So I recently got back from a solo trip to Iceland. I was there for 4 days. I stayed in a hotel, did excursions with groups and then went for dinner and whatnot on my own. It wasn’t my absolute first time travelling on my own – I went to Montreal for a few days over my birthday when I was 21. The trip to Iceland itself was incredible – the sights were breathtaking, the capital city is filled with cool shops. The place was amazing for my inner hipster.
But I’m probably still most surprised with the number of people who were surprised and proud of me for travelling on my own. I wish I had kept count of the number of people who praised me for travelling on my own. Some of my friends, my family, people that I met on the trip, they were all mildly shocked but encouraging of travelling on my own. A lot of people expressed that they wished they were that brave to do the same.
Not everyone was overly encouraging or even acknowledged someone travelling on their own. My one negative experience was trying to get my luggage after being in the Blue Lagoon. For an extra fee, you can have them store your luggage, which is incredibly useful if you’re coming or going from Iceland (the Blue Lagoon is an ideal adventure on either of these dates due to the close geographic range to the international airport). There was a family in front of me in line and after they had been given their luggage, I was clearly right in front of the teller but the man behind me must have mistaken me to be part of that family since he tried to give his ticket. Simple mistake, yes? Well, I happened to look back at him as I gave my ticket to the teller and there was no look or mention of remorse. He almost looked surprised that I was just on my own and this was where my expression became less than amused and turned into a glare of such.
Travelling on my own reminds me that I am able to be a leader but also able to make my own path. I don’t need to always follow the prescribed social agenda that is provided by society. There are changes that can be made and alterations that can be pushed. Not only did I do this by travelling on my own but also while on some of the excursions, I didn’t just look at the sights that were in front of me. For example, at Seljalandsfoss, one of the waterfall attractions in Iceland, I followed a path away from the main waterfall to find a hidden waterfall. I have super cool pictures and amazing memories of how I got back on the bus with my hair soaked (you literally get up and close with this waterfall) and everyone else was asking where I went. I showed them my pictures and they were all in awe. It just shows how sometimes it’s worth it to take a gander away.
Travelling on my own also made me more approachable to other travelers. I made friends with other travelers. Whether this was because they felt “sorry” for the girl standing on her own or because they needed that little break from their current travelling partners but it was a cool opportunity to learn about other people.
I think me travelling on my own reminded other people of taking the path that’s less traveled. Not experiencing something just because you’re the only one that wants to do it. Or willing to make time for it. It’s not apologizing for who you are. It’s being a “wild one”.