Comfort Zone Culture and Identity Envoy Food Julia Coble Mental Health Temple Rome

Solo Traveling for the First Time

My parents visited me in Rome for a little over a week and during that time I realized how much I value my independence. Fortunately, I get along with my parents very well, but once you spend so much time with them after not seeing them face-to-face for months, it can become overwhelming.

After spring break, I knew that I wanted to go back to Amsterdam by myself, so I planned to go for the weekend after my parents left. I thought that I had it planned out perfectly – see my parents for a week, then have a whole weekend to decompress by myself. Little did I know that I would get into an argument with one of my closest friends here a few days before both me and my parents left.

I rely a lot on my parents when I am feeling overwhelmed and just bad in general, so once this situation arose, I did not want them to leave at all. I knew I still wanted to go to Amsterdam, but now I felt that I still wanted my parents with me. Unfortunately, they had to go home when they got their flight, so there was no way that they would be able to stay for longer. It was hard realizing that they would no longer be with me all the time and in person here, so that’s when I decided that I was still going to go to Amsterdam by myself. I already had it planned out, so what was the point in canceling if I already paid and knew that it could still be really fun for me.

The traveling part went pretty well, so I had high hopes, but once I got to my hostel, I had such a bad feeling about it. I immediately wanted to go home and not stay a second longer because I felt a bit scared and alone. I ended up sitting at a park nearby while freaking out and thinking about going to Berlin for the next day to see my friend who was also solo traveling. Thankfully, my aunt called me, and because of her love for me, she got me a hotel to stay in so I did not have to sleep at the hostel I chose – it was not suitable for a first time solo traveler like me, who was still unsure about her capabilities.

All of my worry disintegrated and I could not believe how kind she was to get me a hotel to stay in. Instead of sleeping above a grown man, I was able to have my own room and own space where I could decompress from all of my feelings from the past week.

I felt like new and the next day I had one of the best days I have had while abroad. I rented a bike and rode around all of Amsterdam the entire day. I went to both of the beautiful parks near the heart of Amsterdam and I felt like I was home. I have never felt this way about a place, and it really made me feel so much more comfortable about being somewhere I was not very familiar with by myself.

When I went on the MigrantTour with Nadia, I got to have a new perspective on how people feel when moving to a new country and not being familiar with it. Obviously, I have never had to move somewhere entirely new and have to adjust to it as the people who have to uproot their entire lives to come somewhere else, but I had a feeling of being somewhere alone and by myself. I can’t even imagine how people who suddenly must migrate to a whole new place feel, and it must be terrifying to start off. It just takes some time to adjust and get used to it, and while it may be very hard, asking for help in any way always is a benefit.

Traveling alone is one of the best ways to start to adjust to living by yourself, and while it is nothing compared to moving across the globe, it gives you a taste of it. I do not want to compare my solo travel to migrants since they are not comparable, but having a bit of that experience may help to get you ready to do more solo things.

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