“After graduating, I saw myself for the first time with the opportunity to take a real vacation (after all, when you’re an intern, you don’t even have a vacation right). I chose to go to the south of the country. Everyone went and talked so much, I wanted to see the beauty there with my own eyes.
I arranged everything with my best friend and party partner at the time. We were going to Florianópolis for a few weeks. But two weeks before she left, she came to tell me that she couldn’t stay the whole month as we had agreed. For a moment I was pissed and lost, after all, we were going to stay at her cousin’s house.
So I had my dream vacation, in the place I wanted, but I had a hole in the middle of it… Well, she was going to stay for a week and I decided to continue with my plan to travel for a month. I ran down to the newsstand (yes, we still did that at the time), bought a travel guide and started planning where I was going. In the end, all of this was very important because after this trip that I took practically alone, I didn’t want to travel with anyone else. The friendships I made in the hostels where I stayed and the unexpected enchanted me.
Stories of women traveling alone
In the following years, I started to plan my vacation month well in advance and I was only sure of one thing: I didn’t have to sacrifice my vacation doing programs I didn’t want, I could sleep earlier if I wanted and I didn’t have to wait for someone to get ready for hours before leaving as the sun shines beautiful outside.
The more I traveled alone, the more friends I made and the more places I had to visit. The funny thing is that these friends you make on these trips understand you well and respect when you want to or don’t want to do something. Because it irritated me a lot when I didn’t want to do something on a trip and his friends kept urging him to go, or trying to convince him not to.
For me it was always very simple to say: “I don’t want to go to that beach today, you go and I’m going to parachute in there and we’ll meet at the end of the day”. But if you say that, it sounds like the boring guy who doesn’t want to do the same show, when in fact the boring ones are them for insisting and not respecting you, not respecting your wishes.
And that’s how, by accident, I discovered that traveling alone was better for me. I love the idea and, even married, I do it to this day. Last summer my husband was traveling with his family and I decided that I was going to take a trip by myself to another place I would like to go instead of going with them.
I don’t even regret all the times I programmed everything and went out into the world. Even when something doesn’t go as planned, I have fun. And believe me, everything doesn’t always work out, but the fantastic people I met along the way, the novels, the places… Everything would have been so different if I wasn’t alone and I’m so proud of the stories I have to tell! A really cool one was when I moved here to Europe. Here’s an excerpt I wrote at the time:
‘In my wanderings alone, I’ve had New Year’s Eve in Jericoacoara with a hint of Italian romance, New Year’s Eve in New Zealand with German romance, New Year’s Eve with the right to the band playing in the middle of a castle that was built to be a hostel, New Year’s Eve in Bahia with an uplifting Bahian romance, New Year’s Eve in Porto de Galinhas that would need another post just to explain how I ended up there… But this New Year’s Eve in London was perhaps the most curious or funniest of all.
Before leaving Dublin, I posted on the London page of the Couchsurfing website inviting me to take a turn with a view of the London Eye. It’s cold this season, this is nothing new for anyone, and many travelers would prefer to spend time inside a warm pub, without having to get crushed in the crowd, being cold. But I do not! And some people started to respond that they would like to go too. One resident suggested that we meet at a pub and go to Waterloo Bridge together. People from all over the world who were traveling and London residents who like the idea of couchsurfing were embracing the idea. On the 31st, more than 30 people had contacted me.
From the pub we walked to the bridge, with me at the front holding a pink umbrella up so people wouldn’t get lost in the crowd (this part was VERY funny). The whole people started showing up and, when we stopped to count, we were already over a hundred!!! Everyone came to introduce themselves to me, asking if I had organized the “event” and thanking me. People from Germany, Poland, Peru, Mexico, India, Israel and so on. I talked to everyone, heard all kinds of stories, interesting people who decided to follow their dreams. There, I was just one more, among so many who dropped everything! I remember this turn with great affection, because you are only alone when you want to!’
I hope my story inspires you to look at the map, choose a place and spread your wings without thinking too much and just enjoy what comes again. I’m sure you won’t regret it and will take this adventure in your heart forever. Summer vacation is coming, spread your wings!”
Text: Alessandra Dianin
Photos: Personal Archive
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