Why traveling solo once in a while is a good thing
jenpen.studio - November 4, 2016 - 4 comments
Traveling alone can be a scary thought. When I was in my early twenties I’ve got on a plane by myself but eventually met up with family. Or I’ve always traveled in a group. But since I’m married, more than 6 years ago, he’s been my traveling mate. So the thought of me traveling solo was daunting me for weeks. I was so excited to go London for the Amara Awards, but then to find out I had to go alone cause my husband couldn’t go. Seriously, I was going crazy. For the past 6+ years I just had to pack my bag and go to the airport and chill. The man did everything. But now I had do everything myself. I’ve been to London in my late teens, but I wasn’t alone. All the scary thoughts of kidnapping came to mind.
I didn’t have a lot of time to plan everything, so I had to act quick. I was asking friends in the Netherlands to join me on my trip in London. But unfortunately it all came at a wrong moment for them. My husband told me not to worry, assuring me that it all will be okay. I mean, I was born and raised and lived in the Netherlands. How come I was so afraid to travel alone? The comfort of traveling always with some one and the past years with my husband, was just to much. I didn’t want to go alone. But I didn’t want to not go either. So, I got my shit together in my head and just started booking hotels and flights. I was searching for sponsors, but eventually the company of my husband did just the wonderful thing of being the sponsor. I also got a deal with the airlines of TUI to give me my luggage and entertainment on the plane for free. So I took that. I stayed one night in Amsterdam and flew the next day to London. And on the return back home I stayed three days in Rotterdam.
The only thing that worried me was getting back at the hotel at night after the awards show. It’s never a good thing to walk at night alone nowadays and especially in a city that isn’t mine. Cause I had a friend of a friend meet me at the awards. She was my date and a very nice girl also. I already had in my mind that I was going to pay a cab to go back to hotel, even if it will break the bank. To my very good surprise, she sent me message that afterwards she’s going to drop me off at my hotel. I was in heaven. I was ready to enjoy the awards.
I enjoyed my first day in Amsterdam. It didn’t go all smoothly as I booked a hotel that I thought was in the airport. Which it was, but it was INSIDE the DEPARTURE hall. So, the first thing after 9 hours of flying to figure that out is very annoying. I was in such a hurry to book the hotel I didn’t really read properly where it was located. It was a very good price, so I booked it. Anyway, I had to go back through customs but had to leave my luggage in a locker. I was only allowed a carry-on. The whole reason was because the attack on an airport or train station in Brussel a few months ago. So, there I was with my backpack and some stuff for the next day in it. I also brought my laptop and that freaking thing is heavy. But silly me, had the idea that I could check in earlier (even though booking.com had a check in time for 6PM) in the hotel, so I can leave my back and hit the streets of Amsterdam. Nope! Not really…I had to pay 10 euro for each hour before 6 PM. And it was like 11 AM. So I had to pay like 70 euro. At that moment I just wanted to cry and tell myself that if my husband did this shit I wasn’t in this annoying moment. But then again I got my shit together, went through customs and just hit the streets of Amsterdam with a heavy backpack. But of course, it’s The Netherlands…..it started to rain. I just kept walking cause that’s normal. Eventually I was soaked wet!!!
I didn’t let it bring me down. I went in a restaurant and had me a delicious pancake and hot cup of tea. I then walked back to the train station and took a train back to Schiphol airport. I love Holland but the train fares are just ridicules expensive. If you have to compare it to the other countries in Europe, it’s just stupid high.
The next day I was ready to go to London. I was excited to go there. I didn’t mind anymore that whole going through customs 4 times. I was happy. I arrived in London at the Luton airport. It was crazy busy as they are also renovating the airport. Everything went smoothly. I took a bus and then another bus and then I was at my hotel. But of course I arrived before the check in time again. This time it was at 3 PM and I arrive like 11 AM. Didn’t mind, cause I was already there. But I was tired. I just started to sleep in the lobby and being amused at some guests that were being accused of smoking in the rooms. They kept telling them that they didn’t. Was fun to see 🙂
I was enjoying the lobby also. I love the design here.
But then I was like, damn it…I want to enjoy the day and not just sit here and catch up on some ZZ’s. It was like 2 PM then. I only had to pay 7 euro instead of the 10 euro of each hour. It was just one more hour and I wanted to see what’s around. I paid the 7 euro, went up to my room, washed my face and head outside. I was staying next to the Wembly Stadium and there were lots to do around there. I went to the IKEA, a designer outlet mall and just walked around a bit.
