4.01.2013

traveling solo with cobbled street fever.


(taken in Paris, 2011.)

My "places to visit" list has always been a bit one-dimensional. Any dream location for me consists of cobbled streets, architecture built prior to 1910 and a smattering of sweet cafes where I can spend endless hours drinking wine and watching the locals go about life.

Therefore in the past two years my international excursions have been: Ireland, Paris, Rome. And, uh, Rome again.

Since making the move to Kuwait, I try to leave for a week every few months in an effort to stay sane. This time I would have popped over to Dubai with Gabe, but since Gabe can't get out of work at the moment he encouraged me to escape to a place I'd really enjoy and find inspiration. (High-five supportive husband.) We agreed on a reasonable budget for my 5 day trip and I set about scouring the web in search of a wallet-friendly destination.

And so, a game of "spin-the-globe then check ticket prices" has lead me to Prague. Here are the four things I know about Prague:

My best friend's dad is Czechoslovakian. And he's cool.
Every travel forum assured me that Prague is safe + welcoming to English-speaking folk like myself.
A friend once told me the entire city looks like a fairytale.
And...Prague looks pretty in every single photo.

Win, win, win. HUGE SUPERFICIAL WIN.

I'm hopping a flight late tonight...and I'm elated. If there's anything this strange curveball year in Kuwait has thrown me--the homesickness, the lack of purpose--it's the ability to leave life behind and discover somewhere completely new. Even if I'm by myself.

My blogger friend, Sam, put it most eloquently, "Being unanchored let's us see new harbors."

Absolutely. Here's to new harbors.

PS: I'm often asked, "How can you travel by yourself? Don't you get lonely?" I could never quite express why I don't feel bored or lonely on a solo trip. Yesterday I stumbled across an article titled "Confessions of an Introverted Traveler". It lead me down a windy path to the author's book titled The Introvert's Way. I gobbled it up, and I realized I am a complete and utter introvert, who's been mislabeled an extrovert for her entire life. (Apparently some introverts can take on extroversion in social situations where it is required. That's me!) This is likely why I can handle disappearing to a foreign country all by myself without feeling a bit stressed or lonely...but the thought of going to a party can often leave me clammy and anxious.

Anyone else travel solo...or would you travel solo if you could? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Here's a short quiz if you're not sure if you're an I or E!
 

27 comments:

  1. I'm the opposite, an extrovert labeled an introvert her entire life. So I guess that's why I can't do the trip solo thing as well as you. I've admired you for your adventures, but my attempts at it were fails and a little depressing. I need people around me, even if we don't end up doing the things I want to do. Have a fun time in Prague, it's on my to-go list :) I can't wait to se eyour dreamy photos of this city.

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  2. You are awesome. I'm so thrilled you're blogging again and cannot wait to hear about this latest trip. HAVE A BLAST!!

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  3. You will LOVE Prague!! I can't wait to see all your pictures!

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  4. I am so jealous. Prague was my #1 to see in Europe, but after one weather-cancelled trip and one Paul's work-cancelled trip, we didn't end up getting there. We went lots of other amazing places and I don't regret a single one, but PRAGUE.
    Have an amazing time. Enjoy those cobbled streets.

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  5. A few years ago I spent a semester in small city about 2 hours from Prague, called Olomouc. It was the most amazing semester of my life (I actually met my husband while studying there - he was another American studying there). The Czech Republic is such a charming country. The people are so friendly and kind. You will absolutely love Prague. It is an absolutely beautiful and I just know that you will love walking around exploring the city. If you have any questions feel free to email me - www.lexlately.com or alexisholoubek{at}gmail{dot}com- Alexis

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  6. I hope you have a blast in Prague, and I can't wait to see the photos and hear all about it!
    I'm definitely an introvert, too! I love the idea of packing and travelling to another country all by myself; if you're by yourself, you can do whatever you please!
    Have a great time :)
    <3 Kiersten

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  7. I only got to spend one night in Prague but it really is wonderful! I know you'll enjoy the escape and that you'll capture it beautifully. I think I might need to try some solo-travelling.

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  8. Have a great trip! Take pictures, and enjoy it!

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  9. I absolutely LOVE traveling by myself. Go wherever you want, stay however long you want, eat whatever you want....it's fantastic!! You don't have to worry about anyone but you. I miss it so much. My only international solo trip was to Bogota, Colombia, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I love my husband more than life itself, but he's such a stick in the mud! My heart has been longing for solo (or with my little man!) to find its way into my life again.

