I went to 7 Countries in 14 Days, Alone
I risked my comfort zone for a new experience, and growth ensued. Surprisingly, while I shared my experience, a number of you sent me DM's and emails with questions, comments, well-wishes and recommendations. So, I took the most popular questions and answered them below!
Why did you choose to go to 7 Countries in only 14 days?
I choose 7 countries, in 14 days based on price and timing.
My trip was originally suppose to be a weekend in London. The round trip flight was $250, so I started to play with Google Flights and was curious how much it would be to go to Paris, and then Dublin, and then Rome. It took me about 2 days of casually searching for flights to find the perfect flight path that took me to my top bucket list destinations, with a total bill of right under $900.
Timing is everything, and work both full-time as a contractor, and for myself in the evenings. I could do a 14-day trip during a specific time that wouldn't affect either of my jobs.
The deciding factor that made me book everything was that I would be crazy to not take the trip with both price and time on myside. So I booked it and decided to figure out the rest later.
How did you choose the countries
I have a wishlist of places I want to visit in my iPhone notes that has grown over the last 5 years, but I also have a map full of color-coordinated destinations. I cross-referenced the map and list, and start to build my Google Itinerary from where I wanted to go see first.
it can be uncomfortable, but do it anyway.
Why did you go alone?
Have you ever tried to plan a girls trip to one place? Now imagine that x 7. Not happening for me.
I wanted to see the world, but I wanted to move at my own pace. Sometimes that meant sacrificing sleep for an experience, or paying a little extra for the perfect excursions. I am 100% OK with make those sacrifices, and roughing it out, but not everyone is. Also, a trip of this length and intensity is a big ask of anyone. I didn't want to put anyone else in that position.
I, of course, sent my itinerary to a number of friends, and I met up with a few along the way or they introduced me to people they knew abroad.
Was it safe?
As far as safety, traveling alone as a woman is safe as long you aren't acting like a women traveling alone i.e. dressing flashy, looking lost, and not aware of your surroundings.
You need to have common sense, but research doesn't hurt either. Look up what pickpockets and thieves typically do in other countries helped me prepare myself as well.
Put an ugly phone case on your expensive phone, put electricians tape on your brand new DSLR to make it look beat up, and don't carry expensive handbags. The best defense is a good offense...Also, take a few boxing classed - just so you feel more confident in your stride.
were you lonely?
hen you are traveling alone and you are friendly, people will befriend and engage with you
Moving around so quickly and trying to soak it all in, makes you forget you are alone.
You are just focusing on getting to X location, finding Y restaurant, waking up in time for Z flight, that there isn't time to think about being lonely.
Additionally, when you are traveling alone and you are friendly, people will befriend and engage with you. I made a dozen new friends while I was traveling because I was engaged with my surroundings and not my cell phone, or engrossed in a conversation with a friend.
I did get lonely in Barcelona since there was a beautiful sunset in Park Guell in Barcelona, but it was just because I wanted to share that moment with someone.
Why only a carryon?
My younger sister had gone to London, Dublin and Amsterdam by herself and had stayed in hostels. I planned on staying in one as well, and planned on bringing an oversized suitcase for extra luggage space for shopping in Morocco.
She laughed at me, and recommended I only bring a bag that can fit in the lockers in the room - since it's common courtesy in hostels not to have too much.
Between my sisters advice, and almost missing my flight to Boston during a layover in New York from Colombia because of a checked bag, I am strictly carryon-now! Excess baggage ruins everything. Trips, relationships, budgets, you name it.
That advice inspired me to travel with only a Carry-On, so I brought the Away Bigger Carry-On.
How do you feel now that you are back?
I walked away from the trip with 3 major feelings. Appreciation. Humbleness. Excitement.
Experiencing other countries gave me deep appreciation about the cultures of the places I’ve only read about. I had opportunities to explore European art, Irish humor, Muslim hospitality, Italian vias, Spanish wines and Roman history. As you travel to a new place, really try to experience and appreciate the space you are in because it is unique to everything else you know.
This experience was also extremely humbling. It taught me what it meant to be a young American in our current political and cultural climate. Being in countries with such rich history of art and culture really made me realize how young America is as a country, and how much we have to learn about being a better partner to other countries. Also, seeing how citizens of the world spoke kindly of what America could be capable of in a positive sense made me realize how much more we can do for each other as a community.
Lastly, traveling to another country is an immense blessing, and was an eye-opening experience that has made it more clear what is next for me, and I am really excited to get started!