I disappeared like the camphor. Not just a bit, but for a long time. I am afraid of even checking the date of my last post. But I can explain. I travelled. Not once, but twice in a month.
I popped onto airplane again. This time I picked Berlin as my destination. I was craving for new experiences, for a new country and for a new tick on my bucket list. (No, I do not have cancer and I will not die). ’Do not stop me now I am having such a good time’ as the band Queen would sing, so do not stop me till I have not visited all European countries. I feel lucky. London serves as a perfect transportation hub. In an hour I can reach 4 airports from the downtown of London and if I plan forward I can book tickets on a discounted price. Do I need more? The airplane ticket into Berlin cost less than the train ticket into Bath which locates 90 miles from London. Yes. It is cheaper to fly. Moreover this time I did not have to puzzle about my accommodation. A friend of mine and her husband were kind to share their flat with me for 4 days. What can I say? I received another unforgettable memory from life. All of my travels surprised me with something good. But how and when did it start?
The calendar showed 2010 when first I travelled by myself. It was summer and I had an inner urge to go. All of my friends had different excuses. Either they did not have money for travelling or had a boyfriend, but I could not wait. Do you know the feeling when an invisible force pushes, tosses and kicks you to do something? This emotional whirlwind picked me up and captured me. And I could not resist. I did not want to resist because my sanity was at the stake. I decided not to wait for anybody and if usually I take my first baby step the cogwheels start up. This happened in July 2010 when the boyfriend of my former colleague worked in a travel agency and – ‘what a coincidence’ – he could help me with quickly organizing a travel to the Greek island, Kos. The final countdown started. I could envision the memories of elementary school when we had only 7 days left from school before the summer holiday started.
I landed on Monday on the island of Kos. On the first night I was sitting by myself in the harbor in the downtown of Kos in despair, agonizing. Behind me I heard the beats coming from the bars attracting mainly Norwegian and Swedish tourist. I felt so lonely and I had no idea what I would do during my trip. With whom I would share my experience? Who would take a photo of me? To whom I would speak? Questions! Questions! More questions and fear everywhere! Not everywhere, but at least in my head. Two options floated into my vision. Plan A: Either I sit here at the edge of crying and I survive the week or Plan B: I try to bring the best out of my trip. If you know me, you know my choice. I took a big breath and I turned into the first bar where the Greek owner introduced me to his Hungarian bartender. At the end of the night I was dancing on the counter and I felt like I was home. The week passed so quickly. I sun-bathed, rented a bike and tried different beaches, I had many walks and I discovered. Moreover I recharged my batteries, I stretched my comfort zone and I faced with a new side of me.
Why? What does a travel give? (Especially if you are brave enough to travel by yourself). You meet new people, discover new cultures, customs, aromas. A whole new experience opens up its wings. As you would add some new spices and flavors to a dish you ate so many times before. Are you ready to open up your mind for the new sensations? You can travel in a thousand ways. I had trips with classmates, former boyfriends and friends. But travelling alone requires a totally different mind-set. Can you break your habits and face with yourself? Because if you can step out from your usual frames, I promise you will encounter with a totally new side of yourself.
Maybe that is the reason most people are afraid to make the first step and escape for a long weekend or week (or maybe months) by themselves. Because the question ‘What if’ anchors them. What if I cannot share my trip with somebody, what if somebody steals my bag. Whatifwhatifwhatif? The list of excuses is endless. We are controlled by our fears. We play on the safe side. We book our 5-star hotel with a tour guide – and just not to starve for sure – with all-inclusive service. We arrive, drop our packs down and if we are ’braver’ we also take a walk around the hotel keeping in my mind that soon we have to run back into the hotel for lunch or dinner or afternoon tea because WE PAID FOR IT!! We cannot miss it. We enjoy the rest of our well-deserved holiday by the side of the pool, have a dip maybe only once in the sea, because the water is too cold or too salty or the small stones scratches our feet in the water. Can you visualize it? I am sure you meet couples or groups who would fit into the above outlined picture. But at least we can tell we travelled. We can proudly show the photos to the grudgingly nodding relatives and friends. Yes! We travelled, but we have not lived through it. We were there, but have not been part of it. We have not cracked the shell of our comfort zone. What would happen, if…?
Discover! Get lost! Breath in the vibe of a new place! Be part of it! Feel that you are part of something bigger than you can imagine. What if you do not speak Italian or Greek? (Me neither) But as you would play the board game Activity, draw it down, or show it and the people will understand you. There is nothing better than wandering around, taste the specialty of the local cuisine and with a glass of wine, beer, milk, tea (whatever you like) take a sit on a square, on a terrace of restaurant, on steps of a church or in the side of a mountain and feel the vibe and energy of the sea, the countryside or the city. Embrace that YOU ARE THERE with every breath and feel that every place has different energy to surprise you. Calling back my memories I received different experience in the charming and romantic Rome. Barcelona showed its vibrant and bit crazy side, while Berlin surprised me with her balanced and calm personality.
Which city will I visit next? I have so many plans in my head. We will see but for sure I am not afraid to travel by myself! What about you?