When I first traveled alone, my father just died.I wasn’t really thinking, I just booked a solo trip to Paris For the weekend to escape the stagnant air in my bedroom-greatly to the contempt of my boyfriend at the time.

As with all, I approached it with great care and gave an overview of all the attractions, wine bars and eateries I was planning to visit. Of course, it wasn’t about the city of light itself at that time, but rather a distraction from the monumental loss I just suffered.

I was trying to do this alone only when the train was pulled away from King’s Cross. To get rid of the worries of traveling alone, I took out the book and opened a Prosecco mini-bottle that I had purchased at M & S in advance (if it’s not elegant, there’s nothing).

Between the page and the bite, I saw the English countryside flash past me before I and my fellow passengers appeared on the other side. My phone was lit with messages from my mother and my brother, asking how the journey was going. I took a picture of the electric pylon and told them that I had already found the Eiffel Tower.

Many of the weekends passed without problems. I stayed true to my plans and explored almost every corner – so much my poor feet were in ruins. But then, as I walked past the Shakespeare and Company bookstore on the Seine, it began to rain (as is often the case in Paris). I put on a cover and saw the merchants working with tarpaulins to cover their products.

When the rain stopped, I continued my walk towards the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. I was looking for the tombs of Albert Camus and Oscar Wild. I have an eerie interest in burial grounds, but I never thought that my desire to see this place was motivated by something else.

As it began to rain again, I climbed a steep hill. And I decided not to get in the way of the weather. After hours of walking around the mausoleum and graveyard, I sat down on a soaked wooden bench overlooking the sea of ​​graves. Before I understood what was going on, I went forward and screamed. So I knew why I came.

The years after my father died were turbulent. I suffered from my sadness, my pain, my depression. The relationship got worse and I retreated to myself – I thought it was easier to cut myself off than to trust others.

So when my next solo trip was imminent, it didn’t seem to me that no one would care about my absence. I quit my job, packed an expensive storage unit, and left for the United States for two months.

Just before I left, an old friend I hadn’t talked to for a while slowly returned to my life. There was no doubt about me leaving, but the irony of timing wasn’t lost to me. Her mother asked if I was safe and why she didn’t want to share her experience with others. And many people in my life had the same view.

“But why go alone? Don’t you want to go with someone? Are you okay alone? What if something bad happens and you’re there alone? Oh, You are so brave to do that – I could never do it! “

I wanted to tell them that I was alone here for a long time and depended only on myself. But instead I swallowed my words and evaded their concerns. I was going, and that was it.

Well, I won’t bore you about the details of my journey around the United States, it’s not important here. However, it can be said that it has regained a sense of independence and purpose for me. Thanks to the people I met along the way, I realized that I had something worthy of love, kindness, and worship, despite having told myself for years. I realized that my self-loathing must be there and began to peel off. something If so many people are in touch and want to meet again at various points on my journey, I like it.

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When I returned to England, it was just before the pandemic happened. I felt hopeful and had tools to help me fight the dark thoughts and emotions that often permeate my daily life. I felt reconciled with the past, reaching out to my old friends and committing to my future.

After two years of blockade, my recent vacation Italy, To celebrate my 30th birthday. To be honest, I can’t really say I was alone because my best friend and partner gate-crashed the beginning and end of the journey, but it was still for myself.

Again, before I left, I heard, “Oh, you’re very brave to travel alone.” Again, I decided to ignore it.

There was something different this time. I wasn’t desperately running away anymore, I was celebrating and rewarding myself. I seized every opportunity – I ate my weight with food. I went to the opera. I hijacked the guy’s set and sang with him in front of a bar full of people. I learned how to make pasta.

to me, Traveling alone It has nothing to do with courage. In fact, I have to be much brave in normal life. I have to get a look, I have to partition my inner conflicts and put them aside so that I can survive. But when I’m absent, I’m the best possible version of myself – shining positively when I thrive on the unknown and force me to take on these adventures. I learned that I have more ability than I imagined.

At this moment I remember what it is to feel free and feel pure and unrestricted happiness. I’m not brave, I’m alive.