To do, or not to do?
I LOVE solo traveling. My first trip solo was to France, and the first two weeks, if you can believe it, I went straight back to my hotel at sunset. Yes- I was staying in hotels!! And I was fearful roaming about by myself at night.
I know, I flew all the way to Europe and couldn’t bring myself to fully enjoy it. The power of feel is incredible to be under, how it can consume you. Paranoia and anxiety kept me inside watching French movies and game shows, for two weeks!
Thankfully, opportunity and timing came together and I had no choice but to stay in a hostel. While visiting the south of France, in Antibe, I stayed in a hotel that was at the higher end of my budget. I knew I didn’t want to stay there another night, and I also felt awkward in a fancy hotel filled with retirees and my huge backpack. I gathered my courage and booked the only hostel in the town for the next night.
This was the first time I would be staying at a hostel so in honor of celebrating “firsts”, I went out that night to dinner and drinks, all by my lonesome. The Reve Plage restaurant called me in after my walk from the hotel to the mediterranean coast, about 15 minutes. This turned out to be my favorite meal during my entire time in France. It could’ve been my toes twirling in the sand while I ate, the palatable creme brulee, or the true appreciation for solidarity, but it was all perfect.
I wasn’t uncomfortable because I had already been eating alone, but not at night, in public, surrounded by couples and groups. I can’t tell you how happy I was with me, myself, and I. After the delectable dinner, I walked along the beach, taking in other humans enjoying their moments in time.
Falling upon the busy section of town, I grabbed a drink in a loud, vibrant bar filled with dancing people. I ordered an overpriced fruity drink with a parrot in it and people-watched galore.
It was magnificent. Normally I’m the one dancing, laughing, and drinking with friends. It was different to watch others do it. Though, it brought such thankful feelings; knowing how they felt, because I’ve been blessed with friends and love, too.
After my drink, I walked back to my hotel, still looking over my shoulder from time to time until I entered my hotel. I laid my head to rest that night, proud of another milestone reached.
I’ll always be paranoid though, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I like having my guard up when I don’t have someone there to have my back. It makes me feel more comfortable and confident within myself. Of course, I always use caution. One shouldn’t go to a place where you know you should not be in alone, regardless of gender.
It’s scary going to a new place all alone, as much as it is exhilarating. I used to feel so so petrified, but I was so proud of myself that night. And since then, it’s been easier, bit by bit, to explore the world, one solitary moon at a time.
What are your thoughts on exploring at night? I’d love to know what you think!