There’s something so romantic about going off to a foreign country or place by yourself. Or at least I always thought so???
Cue movies/books like Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love, Wild, and the like.
I am such a sucker for that shit. As a hopeless romantic, nostalgic-obsessed introvert/INFP, I eat. It. Up.
I took my first solo travel trip to Europe three years ago, when I was 23. I went to Greece, Ireland, and Belgium over the course of 1.5 months and ate my weight in crepes. I met a ton of other travelers by staying in hostels, which was perfect at the time, but these days I’m not as keen to share a room with 10 other travelers and pray that none of them snore.
I also purposely wanted solitude and reflection time during this trip (and hostels aren’t necessarily the BEST place for that LOL). My goal wasn’t to make a ton of friends and see ALL THE THINGS like it was before – I really just wanted to meet other digital nomads (in real life/online), work on myself, reinforce healthy habits like meditation and journaling, establish myself as an online English teacher, and get my shit together with this blog.
And so, I traded in people for pets and was house sitting in various locations around England from mid-June to mid-August. I spent 2 weeks in Welling (near London), 1 month in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, 1 week in Chichester, and 2 days in London.
My time alone was and wasn’t exactly what I thought. Here are my main takeaways:
So I never ever thought I’d make it to this point? Like being a ‘digital nomad’ has always been a kind of crazy dream of mine, but here we are (#living and #thriving, bby) and only having about one mental breakdown per day!!!!
Lol just kidding, although not gonna lie, anytime you go against the grain I think mental breakdowns are inevitable. Actually, I also had them when I was working a normal 9-5…so maybe that’s just #life?
But ANYWAYS. Curious about what being a traveling house sitter/online english teacher/rainbow unicorn is all about? Here’s what I do to keep busy every day (and FYI, it’s not sitting at the beach drinking margaritas all day and pretending to work! And while I am actually near the beach right now, it’s in England so it’s far from the tropical destination you’re probably picturing…)
Every day is different obviously (that’s kinda why I chose this life? I get bored real quick) but here’s a kind of typical hodgepodge type day:
Fair warning, this is going to be kind of a rambly post…Lots of thoughts bouncing around in my brain. I feel a little scrambled eggs-esque about having been in Europe for the last 3 months and now heading home. There’s just A LOT to process and I’m also going through major chocolate withdrawals (I WAY overdid it on German chocolate and I’m trying to cut out sugar for a bit – wish me luck) so excuse my brain at the moment.
Here’s where I’m at, and how I’ve changed, after 3 months of travel!
I ACTUALLY (KIND OF) MISS HAVING A HOME BASE
Our three months of travel was a little busier than I would have liked – we spent 2 days in London, then a week in Glasgow, a few days in Amsterdam, a week in Switzerland, a week in Prague, 2 weeks in Norway, and then the rest of our time in Germany (but we moved around pretty frequently while there).
Full disclaimer: I don’t know if this will ALWAYS be a cheaper option, but for us it was! Plus, ima be honest, I really just wanted to stay OUT OF THE CITY since we had just come from a couple days in Paris and a few in Lyon.
But I digress – for us, it was the cheaper (and prettier, in my opinon) option!
So – STARNBERG.
That’s right. You heard me. STARN. BERG.
It’s a pretty little town with and here’s why I loved it so:
What to do when you’re down to travel, but you’re an introvert? When you’re on a budget, and have to stay in hostels, but need to balance time with meeting people and recharging? When you’re easily overwhelmed by busy situations?
However, it was nice to be able to CHOOSE when I could make those friends, ya know? Like I could be like, mmmk, today it’s just gonna be me and my DSLR and RBF (resting bitch face), and the next day I could put on the RNF (resting nice face) instead and try to not look so pained in social situations. (And somehow that worked, although I’m sure I looked constipated at times).
I feel like I’m qualified to talk about this topic because I’m just going to go ahead and say I am.
Which is pretty much the reason I’m qualified to do anything! No certifications or degrees needed here. Lol but really, I’ve traveled with 3 good friends in college, random people that I’ve met while traveling solo, a man friend, an old friend from high school, my mom, etc.
But okay, so – here are the things that I feel like makes travel with other people and not strangling each other so much easier!
[Look at me and all my friends!!!!!! I just can’t help it that I’m so popular…]
Okay so – I was terrified that I would make zero friends if I traveled solo. I’m an introvert, and can easily sink into hermit mode if I’m not feeling motivated to socialize.
I can be outgoing when I want to be, but I don’t always want to be – I was afraid I’d end up having a major pity party while everyone else was laughing and having a great time.
But – spoiler alert – that DID NOT HAPPEN! For the most part. There were definitely a few nights where I felt like a big ol’ lame-o (it’s a vicious cycle: I feel like being alone so I don’t try to meet anyone, but then I hear people laughing together and I feel bad for myself. SIGH).
But most of the time, it was easy to meet people and I’m now super hyped on solo travel!