“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”
Words by the brilliant travel writer, Freya Stark in her 1932 book “Baghdad Sketches”. Words that I want to swallow and then spew them out so I can claim them to be my own.
Jumping into the unknown has become my favourite hobby. As ridiculously intimidating as it is, not knowing what the next morning will bring, it’s just as exciting to know that there is a next morning – full of adventure – staring right at you. You don’t have anyone to report to or no one to please with how you plan your days. And this drug-like feeling of the unknown is what I’m chasing for in 2016.
It started with a Christmas break to Bali, back in 2012. I didn’t know what I was going to do, where I was going to stay, who I would share a cocktail with but I knew that I was going to be on my own for Christmas, and perhaps embark on a spiritual journey on a bicycle.
Today, that little bug has spread like wild fire in my life. Be it in south of Spain, the islands of Croatia, the windmills of Mykonos or the olive farms in Puglia. From going on a month-long European adventure on my own, to sun baking on a private luxury beach in Maldives, travelling alone has become my thing, just like strumming a base guitar or baking cookies might be yours. I have watched sunrise after a messy night with strangers in Hvar and sang Spanish songs on the streets of Seville at 3am after an intense session of tapas and flaminco. I’ve crashed a couple’s babymoon and gone snorkelling with manta rays and hiked with another couple on the hills of Santorini. I spent 2014’s Christmas Eve in Florence and attended a midnight mass where I became part of the ceremony and saw my first snow in Vienna the weekend after. These solo travels have given me stories worth a lifetime, and I know I wouldn’t have them if I didn’t find the courage to go on my own.
Have you ever dined alone in a fancy restaurant? Or watched a movie in the cinema on your own? That anxious moment when you can’t decide whether you’re being judged by others or you’re judging yourself is a very familiar feeling when you first embark on this solo journey.
What will I do? Who will I have breakfast with? Won’t I get bored? You might find yourself asking this genre of questions until you realise that, in fact, the luxury lies in not being able to answer any of these questions.
I have invested my life into the idea of travelling alone, and it’s so profusely prominent in my life now that I never find myself explaining to anyone as to why I booked a holiday just for me. Ticket for one, FTW.
It’s become my thing, and 2016 is going to be the best travel year of my 20s.
I need it to be.