In 2019, I decided to embark on my first official solo trip and booked a return flight to New York. I’d never visited the US before and The Big Apple seemed like a great start.
This trip wasn’t a complete shock to my system as I’d already spent time doing activities by myself. After spending the first few months of a study year abroad in Paris, France (in 2015/2016) holed up in my flat-share, I quickly realised I was wasting an opportunity to explore – but exploring sometimes meant doing museum trips, coffees or walks alone. Although I was doing cool things, none of my experiences felt valid because I didn’t have anyone to share them with. Then in 2017, I spent time exploring Kraków, Poland before embarking on an English teaching camp. This time things weren’t so bad and I tried to embrace being able to make choices about what I wanted to do.
In general, I try to do things alone when friends aren’t available. Sometimes waiting for friends or family to confirm plans ends with nothing happening or scheduling becomes complicated. For most of us doing things alone is not something that comes naturally. It’s something I’ve had to actively learn to enjoy and it took me a few years to feel comfortable in my own company. My solo trip to New York challenged me in a way none of my experiences had before and as I reflected on it, there were a few things that stood out to me.