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.
A few years ago I was reading Hot Press Magazine, and in their travel section they had written this feature on Philadelphia (the online archive version doesn’t have all the pictures that made it so compelling). I read it, looked at the pictures and thought I’d like to go there, and since then it was always on my list when thinking about where I’d like to go in America. When I settled on doing the J1 in New York, part of the reason was it was a good location for travelling to other cities – I was able to get busses to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, and the time I spent travelling to all these different places was my favourite of the summer.
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.
This past summer I was living and working in New York, an adventure I decided to embark on by myself. Over the three months I was there, I grew an attachment to certain spots, like cafés, stores or nice areas, and these became places I knew I could go to if it was all getting a little too much and I was missing home. Having these places gave me a reason to feel happy I was in New York and reminded me I had the opportunity to see and do things I wouldn’t get to do at home.
A lot of the time we don’t appreciate the place we live and the things it has to offer because we live there and we think we already know everything there is to know about it. For me, it’s not until I have people visiting that I really start looking at what there is to do and go to some places either I’ve never heard of or would normally just walk straight past.
One of these places is The Little Museum of Dublin at Stephen’s Green. Plenty of times I have walked past this museum and I was always a little interested and wondered what it was like inside but I never actually stopped to go in. Recently, friends came to visit from Canada and I figured it was as good a time as any to visit The Little Museum, so I suggested we go.