I’ve spent months since October (and years since before then) thinking about my travels. I finally bucked up the courage around 6 months ago to book my first ever solo tour around Europe. I didn’t always know that Europe would be my first big trip – I always imagined road tripping across the States – but now that I know it, I am beyond excited to go.
So now that I’m down to just 30 days on the calendar, it’s got me thinking a whole lot more about everything I’m expecting/anticipating/hoping for and I want to share it. I’ve expressed before that I aim to share everything about this trip – all of its highs and lows – on my blog in a very real and honest way. So sharing my pre-travel thoughts is just the start of my experience but equally as important (plus this gives me an excuse to maybe write an incredibly cliché ‘before and after’ post when I return home – and when I say maybe, I mean I most definitely will be writing one of those posts!)
So here are 10 things I’m thinking about right now…
Life on the road.
The majority of my travel will take place on buses, coaches and mainly trains. The prospect of this does actually excite me because all I can do now is imagine the journeys I’ll take and the beautiful views that I’ll be able to see from my window. So much closer and in touch with your surroundings than on an aeroplane 30,000ft in the air. I’ll even be taking a few sleeper trains which I’m sure will be an entirely new experience in itself. Will I like sleeping on a bumpy train? I’ll soon find out.
The hostel scene.
Sharing a room with one or at least 3 other people who are complete strangers is indeed strange when I think about it. In my mind, I’m trying to tell myself that after the first couple nights I’ll be totally accustomed to it but could it really be that easy? I’m a girl who is used to her home comforts but I’m aware I need to let them go a little so although the thought of hostels scares me, it equally excites me.
I am what you might call a ‘fussy eater’, I can be very picky, sometimes quite suspicious but I have these magical moments where I am completely open to trying new things! As long as it doesn’t include tomatoes, mouldy cheese, weird meats, olives or fish and probably about a million other things! But I really am determined to try a lot more in each place I go on my trip and return to England a much less fussy eater.
So, I’m at least expecting the Contiki-Greek-Islands-sailing part of my tour to be filled with booze. Why? Because I’ve read pretty much every Contiki review on Greek Islands sailing trips and the infamous, crazy nights out (and the mornings after), and of course there’s the reputation that Contiki holds as a travel company for hosting party-packed tours for young travelers. I’m not the biggest fan of alcohol or drunk people, so this one will be interesting!
By far the most mysterious part of my trip as it currently stands. I have no idea what kind of people I am going to meet on this trip but of course all I can hope is that they are decent enough human beings, the kind that will want to hang out and do similar things to me, the kind that won’t judge me for eating copious amounts of ice cream in every destination and the kind that will hopefully become a friend, a real good friend – not just a Facebook one.
Spending a lotta dolla (Euros).
I’m sort of expecting to be ripped off in a lot of places in Europe, and even by my own travel company. I’m expecting this because of the previous experiences I’ve had in some of Europe’s most popular cities and largely due to the amount of reviews I’ve read on several travel companies specialising in tours selling add-ons at sometimes pretty high prices. I totally get it, they are running a business just like anyone else and there’s only so much they can include for free. I’ve saved up a lot of money and the way I see it is that this is is a big deal, it’s honestly the beginning of my biggest dream coming true and I should enjoy every part of it (even if this does mean completely emptying my purse).
I literally picked out all the places I wanted to visit in the month of June specifically to enjoy beautiful sunshine and heat in all of these countries. I left out cities like Berlin, Budapest and Vienna (all of which I would equally love to visit) because I believed I could have another opportunity to visit these on a separate European tour in the Winter months.
Steady paced travel.
This one is important to me and I don’t quite know what to expect but I booked the trips that I did based on the fact that they were supposedly slower paced than the initial option I was going to book (I didn’t when I realised I’d spend about a day in each place and more time on the train). I didn’t like the idea of rushing through each place and not having a chance to enjoy it before moving onto the next. Thinking about it realistically I know that I’m not going to have a chance to see and do absolutely everything that I want to in each location so I’ll have to plan my time wisely.
Going it alone.
This whole solo travel thing is daunting but exciting in so many ways. I’m expecting to actually really enjoy it, at least once my first couple of days are over and I’ve settled in to the idea of being on my own for over a month. I’m going to make all of my own decisions with no persuasion or influence from family or friends. If I make absolutely no friends, then I’m going to have to accept that if things go wrong, the only person that I can turn to is going to be myself. Yeah sure, I can phone my mum and dad if I need some support along the way but when it comes down to it, they’re not going to be with me. And without sounding like a pathetic child, I’ll put my hands up and say that I need my parents most of the time and they help me with a lot of stuff in my life, so to be without them for a long time and the first time will be quite an adjustment for me and I’m not ashamed to say that.
A change in myself.
Most of all on a more personal note, I am expecting to come home from my European solo tour a more confident and outgoing person. And I expect I’ll feel proud, because this is all I’ve wanted for years and I’ll have finally accomplished it. All being well and as close to perfect as it possibly can be, I’m expecting to travel more so I’ll be continuing to save money when I return and I’ll start planning my next adventure. On a slight negative, I am expecting at least once on my trip to have some kind of anxiety flip-out, but if I do and I can cope with it on my own, I’ll know that I can cope with it any time in the future, and if I don’t – well that’ll be amazing!
So there they are, 10 things running through my mind right now – just 4 weeks before I leave home and set off on my travels.