My first ever solo trip dates back to March 2015, I’ve been to another 5 trips after that one ( 6 as I’m writing while waiting for a flight to Istanbul then Tunis), which may explain why I didn’t find time to write about it along with the fact I’m a lazy blogger (I’m so lazy that it’s been a month now since I started writing this post but yet it’s not ready and my 7th trip of the year is booked! Yay! ).
By solo trip, I don’t mean flying by myself. I do that most of the time to meet family/friends etc when reaching my destination.
This time, I was going to a country where I know NO one ( which is unusual) with the intention of spending time with myself only and my inner goddess.
I bet you want to know where I went, right? I thought so.
Well, I went to Italia.
Ehem…Eat, Pray, Love
I watched Eat, Pray, Love, the movie, at least 3 times and I love it then I read the book and I love it even more.
The whole idea of woman travelling by her own has to happen to me at some point because I want to do it and because every ‘Before you die’ bucket list contains the ‘travel solo’ item.
Being in my late twenties, the timing felt so right to take myself on a trip.
So why Italy not India?
Hello! Liz went to Italy for the food, that’s enough motivation for me (not that I can afford Bali or India at the moment).
I also like the Italian language, the Italian Football team ( squadra azzura), Italian coffee…All the signs were there.
That’s how I decided beginning of 2015 that I would go on my first solo trip ever, that I would go to Italy and that I would learn Italian prior to my trip.
I managed to learn enough Italian to order my food and coffee.
Scuse signora, un cappuccino per favore
I planned the trip for end of March when the weather is usually nice there. And since this was going to be an adventure, I decided to make it even more thrilling by taking a train trip from Rome to Venice and visit both cities.
For most people, it takes a lot of bravery for women to travel solo, some even think it’s not a good idea because the world is not safe for poor creatures women.
When you decide to solo travel to Rome, it’s a double whammy. This is basically how most people reacted when they knew about my plans: “Ohhh Rome! It’s a dodgy city, be careful of pickpocketing” Thanks guys…
Even when looking online for what to see/do, there was a mention to pickpocketing.
So the first obvious thing to do was to make sure I’m staying somewhere safe, central and near most of the attractions as I like walking to explore new cities and also to avoid the metro and bus, where most of the pickpocketing happens(I only took the metro once to go to the Vatican).
The second obvious thing to do was to pack practical clothes, well I didn’t. Seriously! YOU DO NOT WANT TO LOOK UNFASHIONABLE IN ITALY!
Anyway, I was all ready for my trip but then I had a minor panic attack 2 days before D-Day. I basically started whispering to myself what everyone else said and what a bad idea this was. Luckily for me, it was too late to change my plans. And I took that flight to Rome.
My first half day in Rome was all about the nerves. I was staying near Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore , not far from the train station. It was a very crowded touristy area.
Walking from the station to my hostel, I was trying to put a confidence, bravery look on my face while looking for pick-pocketers in the crowd (just to be safe).
But you know what, I didn’t meet any pick-pocketers during my whole stay in Italy! Not near the Trevi fountain, not on the metro to the Vatican and not in San Marco piazza.
It doesn’t mean they were not there. Let’s just say that I was careful, maybe lucky.
Rome is not different from any other city in the world, it’s lovely, worth a visit but with some neighbourhoods to avoid. Do not let prejudices and fears hold you back from seeing the world, just be careful and smart and remember that you are not alone.
Solo tripping is such a common thing now. You will meet plenty of people like you from around the world, you’ll buddy up and end up literally in a trip with friends.
Even the moments you spend by yourself, make good use of them. Enjoy the scenery, the architecture and the history of the place. One of the highlights of my trip was my visit to the Jewish ghetto in Rome alone like a big girl trying to read the history of the neighbourhood on its walls and strolling the streets of Venice looking for its hidden gems. Finding the Scala Contarini del Bovolo after being lost one million time and Libreria Acqua Alta, brought me great joy.
There is a lot to see and do in Italy, there is a lot to taste too but I’m not going to cover all the details here. I just want to share my experience as a first time solo traveller. I want readers, especially women, to know that we all have our fears but those fears should not stop us.
Solo travelling is a unique experience, it’s an adventure worth trying.
the traveller inside me