The idea of traveling by myself to a foreign country had always been in the back of my mind. I’ve heard so many stories of people having a blast and really enjoying themselves. But, do I have the courage to do so? I’ve been to concerts, conferences and other social events by myself, but never to a foreign country. I have traveled to a different city on my own, but crashed at a friend’s house. So, does that count as traveling on your own? I did have my own schedule to explore the city during the day, but hung out with my friend at night. Let’s say it sort of counts! Haha.
Going to a foreign country alone is a whole new ball game. If you are reading this because you are intrigued about living this experience, I would suggest you continue to read and book your flight right after. Being immersed in a place where you don’t know anyone puts you in a spot where you are forced to meet people. You either navigate alone or decide to have a blast with locals. I, of course, decided to mingle with locals. It’s seriously the best way to get to know the city better. Granted I did travel to Paris for Fashion Week, therefore I already had a “captivated audience” to network with. But, it’s all on you to put yourself out there.
I arrived on a Saturday and after a quick “jet lag nap” I decided to hit the town. I walked around, ate crepes at a yummy restaurant, went to a bar and ended up at a dance club. That day was an example of how much I enjoy my own company. I never felt bored. It was all new to me, so it was an adventure. TIP: If you are alone and going out to eat or drink, sit at the bar. If you sit at a table you seclude yourself from having conversations. At my first bar in Paris I even got a free shot from the bartenders!
So, what did I learn?
- You’ll meet more locals
100%. As mentioned above, it’s up to you to put that extra effort to mingle and connect with new people. Three days in is when I connected with a girl and she pretty much adopted me for the rest of the trip. Haha. I loved it! She introduced to me to a couple of her friends. We had lunch, dinner, cocktails, went to shows together and even went to a museum. Although I want to take credit of initiating the conversation, I didn’t. Those girls made my trip unforgettable. We now have a WhatsApp group text where we continue to talk. Isn’t that amazing?
- You’ll focus more on the surroundings
Having meaningful conversations when traveling with my significant other is probably one of my favorite things about traveling. Although I missed that portion because Charlie wasn’t around, I got to really enjoy my surroundings. There weren’t many distractions —just me enjoying the scenery.
- Your plans are not set in stone
YEEEES! You are in charge of your schedule, essentially. You were planning to go to a museum at 11a, but instead you want to have brunch and go shopping? Yep, no one cares. AMEN to that.
- You have complete control of your budget
Traveling with a group can be a challenge financially. We all want to please everybody, but sometimes it may not be cost-friendly. In this scenario, you plan accordingly. No one cares if it’s too expensive or even to cheap. You are on your own!
- It builds confidence
Absolutely! It takes guts to meet new people. Some rather sit in a corner and observe, which can be fun too. I definitely enjoyed people watching while in Paris. Isn’t that why they have plenty of outdoor seating? Haha. But, that extra push to navigate the city with new people is definitely a confidence builder. Even going to a bar alone is a confidence builder. Some may feel self-conscious, I’ll say it’s all in our head!
- You can learn more about who you are
Yes! You will have plenty of alone time, so you start noticing your behaviors more. Not only that, but you’ll probably discover (like in my case) that you truly enjoy your own company. I’m a people person, but strolling around Paris by myself was so relaxing and fulfilling. I honestly felt at peace and I loved it! I may have appreciated it more due to the craziness during fashion week.
Did you get bit by the travel bug now? Get out there and explore the world. That’s one of my mottos in life!