I finally did it! I went on my first solo trip. I went to another country alone, although I cheated a bit and went to somewhere I have been before it is Paris but I wanted to experience it alone. I had been there three times before, with family and friends but going alone had a whole different feel to it.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin
At first, I was quite nervous and even though I was hungry, I couldn’t eat. But that soon changed when I started exploring. I was staying in Le Marais, which were full of all kinds of shops and boutique places. I grabbed my bag, put on my perfume (Miss Dior) and headed out I walked all the way to Notre Dame cathedral and I was met with guards with big guns casually standing outside. I went inside and walked around, taking pictures. It was beautiful and I felt so calm and peaceful in there.
I then explored a bit or ‘flaneur’ before going in to the Shakespeare and Co. That became my new favourite place. Spent quite a lot of time on the upstairs reading books and poetry. There were also a board full of notes by strangers that has came there which was sweet. I went to a cafe in St Germain for dinner; this was my first time eating alone and it was quite introspective. I ate and got a lot of writing done before going towards the latin quarter and somewhat getting lost and ending up at the ‘Paris eye’.
Next day, I decided to explore the north – went to near Bastille, areas surrounding that. Near the canal. I then went back to Le Marais and had the most amazing Spaghetti Bolognese.
‘When you’re traveling with someone else, you share each discovery, but when you are alone, you have to carry each experience with you like a secret, something you have to write on your heart, because there’s no other way to preserve it.” – Shauna Niequist
Tips for going on your first solo trip
- Learn few words of their language – It is polite and for just in case moments. I always made sure to begin all my conversations in French when entering shops/cafes and I found the French people to be so friendly with me.
- Plan a little – Don’t plan everything, but have an idea what you want to do, the transport links, have a map on your phone. I usually look at a map and roughly can navigate. I kind of know the map of Paris and I am familiarising myself with the whole arrondissement thing.
- Book – Always have a book with you. I took a small book and notebook. Read on the way there and back. Wrote a lot of things, when I had the chance. Kept a little journal of my trip.
- Firm no – Be firm and say no to any unwanted advances or attention. I didn’t have any bad experiences, I did have people approaching me but they were all polite and friendly, so no harm there.
- Be open to new things – Go to new places, try something new and talk to new people. Try a food, you’ve never tried before. I spoke to new people and learned something new, I enjoyed that.
- Enjoy your surroundings – Take a moment, look around and appreciate all thats on offer. Take lots of pictures but learn when to put your phone/camera away. Just walk around and ‘flaneur’ in a new setting, you’ll feel great.
- Trust your gut feeling – Do what you want, what feels right and if something doesn’t feel right then trust that.
Most of all have fun
I had a great time alone, I would do it again and I would be probably less nervous next time since I have already done it once now. I think the whole feeling of freedom is amazing. Being able to do what you want, go where you want and eat what you want is freedom. Being in a new place where you don’t know anyone is open to all kinds of possibilities.
Paris still remains as my favourite city. I also decided to soon explore France; I’d like to go to Biarritz, Nice and Bordeaux.
Have you been to another country alone?
Where did you go recently?
Whats your favourite city?