Here in the States we just celebrated Thanksgiving. Though I am thankful for my family to come home to, I am thankful for the solo trip I just finished. It was my frst time exploring Europe, first time traveling alone, first time in hostels – and I have honestly learned so much about myself. I honestly feel like I have come home a different person and my thirst for adventure time has grown even stronger.
Here are three key skills that pushed my travels to the limit…
Social prowess – you are as social as you want or need to be. Have nothing planned and want to hang out with someone? Sign up for the hostel dinner + pub crawl. Ask your roommate to dinner in the city, even if they speak Spanish and very little English (pushed me to practice Spanish). I have met so many awesome people on my trip and they have made the experience that much better. But then there were days when I would just want to lay in bed all day and not do anything or talk to anyone. I was able to go at my own speed and socialize whenever I wanted to.
A keen sense of direction – I picked this up very easily. I took the Metro everywhere and was running through the city like a boss. Once I got to a new destination, the first thing I would do is walk around the hostel to ensure I was familiar with the area.
The ability to adapt to change and uncomfortable situations – this was a bit challenging, but being a project manager, it is something I deal with everyday. On my first day in France, I was hungry and jetlagged. I landed and went to exchange for euros but no one was at the desk. I instead decided to go find some food and just pay with credit card. I ended up wanting to pay one euro with a credit card and basically was cussed out in French. Instead of walking away defeated, I insisted they add coffee and a sandwich to my bill so I could pay with card. I got to enjoy a late lunch and mitigated the situation.
I honestly recommend everyone to travel solo once in their life. It is such an amazing experience in which you not only learn of another culture, but you learn so much of yourself.