Confessions of a Solo Woman Traveller

When I told my family and friends that I was going on a trip on my own, a short pause of silence always followed my statement. They would look at me with a mixture of suspicion and alarm. ‘Like, completely on your own?’, they would ask.

To put this in context (as translators and linguists often feel the need to do), I come from a culture where mundane instances of everyday life are often turned into opportunities for socialising and doing things on your own is usually looked down at as some sign that your social life (or mental health) is suffering. Didn’t I have a friend that would like to go with me? If I couldn’t find company why was I going in the first place?

Truth is sometimes the stars (along with friends’ schedules and budgets) do not align and one is faced with the following life-or-death question: How badly did you want to visit Copenhagen?

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

A lot. After my MA year, a year that I spent learning intensively but also yearning for more trips and adventure, I wanted to explore new places and did not mind the idea of doing so on my own. I consider myself to be very comfortable at deliberately spending time alone; no matter how much I love being surrounded by people, me-time always helps me ‘recharge’ my inner batteries.

Sometimes it is also more efficient to do things on your own. Even though I adore travelling with my family and my travel buddies have a special place in my heart, travelling solo meant doing. Absolutely. Everything. I. Wanted. Whenever. I. Felt. Like. It. No more having to talk people into jumping on a train to visit a small  – but renowned – art museum in the middle of nowhere (stay tuned for more on this). No more feeling guilty when reading the map wrong and getting lost. No more complaining about achy feet, traditional local food being weird or too much time spent inside of stores. Solo travelling is the definition of doing what you want, whenever you want.

confessions-of-a-solo-woman-traveler

Having escalated from having coffee and going to the theatre on my own, solo travelling felt like the perfect next step to my path of independent thinking and acting.

Did it feel lonely? To be honest, it felt lonely only once. I was sitting at the cafe of the Louisiana Modern Art Museum in Humlebæk, sipping on scalding hot coffee whilst staring at blurred line between the grey sky and the stormy sea, when I realised that I really missed having my mom around at that moment. Weird? I love visiting art exhibitions with her since we usually sit down and discuss them afterwards, and I felt like she would have lots of interesting remarks regarding the modern art I had just seen.

Did it feel scary? I got cold feet 20 minutes before boarding on my flight from London to Copenhagen and wondered whether it was too late to turn around and stride back to the bus that would take me home. Glad I never did. I guess it depends on what scares you: As my best friend put it, I am the kind of gal who’s not afraid to go on a trip completely on my own, which is not an inconsiderable feat, but might shy away from a casual drinks date on an innocent Tuesday night. Similarly to feeling lonely, I felt scared only once: On my penultimate day in Copenhagen I felt the sudden impulse to climb up the stairs of the Church of Our Saviour. The last 150 steps are part of an external winding staircase that is definitely not for the faint-hearted! Long story short, I never made it to the top but enjoyed the view nevertheless (whilst contemplating how often Denmark is stricken by earthquakes and breathing really slowly).

confessions-of-a-solo-woman-traveler

However, at this point I would like to raise the issue of safety. When travelling on your own, especially if you are a solo woman traveller, means safety comes first. I cannot underline enough how important it is that you always remain aware of your surroundings and that you need ‘invest’ in safety, e.g. taking the bus instead of walking home and looking for accommodation in a quiet, safe neighbourhood even if it is more expensive. If you know that you will be using public transport a lot, pick a hotel/hostel/Airbnb that is located on a central road (no Knockturn Alleys please!) and as close as possible to the bus/train station that you will be using. Keep your ears and eyes open – no staring at your smartphone and no headphones. I would also recommend avoiding (excessive) alcohol consumption. I didn’t drink at all during my stay in Copenhagen as I am mainly a social drinker, only drinking when with friends or family, but if you feel like having drinks, e.g. you shouldn’t leave Prague without savouring local beer, try to remain as sober as possible.

Overall, my first solo travelling experience was definitely a positive step in a new, uncharted territory and something that I would heartily recommend to all fellow flaneurs. Sometimes spending an extended amount of time on your own company (chatting up locals, waitresses, Airbnb hosts and asking for directions do not count) is a good way to slow down, distance yourself from everything that is going on in your life – not necessarily bad, sometimes you need time and space to appreciate the good things too, contemplate and, if you are tormented by such inclinations, put your thoughts into paper. The biggest revelation in some instance might be the person to whom you’d like to tell first all about these solo adventures. You can let them join the next ones but only if you want to.