My thing about traveling solo, is just that you don’t have any one to talk to. For most of the time I was talking to myself in my head. My past, my future, my marriage, my business, am I going to win at the awards? etc etc. It was very relaxing to do so. No one to tell you where to go or what they want. This was my time. I was always a loner and I don’t find it easy to just go and talk to people, so the concept of meeting new people on a solo traveling trip isn’t for me.
That’s why I hate going to networking events. Talking to people that you don’t have any interest in them and vice versa. This walking around in a city I haven’t been in years was so relaxing. No bullshit from no one just myself. Listening to other people talking, so many other languages it was soothing to hear even though I didn’t understand a word.
The good thing about London was, that the people were friendly. That also made the trip more pleasant for me. So, finally the day of the awards arrived. In the morning I went to meet the designer of Rhurbarb London, which was a great experience. I haven’t really had a conversation in days (in person) so it was a nice feeling. I went back to the hotel and started to prepare for the awards. I took the metro and then the train and walked from the Piccadilly center to the Ham Yard hotel, were the event was held. I was supposed to meet there the friend of the friend.
There I was all alone and I had to ofcourse, what else…, talk and don’t be afraid. I just stood there for a few minutes with a freaking delicious cocktail in my hand. After a few minutes, I said f*ck it. I stepped up to one blogger and we had a very nice conversation. After a few minutes my ‘date’ arrived.
We all had fun at the moment, enjoying our cocktails and canapes. It was all very delicious. But then ofcourse the moment of the awards came. I love that I was there, but to be totally honest, it went by too quickly. They were comparing this event to the Oscars of the interior blogging world. Like seriously, have ever seen the Oscars?! It’s a freaking glam up show. I was a bit disappointed on how the show went. I kind of felt like the host wasn’t prepared. They kind of rushed through the categories and the winners didn’t get a chance to express themselves. Hitting a Justin Timberlake between the winners was a great feeling, cause I love the man and his music. But within a hour everything was over. No performance (mind you, I had the Oscars in my mind), no nothing. Thank you and let’s hit the bar. I kind of felt like it was an very upscale networking event. And as I said before, I hate those things. Me and my date stayed behind in the auditorium and had fun talking and knowing each other. After a while we went back into the lobby, had a few drinks and decided to leave. Many praises to the sponsors, cause the goodie bag was a good one. I loved it! But I just spent a lot of dough on an upscale networking event, where I didn’t network.
It was the moment I realize I just wanted to take the trip and run away from the heat on the island for a bit. But pretty much nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you need to be alone to reflect and know what’s next. The days after I really enjoyed London by day. I got lost with the intentions to getting lost and I explored the city even more. I enjoyed stuff I couldn’t do if my husband was with me.
I walked a lot. Something I don’t do at home. It was pleasant to not be in a rush to be somewhere. People acting stupid around you or you around them. It was just me and my mind. The only thing I kind of missed was someone to take picture of me standing at something I like. I personally hate the selfie stick, so when not possible I just enjoyed the view.
After 5 days, my trip ended in London and it was time to go back to Holland. At that moment I wanted to take a flight directly to Curacao. I didn’t want to go to Rotterdam as I don’t like the city as much as Amsterdam, but the hotels in Amsterdam were more expensive that Rotterdam. So there I went for 3 more days. Here again the stupid check in time was 3 PM and I arrive earlier. Here I didn’t want to wait so I paid the stupid early check-in fee. I was very tired so I just slept in for 3 hours or so and I went to see what for dinner in town. The most stupid thing at this hotel was that the freaking TV was attached so high that you have to lay on your back flat to enjoy some TV time. Doesn’t make sense. But okay, as I said before the transportation here is expensive so I just took one train to Eindhoven for the Dutch Design Week there. Was a good moment of inspiration, seeing all the new ideas.
So my 10 days solo trip was over. I enjoyed every bit of it and it’s something as a married solopreneur woman you sometimes really need. Just be alone and have fun by yourself. As they say, the greatest company is yourself. It’s a good way to reflect on your life and how to make things better or how to get rid of any annoying factor. Working on my own isn’t easy, but it sure does give you the pleasure when you finish up a project and the client is happy. You can be proud and say ‘I did that’.
So for all the fear I had in the beginning, at the moment I stepped on the plane it all went away. Cause I remember I love being in a crowd by myself, so woman up and do this shit!
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I’ll be with you next week with more of the Dutch Design Week. Have a lovely weekend you guys 😉