At the top of 2016 I made a promise to myself that I would begin traveling solo. It was all part of this journey I embarked on my sophomore year of undergrad to become completely comfortable with being and acting alone — read more about that in my previous post, #Goals.
My plan was to start with trips close to home and expand from there. Per usual, my plan was not THE plan because I’ve officially completed my first solo trip abroad. Yea, that escalated quickly.
It was a normal Friday at the office when an email came through from my boss about attending one of the world’s largest beauty and hair expos in Bologna. I was asked to do some research and the plan was for us to both go. Obviously I was super psyched at the prospect and got right on it. I sent the first round of options over and waited patiently. This is when ish got real. An iMessage came through asking if I would be ok with making the trip alone. My eyes widened. I couldn’t believe it. I re-read the message again and a few messages later it was confirmed, I would be traveling to Bologna, Italy solo. Tickets were soon booked and hotel confirmed.
When this all happened I imagined God knowing my solo travel plans and saying, “Girl…Nashville? I can do you one better. Bologna. Boom. Go flourish.”
And flourish I did, in a place where I spoke close to none of the language. A few highlights:
- Discovering that I didn’t have the right converter to charge my phone, navigating to the closest electronics store, then in a strange blend of Italian, Spanish, English and hand gestures asking the cashier if she could call a cab for me to get back my hotel.
- Walking to and from a quaint Italian restaurant one evening and dining alone. This was a huge first for me because in my mind eating breakfast and lunch alone were one thing but dinner was a whole different ball game. While it sort of is, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I even managed to make friends with a table of Italians.
- Taking the local bus into the city center and wandering in and out of the porticos with no real plans or direction.
- Shopping. Because European countries have all of the good stuff we don’t get in America.
- Realizing I was completely off from the bus route I’d mapped back to my hotel and proceeding to wander random streets and markets until I was in the general area I got dropped off in and happening upon my bus route. (*Yes I would have taken a cab back if it had gotten too late but I was determined to figure it out.)
- Seeing well-dressed, attractive European men.
- My mom calling the U.S. Embassy in Italy because she thought I had been kidnapped by my Italian cab driver on my way to the airport for my flight home.
So there you have it. I did it. I completed my first solo trip and loved it. I’m becoming the woman I’ve always envisioned myself being but had no idea how I’d become her. I feel limitless. I AM limitless.
*All pictures taken by me with my iPhone 6.