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  10. So jealous! I have heard wonderful things about Prague. Can't wait to see your photos. I'm an introvert myself, but I like to have a traveling companion. Mostly, because I'm a horrible map reader and I rely on others to help me with that. Have you read the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking?" It's by Susan Cain and it was the first thing that actually helped me to understand all the perks of being an introvert!

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  11. Never made it to Prague -- although it would have been an adventure.

    Your introvert / extrovert description of yourself describes me perfectly. kindred spirits you + I. Even when separated by miles. and miles. and miles.

    have fun on the adventure. And I'm sure you'll find many cobbled streets. :)

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  12. Have a wonderful time! Dubai will be here all summer! ;)

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  13. I have heard amazing things about Prague. Have so much fun!!

    LB

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  14. have so much fun! i can't wait to "hear" all about it :). also, I loved that quiz. I figured I was an introvert and the quiz confirmed it.

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  15. Oh this is great!! My job has offices in Prague and I've only heard amazing things about it. I know you will have a great trip and I will be really excited to hear about it. I am a total introvert when it comes to traveling and I actually prefer to travel alone. LoLo was the first person I didn't mind traveling with (which was one of the ways I knew he was a keeper!). I love the freedom traveling alone allows... eat what I want, do what I want, sleep when I want...

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  16. I am thrilled for you, Prague is a magical city. I've been there three times (as I live in Germany it's not that far) and it's always been amazing. I would highly recommend visiting one of the old Jazz bars (Agatha Jazz Club is great). Having read what you like about travelling I am sure Prague is the perfect city for you - one can wander around for hours and hours and always find new sweet streets and great spots. Plus, there are nice cafés everywhere! Moneywise Prague is a really cheap city, too, which is never a bad thing. One last thing, I would highly recommend visiting the Strahov Monastery ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strahov_Monastery ), it has the most beautiful old library.
    Have the best of times!

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  17. I've never traveled alone, but mostly because I haven't had the chance yet. I think I would really enjoy the time alone to wander and think. I'm totally an introvert who has been forced to live an extroverts life. It has gotten easier at times, but for the most part I hate crowds and parties.... until I get there and it turns out fine.

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  18. Have an amazing time on your trip!! I would like to be alone for a bit, but I'm so introverted that I would have a hard time going out by myself.

    Kristina does the Internets

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  20. I have to say, traveling alone has had to be one of the most empowering things I've ever done. The freedom, feeling a bit lost, but so found within yourself is adicting and fulfilling. I love traveling, with and without friends and family and Prague has been one I haven't forgotten. I hope you have a good amount of time there. If you would like some ideas, I wrote a blog entry back in October when I was there with my husband. I wrote about Prague in the second half of the post. http://setacourseforadventure.blogspot.com/2012/10/angels-in-architecture.html
    We loved our little hotel, the parks surrounding it and had some great food! The Prague castle could be explored for days, the free walking tours are exceptional, and please, have a beer or ten. Have a great trip!

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  21. I've actually spent most of my life traveling solo. I started off back packing for close to a year around the UK and Europe. I met people, of course, and had travel buddies for a couple days here and there, but not the same thing. This July - when I bring my Fella home to Canada for a visit - will actually be my second "couple's trip" or "travel-with-someone" trip ever.

    Also: I LOVE Prague! My cousin lived there for about 12 years. That's where I got my nose pierced. :)

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  22. Have you ever considered writing a travel book or a book of travel essays? I feel like others would love to read about your adventures!

    Have an amazing trip!

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  23. I love traveling alone...being on my own. It empowers me. I love being completely selfish and absorbed in doing what I want when I want! Prague is a beautiful city...you will see that soon enough. Enjoy your trip! I have read you last few posts. I could use God to push a rush button on a few things for me too... Xo

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  24. Oh Bethany,
    I am so excited for this mini adventure you are taking.
    I hope you enjoy your mini get away.!!!
    Can't wait to travel with you through your photos!!!

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  25. I traveled abroad many times with friends but I wouldn't be able to compare it to solo travelling before my solo-trip to NewYork City. (Can you imagine an alone girl in NYC??)
    It was scaring me before I set off but when I arrived there it was awesome. It was me who always decided on the things that I was going to do and where to eat, what to do, where to visit. Of course I made some friends there but none of them were with me the following day.
    Travelling as a free-spirit is very empowering for the self-confidence.

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