..Within 15 minutes I was deep in conversation with people from all over the world, speaking to them like I had known them for years. It was clear that most of them were pretty much living at the hostel but they made me feel like I was part of it. My preconceived idea of what each of them would be like from just looking at them quickly dissolved as nobody matched the personality I had given them. Everybody was just plain friendly. Especially Robin (the overly animated French guy) and Eric (the cool and composed Swiss guy) who I befriended instantly and dragged out to Temple Bar.
It’s impossible to put into words the overwhelming feeling of liberation and excitement I felt on that first night. The thought that I was alone in a different city with complete strangers who I seemed to bond with instantly, it felt unreal, like somebody else’s exciting life. We bought Guinness (naturally) and befriended two young Irish (traveller?) girls, who were absolutely barking mad. Robin and one of the girls began to dance but it looked more like they were performing a Pagan ritual. I looked on with her friend and we laughed so hard we cried.
The following day I went on a day trip out into the Irish countryside, because somewhere beyond the age of 25 I somehow became an adult and have started to appreciate a good country walk.
Up in the Wicklow mountains we piled out of the coach and were told to go explore. I took this literally and went climbing over rocks and strayed a little too far from the group to get photos and sit to admire the view. The weather was terrible and I was being pelted with rain at 100mph, but I didn’t care and eventually gave up wrestling with my unruly umbrella, nobody would judge me for looking like a drowned rat.
I was happy to be there, appreciating a view I never get to see in London. Being on my own meant that I had the option to go wherever I wanted and not have my company roll their eyes at my need to take photos of everything.
Later that evening I found myself walking into a bar alone. I had arranged to meet Robin and Eric there for the start of Dublin’s best organised bar crawl, but I had made it there before them. I joined a queue of only foreign speaking tourists to collect drink tokens and headed inside to get a drink. In London, walking into a bar alone would send me into a frenzy of anxiety, it’s just not something I would ever do, or even need to do. In Dublin I couldn’t care less.
A couple girls and a guy approached me and asked if I was queueing for the bar and my response was “Yes I am and I’m alone, can I join you?”
One of them put their arms around me yelling “Of course! Join us! Where are you from?”
This is why it’s not scary to travel alone. Travellers look out for each other, they won’t see anybody go it alone or won’t judge them if they want to. It’s like a giant family and it’s one that I’m desperate to be a part of.
Soon Robin and Eric arrived and we greeted each other like old friends despite only knowing each other for 24 hours. I introduced them to my new found buddies and excitable Robin told the story of their failed day trip which had us all in histerics.
The bar crawl was incredible and one of the most enjoyable nights I’d had in a while. I loved partying with these complete strangers, I could be as ridiculous as I wanted knowing I most likely wouldn’t see them again and throughout the night we became like a little clique, jumping up and down together screaming Oasis lyrics as loud as we could. I remember at one point I went off to join the toilet queue and one of the girls from the group found me and said “Oh there you are. Everybody was asking ‘Where’s Kate gone?‘”…. Why?? Why would a bunch of strangers care if I’m missing? It really touched me.
On the morning of my final day I said goodbye to Robin and Eric, it’s odd how close I felt to these two considering I had only hung out with them for two nights. I guess that’s the nature of travelling, constantly saying goodbye to amazing people that somehow feel like your best mates hours after meeting them.
During my flight home all I could think was that I didn’t want to go back to London, I fantasised about getting a return flight and joining the others to tour the rest of Europe. The trip had confirmed to me that this is what I need to be doing and I won’t be happy until I’m doing it. Everybody says travelling is like a drug and it’s so true, from the moment I touched down I began to Google hostels in Rome. I need to travel again ASAP and repeat that experience. I have no idea why people aren’t doing this all the time or why they actually think it’s scary to travel alone, it’s incredible!
I’m counting down the days until my year long solo adventure!
When was the first time you travelled solo? How did you find the experience? Let me know in the comments.
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