Have you ever travelled alone? If yes, what do you think of it? If not, would you like to do so and where to?

Wanderlusting (as always),

F.

confessions-of-a-solo-woman-traveler

Share Button

Book Review: The Royal We

book-review-the-royal-we

Author: Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Summary:

Sporty, carefree American college exchange Rebecca, aka Bex, lands in Oxford, UK, living across the hall from the royal heir, aka Nick. Even though they start out as pals, they cannot help falling in love with each other (surprise, surprise) whilst bonding over trashy TV and Twinkies,  but decide to keep their romance a secret from the royal family and the hungry – almost carnivore – public eye.  Continue Reading

Share Button

The Translated Files: The Starfish Position

With this post I would like to introduce a new ‘column’ in this blog!

Every now and then I come across an article that resonates with me or prompts me to think but is written in Greek. So I decided to do what I do best, thinking about food  translating in order to make it accessible to more, non-Greek speaking people, channeling one of my initial motivations for creating this blog about 1,000,000 years ago:

Sharing all the good stuff I discover with others. Because sharing is caring. (And there’s always more to talk about afterwards.)

This translated abstract originates from the Greek Cosmopolitan’s column Sex and The Single Girl, which was originally penned by Alexandra K. and published in the September 2016 issue.

 kate-flaneur-translated-article-being-single

Continue Reading

Share Button

The Athens Diaries

Despite an ongoing, torrid love affair with Manchester and flirting with the idea of moving to either Berlin, Brussels or Barcelona (the alliteration is purely coincidental), Athens has always been and will continue to be my one and only true love.

athens-baby

Continue Reading

Share Button

A Sunday Afternoon in Chorlton

chorlton-manchester-flaneur

What should one do on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Manchester? When you’ve almost completed a PhD on the independent coffee shops and brunch spots of the Northern Quarter you know it’s time for a change of scenery.

My fabulous French Instagram wife C. had already suggested about a million times that she shows me around Chorlton, a neat suburban area of Manchester which she adores, so that’s where we went.

Continue Reading

Share Button

10 Types of Guys You’ll Find On Tinder

I have a love-hate relationship with online lists. Every now and then a promising (and from a SEO perspective carefully crafted) title pops up in my blog- or newsfeed: 10 Ways to Boost Your Creativity Over Summer, 9 Books That Will Inspire You to Do Great Things, The 10 Best Independent Coffee Shops in Southern Wales, 7 Genius Hancks for Booking Cheap Last Minute Wedding Dates (wait, that was actually a movie. The article I read was about booking airplane tickets, I think.), 12 Awkward Things that Happen When You Have Sex with a New Partner (only 12?), 6 Things Scandal Tought Us About #LeaningIn in the Workplace and Feminism, 25+ Ways to Fool Eligible Bachelors into Thinking That You Can Actually Cook, and so on.

10-types-of-guys-youll-find-on-tinder2 Continue Reading

Share Button

Instagram: Wanna Be Real-Life Friends?

Are you on Instagram? No? You should be. Yes? Then you’re probably more likely to understand what I will talk about.

flaneur-instagram-friends

Continue Reading

Share Button

Jane Austen: Modern Relationship Advice 101*

I’m currently reading Jane Austen’s Emma and yesterday I stumbled upon the following excerpt:

flaneur-jane-austen-modern-relationship-advice

Continue Reading

Share Button

The Carbonara Effect

“I heard about your carbonara trick, with the egg and everything”, he says with a conspiratorial smile that swiftly spreads across his face, “S. tried it last night and told me that it worked”.

Carbs? Trick? Works? I instantly decide that I need to know more, even though I can only stipulate what they are talking about and it’s not nutrition advice.

flaneur-the-carbonara-effect Continue Reading

Share Button

3 Things I Learned From My Brother

One of my favorite Earthlings is my brother, who is mentioned – or photographed – very rarely in this blog. Picture my brother, Dimitris, as a taller, smarter, wiser and – ironically – 4,5 years younger version of me.

3 Things I Learned From My Brother

No, I’m taking this last sentence back. My brother and I are not versions of each other. On the contrary, we have very different characters, which gives me the opportunity to constantly learn and draw inspiration from him.

Every day I spend around him is a valuable lesson, but I tried to pick out only three of the things that I’ve learned from by brother:

Continue Reading

Share Button