Friday, 18 November 2016

What I Learned About Myself When Travelling Alone

It's not that often I spend time on my own. Coming from a large family to living with friends at university to now, moving back to an emptier family home (I'm the youngest) I often spend my time in the company of my parents. I think in a way my personality makes a lot of people view me as baby rather than the mother figure. When I announced my travel plans for Italy, my first trip alone, I felt I had a lot to prove and a lot to learn.
Once you land there is no turning back, believe me when I say I had a sick feeling in my stomach for days leading up to my first flight. The mixture of nerves and excitement was all brewing up inside me and filling me with anxiety. Those who know me will probably be aware of my unfortunate series of events mostly on trains. I've suffered with motion sickness, hot sweats, I fainted once which lead to mild concussion (damn you Eurostar - to be fair I did get free food/drink after and was bumped up to first class), you name it. After this I built up an irrational fear of travelling alone and point blank refused to get on trains unless there was no other option. Although I have had many successful journeys alone since by simply distracting myself, it takes a lot out of me mentally. My first hurdle of this trip was the actually aspect of travelling alone - 3 planes, 2 trains and around 6 cars. I did all of which without breaking in to a panic attack or anything going wrong at all for that matter and to me this is a real personal achievement.

With that said the rest I learnt during my time away. I was thankful that my organisation paid off making sure I had a clear plan when I was there. Without all the research and notes before hand I really do think I would've been all over the place. I managed to be in the right place at the right time, sticking to my schedule meant I could make the most out of my time in each place. My organisation also meant that you also had content to read/watch and I didn't have to worry about a thing #winning. 

I had a go at budgeting before managing to make my maintenance loan last a term, if you are in or have been in that position you know how much it can be a stretch. That helped prepare me for my travels and I actually ended up with a lot to spare which I later splurged in Zara whoops! That doesn't take away the fact I didn't overspend in any shape or form, all plans were met too so it's not like I sacrificed anything. Tips on this coming soon...
I realised I was actually a lot more confident than I thought. A few years ago I never would've been able to spark a conversation with a stranger let alone hold it. One thing I have to thank university for is knowing how to approach social situations and some would say the gift of the gab. Before long I was chatting away asking for directions without hesitation and actually getting to know people.  It's something friends have mentioned to me before always saying they think I am the least awkward person but I never truly believed it until now. I'm not sure what it's like everywhere else, but in Italy although most speak English there are isolated places where they only speak Italian. They are also more likely to know French or German so I did occasionally have instances where people couldn't understand me. This shows how not only is communication important but body language to and working with what you've got. Have to admit my phrase book was handy in these situations. It has made me really want to learn a second language too.

Overtime I have become completely comfortable being on my own. I've always thought I was independent but this really put it to the test. I remember around this time last year I did a post called 'Me time at my place' and I vowed to make myself a priority. I never would've gone out the house and done things alone and I certainly did that. By focussing on me for near enough a year, I feel better than ever in myself and I finally understand who I am and what direction I want to go in. Who doesn't love achieving a goal? That in itself is a blessing and one I don't take for granted, especially something so important!

At the beginning of my trip my mum sneaked a card in to my case with a hot air balloon, rainbows and Bon voyage written across the front. Inside she wrote "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you know". Turns out she was right.
Shop The Look:

I'm sure there is more but this is all I can think of right now, it is honestly an experience of a lifetime. If you are thinking of doing it don't let fear hold you back, it was the best thing I've ever done.



  1. That was SUCH a cute gesture of your mum to put that card in your case with such lovely words! I did my first solo trip a year ago and haven't looked back, this year I went solo to learn Spanish in Spain, it was such a great experience! I totally agree with you that it's definitely a case of mind over matter, before you know it you're talking with locals and even if they can't understand you it's all part of the fun!

    Sinéad ♥ fabuleuse, toujours ♥

    1. Wasn't it? She is very thoughtful like that! Wow that sounds amazing, I'm very keen to learn another language now! French in particular is calling my name x


© Áine Tagon | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Crafted by pipdig