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:
Health problems in general suck, but having them while traveling is THE WORST. I’ve had a bad cold in Ireland, a UTI in England (and had to be on a 2 hour bus ride with no bathroom…NOT FUN, I legit was about to pee my pants in front of my whole class), and a shit ton (lol) of stomach issues (although not food poisoning, thankfully!). Sometimes, getting sick or having health issues is unavoidable, but often, very preventable! Here’s my game plan next time I travel:
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!
[As seen from the Howth Cliff Walk – yes, you should definitely go]
So I didn’t want to include this in myYou Should Probably Get Your Ass to Irelandguide because that would be really long. (But you should probably read that, too, because it’s chock full of information and hilariousness.)
OKAY. So let’s talk logistics and other super duper fun things.
Ireland is soooo much more than Dublin! When I hear that people only went there it literally pains me (especially because I was not the biggest fan of Dublin).
I’d say spend like 2-3 days in Dublin (depending on what you want to do) and after that get the heck out of there! IMO it’s overpriced and overcrowded with tourists (especially Temple Bar area – avoid at night at all costs!!!!).
And also – yessss I’m that girl that went to Ireland a year ago and is STILL talking about it. Ugh. But if you read on, you’ll understand why…And also, why not start off with a bang with one of my favorite places ever?
Want to learn more about the logistics of getting around, currency, where to stay, etc.? Go here.