So, I’ve finally crossed solo travel off my bucket list! Truly, when you want something bad enough, the entire universe conspires to make it happen for you. Kind of. You do have to jump at the opportunity yourself.
This isn’t the first time I’ve traveled alone since I’ve done so a couple of times for work, especially in the past two years. But this was my first time, going on a vacation alone. It was truly a relaxing and fun vacation for me.
Since it was my first solo trip, I was looking to go somewhere safe (it was between Switzerland and New Zealand) and Switzerland seemed like the best choice! Print screen from my iPhoto places.
What I didn’t quite like about solo travel:
– No one to share food with!
Since I’ve a relatively small appetite, its all I could do to finish off a main course. No appetizers and no desserts. Or no mains, just desserts (HA). Especially in Switzerland where it is literally impossible to finish off half a french loaf and 5 baked potatoes which came with a cheese fondue for one!
Swiss fondue for one at Bussalp Restaurant (potatoes not photographed). The owner gave me a weird look when I ordered it while this lovely old couple sitting beside me kept staring at me while I ate too. Do people not eat cheese fondue alone?
– No one to share my excitement with.
I had the most amazing experience walking around St Moritz randomly. Saw this huge flat piece of snow covered land which I assumed was a park since there were quite a few people taking slow walks with their dogs. While walking on it, I decided to check out Lake St Moritz since i recalled it being somewhere close by. It was there and then, when Google Maps informed me that I was walking ON the lake (apparently frozen and covered in snow). Of course, I instinctively wanted to run (as lightly as possible) back to the ground but after I got over that, I felt super excited but had no one to share my excitement with. Thank god for Steve, iMessage, Whatsapp and 4G. Hahahaha.
– Accommodation gets a little pricey if you’re not open to hostels or single rooms with a shared bathroom (which I’m not). I haven’t had any experience staying in hostels and I wasn’t keen to experience that alone.
– Safety. To be honest, I’m not sure how much the safety factor increases when you travel with a partner. But psychologically, I do feel safer with someone beside me.
What I loved about it!
– Complete and utter freedom! You and you alone, call the shots! No matter how accommodating your travel partner (LF is totally accommodating), nothing compares to the freedom from traveling alone. There are days when I have absolutely nothing planned, I wake up, check the weather of a couple of places, check the routes and depending on train schedule, sometimes jump out of bed and make a mad rush for the train. Random walks, abrupt change of plans and decisions to skip “places of interest”.
I made a (regretful) decision to walk 2 hours (according to wiki travel) through Unterseen to Neuhaus to check out a lake when I should have gotten a bike but it was my decision and I didn’t have to worry that someone else was suffering because of my decision. Although, the start of the walk was rather enjoyable.
– You tend to be more observant to your surroundings rather than walking around blindly while chattering on with your travel partner. I love observing people on the streets, their facial expressions and gestures while wondering (and making up my own version) about their lives. Plus, I get to practice my (non existent) french by listening to the conversations around me.
– After being alone for a while, you tend to be slightly more sociable no matter how socially awkward you are. This is a huge step out for me. I absolutely love (no matter how awkward I feel) learning about the lives of others and how starkly different our ways, culture and thinking are! Without someone by your side, your focus is entirely on the person you’ve just met, listening to their experience and asking questions. So much to learn from!
Train buddies (from London) who made the ride on the Glacier Express more enjoyable with their ton of snacks!
I have also encountered plenty of super nice people who would offer to take photos of me when I’m randomly taking photos of the place. There was an old lady to so kindly offered to take a shot of me and ended up taking 114 photos (in burst mode) all at once. Too many choices! Hurhur.
I do feel quite accomplished after this trip. It was a good start and a safe first solo trip. I do think I could have done more, be more adventurous, talk to more people and what not, but all in all, it was great!
To be honest, I don’t actually have a preference for solo travel but I guess I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again if I had to (especially if it was just too troublesome to coordinate everyone’s schedule).
In conclusion, I DID IT (I did take a selfie with Frosty!)! *Pats self on shoulder*