It has been some time since I penned down my journey. No, I do not want mine to be one of those many blogs that come alive and then die a slow death. There was just too much going on in my life which needed my attention. I have moved back to the city where I spent my childhood, and a good part of my adulthood too. Ah! It’s a great feeling to be back.
Now, I am back to writing about my journeys. As the title suggests, the one here is where I fell in Love, with myself all over again. Even I did not know at what point during that trip it happened. This was the one when I travelled SOLO.
I was one of those people who never thought that travelling solo could be fun, and always said “nonsense” whenever I heard people say that solo travel changes you. Believe it or not, it surely does. Well! At least it changed me, and when I came back this new me was noticeable to people around me too.
How it all started
2015 was when I threw myself into this experiment of travelling solo – not to a nearby city, but to a whole new continent – Europe! And if you are experimenting, why work on only with a single parameter, let’s throw in some more variables. Let’s not take any international SIM card or mobile data. No big deal. Right? I mean, I have travelled earlier too. I even lost my cell phone on one of my travels, so why such a big deal now? – It was, I had never travelled solo before. I was the most reserved person I knew back then and I cringed at the idea of approaching a stranger to talk. So this here was a BIG DEAL for me.
This trip changed me and now I recommend it to everybody. Some people give me the same reaction I gave earlier – nonsense. But I believe, if there is even one person I can inspire to take this trip of a lifetime once, I fulfilled the purpose of writing this article. Trust me, if you can, you will fall in love with solo travelling. You will fall in love with yourself.
I covered Paris, Barcelona, Rome, and Berlin on this trip in a span of 20+ days and that trip is the most memorable one for me. Every city has its own flavour and every city taught me something different about me and about life.
Paris was my first destination on this trip. After feeling lonely for a couple of hours, Paris with its world-class art, beautiful gardens, iconic architecture, rustic markets, cafes, fine dining restaurants, and chic cocktail bars made me feel comfortable with myself. A person who almost never took charge of talking to a new person, I was asking people for directions, making friends with hostel roommates, and sharing the happiest moment of someone’s life – her boyfriend proposed marriage to her in front of the glittering Eiffel Tower. I thought I had trust issues, but with Paris, my faith in the human race started to increase little by little.
Barcelona just took my hand and swung me into a dance floor. I was dancing to the tune of this wonderful city. It teaches you how to cherish little things in life. La Sagrada familia, is a living example that even if you cannot complete it, no one can take away your masterpiece. So instead of worrying about life we should just follow the rhythm and keep dancing.
Rome made my faith in humanity event stronger when in the middle of the night a stranger showed me the way to reach my hostel. She didn’t know it either, at first, but she made efforts to find out and help me, instead of running away with my luggage. At Roman forum and the Colosseum, I went on a time travel as my imagination was actually transported to the time of the Roman Empire when these ruins must have been magnificent structures. If ruins are so beautiful, one can only imagine the grandeur of actual buildings.
And my favourite, Berlin, it taught me that anyone can do a course correction anytime in their lives. Everybody makes mistakes, its only up to us how we chart our journey afterwards. You can either sink in your own mistakes or you can rise up and make yourself an example to follow. What is now East Side Gallery, was once the wall diving Germany. It is a beautiful open art gallery which spreads the message of peace and hosts artists from across the globe.
It wasn’t just the cities that taught me so much, it was the experiences that came along the way that made me realise my own potential as a traveller. I literally sprinted to take the last bus out of the airport to the city in Rome, old me would not have done that. Last minute gate changes made me panic at Paris but somehow it all worked out just fine. I got lost in the streets many times during this trip – remember no data means no GPS – but almost always I stumbled upon a great hidden place which I would have missed going with maps.
“Sometimes the only way to ever find yourself is to get completely Lost” – Kellie Elmore.
My Advice to everyone – travel solo at least once in your lifetime and that time should start now.