47 Days on My Own
When people ask me why I’m spending half of my Summer on my own – I never really know what to say. Was it intentional or did it just happen? The answer is: at some point YES and at some point NO. For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram and thus don’t know what I’m talking about: I’m currently sitting on an Airbnb bed in South Boston and looking at my fully unpacked and very messy suitcase from yesterday’s flight here from Toronto. I’m spending 47 days in North America on my own. I noticed that the title of this blog post sounds pretty much like a challenge you would find somewhere ghosting around on social media. It’s not a challenge – kind of – or at least it did not start off as one. In the following blog post I will share with you the reasons why I decided to undertake this solo trip, my experiences, what’s on my list and my thoughts so far.
I must say, it’s at a pretty early stage to write a blog post like this. It’s the 5th of August which means I arrived not even a week ago in North America. On the 1st of August, everything started with a 50 minutes flight from Vienna to Munich and an about 8 hours flight from Munich to Toronto. I’ve always been a person who has struggled with a lack of sleep if big things were coming up. To high school times, I spent most of my nights preparing for the next day or exam because I felt guilty when I was asleep and anxious when I was awake. Going to another country doesn’t seem like a big thing to some of us and like an impossible task for the rest of us. To me, it’s neither nothing nor an impossible thing to do. So, I didn’t struggle to fall asleep because of anxiety or because I felt like I had to reorganize anything, but because I had so many thoughts.
When you’re traveling with somebody else you kind of rely on them even if you know that in the end, it’s you who will find the right bus line or take care of the missing luggage. Still, having a travel buddy makes things go smoother (at least mentally). Human beings don’t like to be alone, they seek companionship. I’m a human being so I know how that feels 😀
And still, I never ever had the feeling to just cancel it or beg another person to come along.
My reasons for traveling on my own for such a long amount of time are really so complex that they don’t even make sense to me. On one hand, there is definitely my huge passion for traveling and seeing new cities as often as possible, on the other hand, there is also this feeling inside of me that tells me to live, laugh and love as long as I’m young and free. When I started planning this trip I did not know from the very beginning that it’s just gonna be me. I wouldn’t have minded a friend coming along but as you could probably imagine it’s not the easiest thing on this planet to find a friend who is willing to spend that much time and money on a trip. It’s even harder since my friends are all students, usually expending more than earning. So, it was pretty clear that I would either have to wait a few years till I find someone who is willing to accompany me or I would simply have to go on my own. And that’s exactly what I did.
That’s the part where my inner voice practically yells at me (not in a weird way :D) to go out, have fun and be f***ing independent. As many of you have probably already noticed, I am definitely a feminist and I do believe that we (as women) still don’t live up to our own expectations because we let us keep back from great things because of insecurities and the urge to make everyone else around us happy.
On this trip, I told myself to only make sure one person was happy and that would be me. A huge advantage of traveling solo is definitely the fact that you don’t have to worry about anybody else. If you feel like doing a day trip to another city – do it, if you feel like going home at 5 p.m. and watch Netflix in your Mickey Mouse pajamas – go for it! There is nobody there that you would have to argue with about what to do or what to see where to eat or how long to stay somewhere.
This freedom is exactly what I love the most.
The irony, however, is that with freedom there is also some sort of responsibility that simply comes along – invited or not. My responsibility in that case is to take care of myself and make sure I’m fine because there is nobody else who could do that for me. One huge factor would be making sure I’m not lonely. Being alone is totally fine with me but being lonely and isolated is not the purpose of this trip. So, I made sure I got in contact with as many people as possible – but people I don’t know. In Toronto, I booked a photo session with Lined Photography over Airbnb and it totally paid off. I did not only get amazing images but also a local approach to what to do and see in the city. What’s more, I met the three nicest people ever within two hours. In Boston, I did another photo tour – and again: nice people, great experience, no loneliness. I also only booked Airbnb rooms and never the whole apartment. I feel like booking the whole apartment is just an unnecessary luxury that I would perhaps aim for if I was here for work but not as a student who won’t use the apartment for anything else than rest and taking a shower.
Airbnb is such a blessing if you ask me because you can interact with locals, you get an idea of what life in this area is like and you feel way more at home than in any hotel. Sharing my space with strangers isn’t a big deal to me since I don’t really know it any differently. When I was 13 years old I did my first trip to another country without my parents for more than a couple of days. Back then I was doing a language course in what still is my favorite part of England, Cornwall. I stayed with a host family: mother, father, two little kids and two other students. It was small, it was crowded and it was also one of the best experiences ever. Still, I feel like this trip was what made me become so eager to see more of the world. After this trip, many, many more similar ones followed. Everytime it was crowded, little space, but great people and even better experiences.
As already mentioned, my first stop was Toronto (amazing city, totally love it and reminds me of a mix of Manhattan, England and the Netherlands). Now I’m in Boston for three more days before I take a train to Providence, Rhodes Island. I haven’t seen much of the city yet, but I’m sure once I’ve set foot in it I will love it.
In a following blog post, I will tell and show you more of my experiences in Toronto and Boston. Stay tuned!
As always, feel free to tell me about your experiences, your thoughts and whatever it is that you want to share with me!