I have a confession to make: traveling alone scares the living crap out of me. At least the idea of it does. I’ve never traveled abroad by myself. The most I’ve ever done was travel to Miami for a 3-day layover trip before heading to Saint Petersburg, Russia for the FIFA World Cup. I don’t really count Miami as a solo trip since I met up with an old friend there.
When I went to Russia, I met up with my friend and his dad. I ended up staying afterwards for a few more days to catch the semi-finals. I wandered around the city at night, mostly on Nevsky Prospect, the main road in Saint Petersburg. I did some people watching and filming. Really enjoyed the solitude.
From there I flew to Budapest, Hungary where I had a 24-hour layover. While there I met up with Nikki, a friend I’d met a year before while on a month long Euro trip. She has a unique Jamaican accent so it’s neat hearing her speak Hungarian. After we had a couple of beers, I went to the Széchenyi thermal baths and enjoyed the rest of my stay before jumping back on a plane to California.
So where does this fear kick in?
While it probably seems like I’ve got this traveling thing down to a tee, the emotional mechanics are still something I’m working on. One of the loneliest times during my travels was actually in Budapest when I took this Instagram worthy photo above. That’s the view from the window of the AirBNB I was staying in. That beautiful building you see is the Hungarian Parliament.
I had just wrapped up my day and was ready to wind down and put on a movie. I remember listening to music and enjoying the view, when all of a sudden a feeling of immense loneliness ran through my body. Maybe it was hearing the party boats of people enjoying themselves go by that created the feeling.
Or perhaps it was remembering what it was like to be on that party boat with my best friend only 6-months earlier when we did our Euro trip. Whatever sparked the feeling, I realized that I could travel the world and meet new people from across the globe, only to return with memories of strangers I call friends abroad.
I’d much rather share the memories with the people who matter most to me. My friends, my family, my loved ones. I realized that I didn’t enjoy traveling because of traveling, I enjoy traveling because I get to create memories with those who matter most to me.
Maybe it was the bright lights of the Parliament. Maybe it’s not traveling alone that I fear, maybe it’s being alone. Yeah, I think that’s it.
So is traveling solo something I’m going to do? Absolutely. I’m certain that I’m going to catch a flight and make it happen all by myself. I’ve got to test my willpower and conquer my fears. I get to be okay being by myself and enjoying myself. Self love, right?