more about my solo experience – and recommendations for your solitary adventures – on my blog in the coming weeks. For now, I’ll just say I highly recommend a visit to Petrin Hill if you’re solo tripping (or otherwise) in Prague. It’s the perfect place to escape the tourist crowds, be alone with your thoughts, and get truly inspired by nature. Plus, the views ain’t too shabby, either, amiright? . Have you ever traveled solo? If so, did you enjoy it? If not, what would you like to know? . Side Note: I’m finally out of Insta Jail after my 24-hour commenting ban 🙏 That said, I will be engaging a bit slower than normal so I don’t risk going back in. Will catch up with all of your lovely shots as quickly as I can 😊 . 📸: Me (tripod) . . . . . #europe_vacations #girlsborntotravel #girlswhotravel #toppraguephoto #praguestagram #visitprague #solofemaletraveler #sofetravel #solotravels #prettycity #theviewfromhere #travelcolorfully #huffposttravel #igersofficial #explorerbabes #shetravelz #journeysofgirls #travelwithlove #speechlessplaces #shetravels #travelinladies #traveldreamseekers #travelgirlsgo #thefairytalebloggers #globelletravels #darlingplaces #pinktrotters #shewanders #shewhowanders #theeverygirltravels
Before my first solo trip, every blog I read said that traveling alone is a great way to meet new people.
Admittedly, I was skeptical, but I can honestly say it’s true. Traveling solo is a natural segue for conversations with other travelers.
When you’re traveling with a friend, family member, or partner, you’re probably not super likely to strike up a conversation with a total stranger.
However, when you’re on your own, people feel more comfortable approaching and engaging with you (and vice versa).
For instance, while touring Prague Castle, I naturally struck up a conversation with a couple from Ireland who was also on the tour. I told them about my blog and learned all about their daughter from back home!
Then, while eating my final dinner in Prague, I sat next to a father and a son from Sweden, and we ended up chatting throughout the entire meal.
In addition to organically conversing with other travelers, traveling solo is also a great opportunity to meet fellow content creators.
While in Prague, I met up with my first Instagram friend in real life!
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Thing number 17,651 I love about solo travel – the incredible people you meet along the way! Thanks to the amazing connections I’ve made through this platform, I had the pleasure of meeting with my first Insta pal in real life, @veronicasblondediary! As soon as I announced I was traveling to Prague, she graciously reached out and offered to meet up/show me around/help in any way I needed. As crazy as Instagram can make me sometimes, I have to say that connecting & collaborating are the best aspects of this online world! . Meeting an Insta friend IRL was actually one of my big goals for 2019. Despite how outgoing I am, it’s something I was actually a bit nervous about. (Will they like me? Will we jive? Will we have the same shooting style?) Well, I’m SO glad I did, because it was super refreshing to meet up with a fellow travel lover face-to-face (instead of behind a screen) for a change and discuss our dream places. Plus, I learned some fun things about this incredible city along the way 🤩 . After a successful morning of shooting content, we enjoyed a delicious French breakfast at the stunning Municipal House, the building you see behind me. (Leave it to me to seek out French cuisine everywhere I go 🥐👀)…and we may or may not have had strudel-filled trdelník afterwards 😋🙈 . Have you ever met up with an Insta friend IRL? If not, I highly encourage you to take the leap! . 📸: @veronicasblondediary . . . . . #sheexplores #globelletravels #traveltagged #alwaysgo #travelgirls #travelinladies #traveldreamseekers #travelgirlsgo #prettycity #girlsvsglobe #girltraveler #letsflyawayto #exploringeurope #passportable #pinktrotters #travelwithlove #babeswhowander #thefairytalebloggers #solofemaletraveler #travelcolorfully #travelingchicas #femmetraveler #toppraguephoto #travelingchicas #sofetravel #lovelettertoeurope #solowomentravel #travelinggirls #praguelove #pasteltravels
She also knew all of the best spots to get trdelník! (Yum!)
There’s nothing like meeting up with a local to get the scoop on all the best locations.
I highly recommend reaching out to friends via Instagram who live in your chosen destination and arranging a time to meet up. This is a great way to create content, exchange ideas, and get to know a destination on a deeper level.
In addition to meeting new people, solo travel is also an opportunity to dig deeper and uncover your true “travel personality.”
It can also challenge your own limiting beliefs about who you are.
For instance, I discovered a different side of myself on my first solo trip. I was more carefree, spontaneous, and self-sufficient.
Previously, I’d considered myself to be “Type A” – always painstakingly planning and overthinking – but my trip to Prague challenged this belief.
After getting lost one evening and missing a walking tour, I found myself on a tourist trolley just moments after. The trolley was preparing to leave in five minutes and I made a split-second decision to hop on without questioning it.
If you know me, you’ll know this is very out of character. As someone who overanalyzes every decision, this was refreshingly spontaneous.
In fact, it’s rare for me to make a decision without obsessing over all of the different outcomes first to assure I’m not “missing out” on the best one.
Or, perhaps that was just a self-imposed narrative that I simply repeated mindlessly.
Either way, there was no one to question me, confirm whether or not it was “best” to hop on that trolley, or try to stop me.
All I know is, as it clattered down the street and the wind whipped through my hair, a huge grin spread across my face.
Turns out, it’s totally okay to make decisions off the cuff and have a really great time! (Who knew?)
I was also really surprised how easily I opened up to new people. Truthfully, I didn’t imagine I’d speak to anyone outside of my friend or hotel/restaurant staff.
However, I proved myself wrong once again, and I’m sure you will, too!
As you’ve probably gathered, once you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, you’re basically “ruined” for life.
Well, once you take your first solo trip and get a taste of freedom, you’ll be hooked.
Solo travel enables you to get into a comfortable rhythm with yourself, similar to being single for an extended period of time.
You’ll come to realize that you don’t need a travel companion to be happy and that travel satisfaction comes from within. It’s an amazing feeling!
Additionally, you’ll likely be more selective about who you do travel with after this life-changing experience.
As Ernest Hemingway wisely said: “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”
Challenges inevitably arise whenever you travel, so adventuring with someone you genuinely care about means you’ll work through the tougher situations.
Side Note: If you do ever find your constant travel companion – shout out to the hubby – don’t let that person go!
You may also find you have a much lower tolerance for unnecessary trip drama once you go it alone.
However, this can be a great way to eliminate excess baggage (literally and figuratively) for much more satisfying experiences in the future.
After two incredible solo adventures, I genuinely believe that everyone should travel alone at least once. It’s hard to explain just how special it is until you experience it for yourself.
In fact, your biggest regret will probably be not taking the leap sooner!
Have you ever traveled by yourself? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.
If not, are you considering taking your first solo trip? What fears/doubts/questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below; I’m always happy to help!