I’m in Melbourne currently. Over mid semester, I saw Brisbane, Gold Coast, Noosa, and Byron Bay, and the trip was maybe the most fun I’ve had on study abroad so far. At the very beginning of the semester, I took a trip along the Great Ocean Road, and that was also such a memorable time. These experiences lead me to wonder: where to next?
I have some time off in my exam month, and considering different places that I could visit. I would love to go to New Zealand, Tasmania, and still haven’t been to Sydney yet. However, as the semester wraps up, it seems like everyone has their own different travel plans, and another group trip does not appear to be likely. I might have to go solo this time.
I’ve never travelled anywhere alone before: I’ve travelled in a group, or had people waiting for me at the destination. I toyed with the idea when I studied in Spain, but it didn’t really pan out. The idea is kind of daunting because of both the dangers of traveling alone as a girl, and the feelings of loneliness it might inspire. Once in Barcelona, I was with a group of people who wanted to go to the beach, while I, ever the art history nerd, wanted to see Parque Guell. We went our separate ways, and while I do not regret going on my own to see what ended up being the highlight of my Barcelona trip, I do remember feeling a bit isolated while I was there. It felt like everyone else around me had someone to take selfies with, while I wandered around alone, with no one to share the amazing sculptures and sights with. In the end, the group I was traveling with decided they wanted to see Parque Guell as well, and sprinting up the steps to go to the park before it closed is something I remember fondly today.
I don’t want that feeling to put a damper on my trip to a city, however, and I don’t want my impression of the city to be tinted with the fact that I was alone when I was there. Many travel blogs, on the other hand, claim that traveling alone is an incredibly fulfilling experience, that really shows you the meaning of independence. Some even go so far as to call it “liberating.” It makes sense; some of my most treasured time is the time that I spent alone, walking around a city and getting to know it for myself, without feeling distracted by other people.
My travel plans are so uncertain right now, but I haven’t ruled out the option of traveling by myself around Oceania. I’ll take the proper precautions, and check in with people periodically so that my friends and family know where I am; it seems silly to miss out on going to a new place just because other people aren’t going there.