Shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump, I stepped into one of my favourite bookstores in Dublin, Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street, to take refuge from the January cold. I started browsing through the tables of books on display and found one with a collection of books around the theme of the new American presidency, including It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, and this book that particularly caught my eye – What We Do Now – Standing up for your values in Trump’s America, edited by Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians.
I have written on a few different occasions about travelling solo, so hopefully I now have you fully convinced that it’s something you should do! Now that you’ve decided to go for it, I thought I should share some more practical advice on travelling by yourself for when you start asking questions about where to stay, what to do, and what to bring. If you’re planning a solo trip and have some of these questions, read on! This my advice based on my own experience of travelling alone.
I always say that I think everyone should travel alone at least once in their life. Travelling by yourself can be a scary prospect and I understand that. For many people, the idea of doing anything alone is kind of terrifying, even if it’s going to the cinema alone, getting dinner alone, or any other activity that usually you’d do with someone else. So if you’re someone who doesn’t think they could even see a movie by themselves, then the idea of travelling by yourself might seem impossible. But if the opportunity ever comes around, I think you should do it.
For International Women’s Day, I want to write something not for the women, but for the girls. The experiences we have as girls, during the time when we come to develop an understanding about the world and our place in it, can shape who we become as women. We never stop learning and we never stop growing. We are constantly on a journey to discover who we are. But sometimes, that journey involves un-learning the assumptions we formed when we were too young to question it.
Every year when International Women’s Day rolls around, I always say I want to write something to mark it, and I never do. Sometimes I just don’t make the time in the days coming up to it, other times I hit a creative block, and others I don’t even realise the day was happening until it’s already arrived. This year, I’m a lot more organised, a lot more energised, and I’m excited to get myself involved in any way I can!
The New York Times recently announced that a record 3 million people now have a subscription to their newspaper. I happen to be one of those 3 million subscribers, and I would imagine their numbers boosted a lot only in the last few months. In a time when the quality of news reporting seems to be going down, and the accusations of ‘fake news’ seem to be increasing, I think it’s important to find a news source that you trust, to support it, and to spread the knowledge that you learn from good quality reporting.
If there’s one thing I can thank New York for, it’s for helping me fall in love with books and reading all over again. I always loved reading for as long as I could remember, but as the story normally goes, once you’re up to your eyes in college work it’s difficult to keep up reading that isn’t directly relevant to your coursework. I have always gone back to my books during the summer between semesters, but this time around was able to read at a volume I just hadn’t met during previous summers. Part of it was probably because I had finished college, and for the first time I wasn’t going to be facing another semester of assigned readings and it felt like I had total freedom over what I was going to read. But being in New York felt like the perfect setting for falling back into a world of books.