This is where I share my own experiences from travels, including stories of the most inspiring people I have met.
Many believe we do not connect with ourselves until we venture off on solo travel. I am one of them. And that is mainly because I am one of those who are easily roped into the daily grind. Type A, overachiever, lost among the trees and not seeing the forest. (Some of you know how that goes). It is not until you break away from the chaos of work and life itself, do you get a whole new sense of living in a different realm. Each solo trip I have taken has been a stepping stone to growth and the unveiling my own identity: who I really am, not the impression others have of me.
My first solo experience was just one full day and night in Melbourne, Australia, December 2014. I booked a hotel room for the last night in the city after spending one week with my cousins. The next day I was flying out to visit the rest of my family in Sydney. I tried to make the most of that one day and had a few moments of anxiety, rushing to whatever venue or iconic place I circled on a map.
Fast forward past two trips to Europe and two to Bali Indonesia. I developed a pattern of getting any travel anxiety out of my system the first full day in a new city or region. I typically book one appointment, or tour ticket for example and work my day around that. Or I book nothing. And I just aimlessly wander on Day One, getting the lay of the land. I made a breakthrough in Berlin recently since that city was just too magnificently overwhelming. I stopped feeling like I wasted time wandering after Berlin.
Last year, I committed to a 7-week journey through Europe during the holidays and it was centered around my decision to visit the city in which I was born, Hamburg, Germany. I left Hamburg when I was 7 months old but for my 50th birthday I felt drawn to reconnect with my parents’ past and find out where I lived, where I was baptized etc. They were already deceased, so except for a copy of my birth certificate, I had little to no information. Just a blind shot in the dark.
I hope you follow this blog and read the upcoming articles about my ventures through twelve cities in eight European countries in seven weeks. Even I look back and think I was a little crazy to try that. But I did it without a scratch and without losing my mind or myself. The challenges of the cold weather and transit confusions were completely trumped by the warm hospitality of my friends and family there. And I can never forget the wonderful locals and new friends I made along the way.
Over time, it has gotten easier to see the forest and not get lost among the trees. The biggest fulfillment of travel never comes from the itinerary. It is often the unplanned journeys between events that trigger your self-discoveries.