So I told you guys in my last article I posted, that I would write about my first solo trip I took last month to Iceland. So here it is; funny enough though, I am currently on my second solo trip in Dublin, Ireland. I’m just going to give you guys the rundown on both trips and how they changed my entire outlook on life; starting with my journey to Iceland.
I flew from Miami out to my home town Bremen in January. The whole idea was to visit my grandparents in Germany for a few days before eventually heading to Reykjavik. So after being in Germany for 6 days I actually ended up taking a 7 hour bus ride up to Denmark for a day to visit a dear friend of mine. So from Copenhagen I took a 3 hour flight to Reykjavik. Once again I flew with Icelandair and I have to say that it is one of the best airlines I’ve ever had the pleasure of traveling with, hands down. Exceptional customer service, reliable and professional. I couldn’t be happier with them.
So I land in Reykjavik with nothing on me except a booking confirmation of my hostel and car rental. I honestly wasn’t even going to rent a car but after finding out that Uber doesn’t exist in Iceland, and public transportation is somewhat of a foreign term to people there I really had no other choice. The only other option I suppose would have been to hitchhike my way through Iceland, which, for some reason didn’t seem like a very appealing choice in my eyes at the time.
I must warn you that renting a car in Iceland is extremely expensive and traveling alone doesn’t help with that either. But it was certainly worth it and you literally cannot get around Iceland without a car! I cannot stress that enough.
So I get in my car and make my way towards my hostel.
There I was;
23 years old, in a foreign country, literally not knowing anyone or anything. I was utterly lost in literally every sense of the word. Saying I was scared would have been an understatement. I was terrified to be honest. However, saying that I wasn’t totally thrilled and excited at the same time would be a lie. There’s just something about feeling that way you know. Feeling lost, scared and overwhelmed. You realize how insignificant you are. That may sound like a bad thing, but you will also realize how insignificant your problems are. Your worries, fears and concerns don’t seem to matter as much when you’re 3000 miles away from them.
And it’s not escaping them either. Never let anyone tell you that. You’re not ‘running’ from your problems, you simple are accepting the fact that life goes on, no matter what. And that is a lesson so many will tell you, yet so few will truly understand.
There’s something about traveling alone. Something incomprehensible to people who have yet to do so. It’s raw; it’s real, its life changing. They say that you’re never the same person after your heart gets broken, which I can attest to be true. I truly believe that solo traveling impacts you in the same way; although probably not in the same traumatizing painful way.
Once you get off that airplane, you simply will not be the same person that you were when you first got on it. You might as well say goodbye to the old you once you get your luggage from baggage claim, and say hello to the new you after you spent 25 minutes explaining in broken Spanish to your Uber driver where exactly it is that you’re staying at.
It’s a beautiful thing. Trust me. You won’t understand unless you yourself are in that position. I really urge everyone to travel alone at least once in your life. I know it’s a huge step. But the reward is so incredible worth it. I’ve met some amazing people during my past two trips.
I’m actually in Dublin right now and I have a great story to share.
So I got to my hostel and once I checked into my room I met this girl named Jessica who was my roommate and was traveling alone as well. She told me that she just got back from backpacking through Thailand for 6 weeks or so. I was astonished by that fact alone. Long story short we ended up having a beer at our hostile. As she was talking to me about herself, this guy comes up to me and first of all apologies for interrupting the conversation and continues by asking if I was on his flight into Dublin from Philadelphia, which I was. So it turns out that he and I were on the exact same flight to Dublin, and we ended up staying at the exact same hostile. What are the chances of that happening? His name is Dev by the way. I know, weird name. If you’re reading this Dev I’m sorry mate but you got an odd name. I still love you though.
Anyways, Dev ends up inviting, my roommate Jessica and I over to his group of people that he just met. This guy traveled by himself as well. So here we are; three people who have really nothing much in common except the fact that we all had the balls to fly to a foreign county by ourselves. If that doesn’t call for unification, then I don’t know what does.
We ended up getting to know each other quite well, had our fair share of drinks throughout our stay in Dublin together and met some fantastic people along the way. I would have never met Jessica and Dev if it wasn’t for me traveling by myself. And I can say that without a doubt in my mind.
The whole reason why I started traveling by myself was because well, I had no one that would go with me. After I got out of a long term relationship early last year I was totally lost and devastated. I loved that woman more than I loved myself. Losing her, to this point in my life, has been the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. You lose someone so close to you and it changes you permanently. For better or for worse, I was not the same person after the relationship was over.
I lost myself in her; I forgot how to love myself unless I heard it coming from her lips. I forgot what it meant to truly be me. When I would look into the mirror all I would see was her. I would see her favorite color, her dreams; I’d see the names of her five dogs, I would see Italy, because that’s the country she wants to visit for her honeymoon. I’d see her beautiful white skin color that gave me nothing but goosebumps when touching mine, and her green eyes; her eyes that reflected the university in them. I would see her lips that I would want to kiss forever, her laughter that stripped away my worries, looking in the mirror all I would see was her. But what about me? What were my dreams? Who was I when she wasn’t around? Because yes deep down I had dreams too, I forgot them but I knew that they once existed. I had a favorite color as well. And where did I want to spend my honeymoon at? Who was I when she wasn’t around? And the answer was that I was nothing without her. At least that’s what I believed at the time.
Even though I loved this woman more than anything I knew this couldn’t continue.
So I sacrificed the relationship for my life back. I had to take back what was mine. And even though it broke my heart doing so, I know it was the right decision.
If it wasn’t for that break up I would have never traveled to Iceland or Ireland by myself. I wouldn’t have met all these people along the way. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. And I believe that everything happens how it’s supposed to be; that where I am right now, is exactly where I need to be.
So I urge everyone who’s contemplating to travel alone, to go for it. Life’s too freaking short for hesitation and second guesses. This is your journey through life, at some point or another; you will have to enjoy that journey by yourself. If you wait on someone else’s approval or confirmation, you’ll be waiting for a long time.