I’ve traveled solo numerous times. Typically, those were business trips in which I was in and out of the city so quickly that I didn’t have time for anything except the business I was there to conduct. I had never really considered going on a vacation by myself. I don’t know why. However, when a suggestion was made that I visit Sweden versus sitting up in the house in Saudi Arabia alone for the next three weeks while my husband Roland was out of town, I let it swirl around for a minute. Then, the next thing I know I was booking a flight to Stockholm and looking for an apartment that was available for 10 days, starting the following day. Argh!!! I couldn’t believe I was doing it. It was exciting.
I arrived in Stockholm without any problems, took the express train into town and got settled in the apartment. Then all of a sudden, I felt out of my comfort zone. I didn’t understand why, since I had been to Stockholm numerous times, and at one point had actually lived there. However, I wasn’t deterred. I put on something cute and my comfortable, ugly-ass sandals and hit the streets. However, I had forgotten that on Sundays most stores are closed and the ones that are open, close early. So, when I found an open grocery store, I stocked up on the essentials I’d need for the week, and went back to the apartment to make a plan for the next day.
See…that’s the secret. You have to have a plan. Know what you want to see. Even if you just want to meander around, know where you want to go. This will give you a sense of purpose. So every day, I made a plan to do something. I visited every site I wanted, without compromise. I left the apartment when I wanted. I came back when I wanted. I toured subway stations, I visited their world heritage site, and it was all on my terms. It was awesome.
Another trick I did was to not view it as a foreign city. I viewed it as if I were just hanging out, like I’d do at home. And, that’s really how we do it. Most people run their errands around the city they live in, alone, without giving it a second thought.
So, what did I learn about myself during this vacation? I learned that I stayed in the background a lot when it came to interacting with the locals; if I were unsure, I’d push Roland out front to take care of it. In “real life” I’m not this person. I’m outgoing and not afraid of people. However, I didn’t realize that I actually became shy and somewhat timid when I traveled. I love that I discovered that, so I could change it. Now, I don’t do that anymore
Even though I prefer to have a partner-in-crime, I’d absolutely do a solo trip again. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, that what started out as a 10 day vacation turned into a 2 week getaway.