First-class and fancy-free.
Si, si, I’ve been lucky enough to venture overseas for a solo trip through Europe. That’s right. TOTALLY ALONE. And I didn’t die!
I’m a young, overly-friendly blonde female, and my grandmother (assuming I would be taken advantage of in some way) spent six months trying to convince me not to go. But I’d never been one to doubt myself, and I wasn’t about to.
So in July 2016, I set off on the trip of a lifetime. By the time I arrived at Brisbane International Airport, my grandmother had come to terms with everything and she was wearing a proud smile and waving over-excitedly at me as I walked towards the gate.
At this point, I had no idea what I was in for.
As I walked out of the airport in Rome and up the stairs towards the train, reality hit me like a tonne a bricks: I was in a new country surrounded by a new culture, new people, and a new language that I didn’t understand. I’d never been more excited and terrified at the same time in my life.
I also hadn’t slept in 32 hours, so I was slightly delirious. But you can sleep when you’re dead, right?
Before leaving Australia, I’d booked a few nights in Rome, Florence and Portofino, and my flights to Rome and home from Stockholm. The rest of the trip was left up in the air.
I’d been warned that it was a busy time of year and hotels would be booked out but I managed to find a place to stay every night thanks to the bookings.com smartphone app. And (bonus!) a number of rooms were on sale because I was booking so close to the check-in date.
Many people questioned my itinerary (Rome to Stockholm), and I’ll admit that it’s not your typical route on a solo trip through Europe. But I wanted to visit four destinations that had been on my bucket list since I could remember: Portofino and Lake Como in Italy, Saint-Tropez in France, and Stockholm in Sweden.
I fell in love with each place I visited, and I have already begun planning an adventure to return to each city again.
The most valuable lesson that I took away from the trip was that travelling alone means you can enjoy a truly special moment by yourself. And if you take a second, you can understand why that moment made you feel an overwhelming sense of happiness. It’s important to realise that the only person who got you to that exact point in the world was you.
Given my enthusiasm for fashion, my tendency to lust over anything remotely extravagant, and my obsession with capturing life experiences through a camera lens, of course I had to milk the incredible European settings for every penny that they were worth. I hope these little snippets inspire you to book that trip you’ve always dreamed of.
P.S. I’d recommend playing Jennifer Paige’s ’90s pop hit Crush while you scroll.