Most of us dream about traveling around the world, but few actually manage to fulfill that dream. I remember looking at a world atlas when I was a kid promising myself that one day, I will visit every country on the planet. As naive as I was, the dream never faded.
One of my biggest regrets was always waiting for others, whether it’s friends or family, to join me on my trips. But 5 years ago, I decided to take matters in my own hands and travel alone. So far, I’ve visited 30 countries, out of which 16 I was all alone.
As a part-time traveler, I can’t travel for long periods of time or more than 2-3 times a year. So whenever I travel, I try to visit as much as I can, no matter the obstacles.
I dream that one day I can become a full-time traveler and be able to travel the world in my small caravan, and watch the sunset from a different location every day.
Traveling is not the same as vacation
Meriam Webster dictionary defines travel as a journey, especially to a distant or unfamiliar place. In my point of view, traveling is a mindset. While you don’t have to travel a thousand miles to be traveling, you need to keep an open mind and open heart to take in all the things that the destinations have to offer.
Whether you’re not adventurous with food (like me), introverted and you don’t like meeting new people (like me), outgoing and make tons of friends and can’t stop trying new local dishes, have 2 weeks to see everything, or can spend months in a new location, traveling is for everyone.
I’m not here to tell you how to travel or what you should do or don’t, but I’ll do my best to inspire you to visit new destinations and give you the tips you need to avoid the mistakes I’ve done and will keep doing in the future.
How did I start traveling?
I was 3 years old when my mom took me on my first trip abroad – Romania to visit my grandparents. People said traveling was fun, but I didn’t see the fun in standing long lines to wait for someone to stamp a little book and having someone inspect me while I walk alone through a little gate that keeps beeping. I felt so out of place until we passed the duty-free store and saw candy, which luckily mom agreed to buy me some. Holding my candy bag made me less anxious while seeing people rushing in the terminal, and seeing the big planes for the very first time.
The plane took off, and I still wondered where is the fun in traveling? I ran out of candy and had nothing to do for the next 3 hours. I was feeling sad until I saw the flight attendant coming to us with a cart filled with food and drinks, I took a bite and suddenly it all made sense, airplane food hugged my soul and took all my worries away, I fell in love with it. It ignited a new passion, and a new dream was born, a dream to wander around the world just to eat airplane food.
As I grew older I added more igniters to my dream: I was intrigued to visit the countries of people I met and see for myself what their beautifully described hometowns. I wanted to watch the sunset on the sea, city, and mountains. I wanted to get cozy and drink a cup of hot cocoa while watching the snowflakes cover the trees. I wanted to ride a train to gaze green landscapes for hours. I wanted to visit every Christmas market and be a kid again.
My first solo trip
After I was fed up with my friend’s ever-changing plans, I decided to take matters in my own hands and book a flight to London. London was not particularly on the top of my bucket list, but it felt like the right choice.
I was in Spain for two weeks before going to London, so obviously as an over-packer, I had 2 huge bags behind me. Getting to the hotel via public transport was a real adventure. I spent 5 days roaming around the city, ticking every landmark on my list one by one.
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world.”
– Freya Stark
The most challenging part about solo traveling is accepting the fact that you’ll have to ask strangers to take your photo, which will mostly be horrible. Selfie sticks should be your ultimate friend!
What’s in it for you?
In addition to introducing you to new and cool destinations, I promise that I will not try to glorify travel or make it sound like rainbows and butterflies. Traveling is hard and part-time traveling is even harder. I don’t normally use budget flights or sleep in hostels, which is a choice I’m making because I love my comfort, but it doesn’t mean that I’m a luxury traveler as well. So if you’re looking for tips to enjoy your trip on a medium budget, you’ve come to the right place.