I took my first ever solo trip to Sweden and the Netherlands for just under 2 weeks in June. It was crazy, every moment felt really surreal. Of course I’ll forever be grateful that I was able to do this.
In this first solo trip I also achieved a lot of firsts, and here are some of them:
First time of travelling by myself, of course.
First time visiting Sweden and the Netherlands, again, obviously. And they are both lovely.
First time that I asked for advice on the travel blogger Facebook group. I was overwhelmed by the responses I got and how friendly the group members are! This is also where I’m telling myself that I should contribute more to the group, and to blogging in general.
First time that I nearly missed the first flight of the first leg of the trip, and (are you ready?) here’s the story.
Basically my flight departs from Stansted Airport at 8:30am. I booked a coach that departs at 6:12am and arrives at 7:00am at the airport. On the day before I thought it might not be enough time, so I was gonna wake up early to catch the earlier coach, and see if they let me on, which is at like 5:30 or something. So I set my alarm for 4:45, and I think I fell asleep at 3.
When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I did was to check the time on my phone, as you do. And guess what are digits that I saw? 5:59. No, I’m not even kidding. Luckily I already packed everything so I literally jumped out of bed, got changed, stuffed my PJs in the bag, grabbed my bags and literally RAN. I managed to get to the coach stop at 6:10. And then the coach was late for 5-10 minutes. So I was panicking on the coach. But thankfully everything went okay and I got to my gate with plenty of time left. I CANNOT imagine what’s going to happen if I actually miss my flight. It’ll definitely make this trip SO MUCH MORE memorable, lol.
First time staying at a hostel dorm room with strangers. In Stockholm I shared the room with 7 other people (both men and women), and in Amsterdam I stayed in a female en-suite 4 bed dorm which was less overwhelming. It was a quite different experience and you don’t really stay in your own shell that much. I’m more on the introvert side so the big dorm was a little overwhelming for me. But in the 4-bed dorm I bonded quite well with the other girls. We had some good conversations and that definitely puts a great ending to my trip. I think I would do this again, because you get to learn about other people and cultures, and if anything goes wrong, remember you’re only together for a few days and you probably won’t see each other again in your life ever. It’s always fun to get to know new people! The 3 girls I shared a room with in Amsterdam were from Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Argentina, and we had conversations about euthanasia and economics, which I thought was crazy. Like I did not expect us to have such deep conversations. But I think we all had a good time and were comfortable with each other, which was wonderful.
First time flying Norwegian and Vueling Airlines. Also the first time that I slept through the entire flight (although only an hour from Stockholm to Amsterdam but still). I barely slept the night before so I had a pretty good power nap on the plane.
First time meeting my Dutch relatives in years. Yes I have family in the Netherlands and they are so friendly and warm and I already miss them very much.
First time keeping a travel journal and writing it as I go. Nothing glamorous, but just to keep track of what I did everyday and how I feel and all the bits and bobs.
First time going on a pilgrimage – to Anne Frank’s house. I’ve always been an avid follower (? is this the appropriate word?) of the Holocaust all my life. I’ve always been interested in that particular part of world history. I’ve had Anne Frank’s Diary for literally 7 years, but I never really got round to properly read it until last summer. I’m really glad that I read it, because I have been so inspired by her words. I could not believe it was the words of a 13/14-year old. It was so amazing to finally visit Anne Frank’s House after all these years. At the end of the house tour they were showing a video of people talking about how Anne Frank inspired them. Emma Thompson said in the video that Anne Frank’s ‘would haves are our opportunities‘. This is definitely something that I’ll remember all my life (hopefully!).
First time I felt SO inspired by something. In Amsterdam I went to the Van Gogh Museum, obviously. Van Gogh has always been in my life, because I’ve been to museums with my parents since I was little, and I’ve encountered Van Gogh’s work many many times. But this is the first time that I felt so
bloody inspired by him. I’ve always liked his work, but there are so many things that I didn’t know before visiting the museum. Just like how I didn’t know that he only decided to become an artist in his late 20s, and he wasn’t professionally trained as an artist. And we all know now that he was so bloody talented. His work did not get much recognition during his lifetime, but he still persisted and now look at all the masterpieces that we get to admire today. Bloody hell. I apologise for the profanity, but I have so much appreciation and respect towards Van Gogh now. And especially during this time for me where I’m uncertain about my future, visiting the Van Gogh Museum was the highlight of my stay in Amsterdam, I learned so much about Van Gogh and also learned a lot about myself too. For example, seeing his work reminded me how much I loved and enjoyed art lessons back then (I think my last art class was 7 years ago…). Maybe a career change for me…?!?!
So yeah. First solo trip. I had a lot of doubts before I made the bookings. Even after I booked everything I was still unsure if I’ve made the right decision. The society tells you that as a woman travelling alone is dangerous. BS. After this trip I can tell you 100% that I’ve made the right decision. Danger is always here and everywhere, no matter you’re a man or woman. As a woman, people always tell you what you can do and cannot do. But hey it’s 21st century and we should be open-minded. And yo, women are strong no matter what people say under a patriarchal system (sorry, getting a tad emotional and throwing a little bit of my gender course here, lol). And because carpe diem (and YOLO), and we should all travel more while we’re young. As cliche as this might sound, but I think I did learn quite a lot about myself during this trip. Maybe I’ll pour my heart out in another post, because I do have a lot in my brain right now that I need to express.
Any (female) solo traveller out there? Say hello!! Leave a comment!! I would looove to know about your experience of travelling solo!!
K BAI (for now anyway!).
As always, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE. You don’t know how much it means to me! <3
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Take care and see ya soon!