Psyching Up to Travel Solo

Solo Travel — By on September 9, 2009 at 8:00 am

By Patty Hodapp
LG Travel Lifestyle Editor

The day I told my parents that I planned to live in Europe for the summer was the same day they saw Liam Neeson’s new thriller movie, Taken. The premise is based around the kidnapping of Neeson’s teenage daughter when she’s on vacation with a friend in Paris. After his character discovers her Albanian-mobster kidnappers (who run a black market for drugs and prostitution), he goes on a Euro-rampage, racking up the bad-guy body count and coming to her rescue.

As you can imagine, my parents weren’t entirely thrilled with the idea of me trekking all over the Mediterranean alone-a 20 year old, 5 foot 2 inch, blond college girl with no itinerary, only a backpack for luggage and a tendency to talk to strangers. My dad said to me (half kidding, half VERY serious), “just remember, love, Liam Neeson’s not your daddy.”

Some people called me ballsy and some thought I was an idiot to go alone. Regardless, once my study abroad experience in Italy came to a close, I knew I wanted-no, had to travel more. I knew if I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity and max out my visa, I’d always wonder what kind of amazing experiences I might have missed.

So, I went.

I left Florence for Milan to catch a flight to Athens and backpack to three Greek Islands: Mykonos, Ios and Santorini. From there I spent a week in Barcelona and flew back to Italy. During my trip I met a hundred thousand Australians (or close to it), danced with Russell Brand, (who hosts the VMA’s) at Paradise Club in Mykonos, was stung by a jelly fish on a Greek beach, tanned topless and embraced the European nude beach lifestyle, rented an ATV, bought some maps and mountain climbed, ate way too much feta cheese, drank plenty of sangria, danced all night, every night, witnessed my big Eurostar ferry hit a sailboat, narrowly made it on time for my flight to Barcelona, spoke Spanish surprisingly well, and perhaps most importantly, I became a fearless independent with an even bigger hunger for the open road and a flexible agenda.

I would take a pretty big obstacle-or oddball travel moment-to phase me now.

If you never take a solo trip, do it. There is nothing more satisfying and freeing than carrying everything you own in a backpack, nothing more exhilarating knowing that you have no support system, and nothing more empowering that you’re in total control of your own schedule-and your own daily happiness.

Don’t overthink it (and don’t listen to parents who use Liam Neeson movies as a cautionary tale!) Grab a bag, a little cash and just…hit the road.

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To read about Patty’s Solo Travel Adventures in Greece, click here.
To read about Patty’s Solo Travel Adventures in Spain, click here.
To read Mary Tan’s Five Reasons to Travel Alone-and Love it! click here.

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    3 Comments

  • Stephanie says:

    For me the hardest part about traveling solo is convincing my mom to calm down. I don't think she's even seen Taken but it is her worst fear that I will be sold into "white slavery." The fact that I'm going to Asia is not doing much to settle her nerves.
    If anyone has any tips on pacifying the parents I'd love to hear them!

  • New Yorker in says:

    One of my favorite parts about traveling solo is that you're never alone for long! Travelers are like a built in network of friends around the world and the more you meet from different countries, the more excuses you have to hit the road again 🙂

    I'm all for talking to strangers, because how else can you turn them into friends (and parents are much more appeased by traveling with friends!)

  • Alexandra says:

    I laughed out loud at the “met hundreds of Australians” because I, too, have never met as many Australians as I did in Greece. No idea why! But that’s where they all are. Although I’m still working up the courage to travel solo, Greece was also one of the most memorable trips of my life! Loved reading your article 🙂