Dublin – My first solo travel experience (pt 2)

<Continued from part 1>

..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.

dublinThe Irish lasses and my homies Robin and Eric

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.

IMG_0703I battled a torrential downpour to take this picture

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.

wicklow mountainsSo pretty!

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.

dublinFrench + Hungarian + Swede + Swiss = One messy night

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.

dublinLive music in every bar

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.

You can stay up to date with The Lost Londoner’s travel adventures by joining the mailing list or follow on Google+ or Twitter You can see my best photos of Dublin on Instagram or the album on Facebook.

Comments

  1. says

    The only solo trip I ever took was to London a couple of years ago and now I live there! I’m just too much of a wuss for solo travelling to anywhere further afield especially if it’s a non-Engilsh speaking country :(
    Leanne recently posted…D is for… Dream DaysMy Profile

    • The Lost Londoner says

      If you stay in social accommodation you’ll encounter more English speaking people than natives which takes the edge off

  2. says

    I was in Dublin between Christmas and New Years by myself and while I’m not so much of the going-out-to-drink type, I did find Dublin to be great for solo travelers.
    I didn’t stay in a hostel but somewhere from airbnb.com and I found that pretty good. Not as easy to make instant friends but still not as lonely as being in a hotel.
    Charlotte recently posted…Linkies March 14thMy Profile

  3. Kelly says

    I was toying with the idea of going to Dublin for a few days this summer on my own and after reading this I think I’ll definitely go! Think staying in a hostel with a bar is the way forward as then I’ll have more chance of meeting new people! Great post!!

    • The Lost Londoner says

      This comment made so happy! You’ll have an amazing time. It was one of the best things I’ve done!

  4. says

    I LOVE this story! I’m moving to London in August, and have always had that desire to go on a trip alone, and reading this just makes me want to so much more. I am such a hostel person and fell in love with the friendly backpack environment the last time I went around Europe!

    Great blog!

    Caity at Adventures Abroad Blog
    Caity recently posted…Guest Post at Girl in LondonMy Profile

    • The Lost Londoner says

      Hey Caity. Great to hear that you are moving to London. It’s incredible here and I’ll be sad to leave even for a year. I read on your blog that you’ve been here already. I hope you can find some new places to check out your second time around with my blog. I would 100% say go it alone hostel style. Even still it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

  5. says

    I can totally relate to your entire post! I moved to Dublin for a year after finishing uni (completely by myself) and it was one of the best years of my life!! Travelling solo is amazing – super uncomfortable/scary, especially at the beginning, but you end up meeting the best people and having a total blast.

    I’m moving to London at the end of the summer too – can’t wait to do it all over again! I don’t think the travel bug ever really goes away… :)
    Rochelle recently posted……for the craic, like.My Profile

  6. Katie says

    Thank you for posting this story, really enjoyed reading it.

    I’ve travelled solo for a couple of days before as a bolt on after travelling with friends, and in August I’m going on my first totally solo trip to London, then Dublin, so I’m really glad I’ve found your blog!

    • The Lost Londoner says

      You’ll have great fun here in London. It’s a good place for solo travellers. If it’s your thing I would recommend staying in St Christophers Inn hostel in London and checking out things like the Couch Surfer meet up’s, Brick Lane bar crawl or WalkAbout clubs which are usually filled with other travellers. I would love to hear about how you get on.

      • Katie says

        I’ve visited London with family before, so I’ve done the big tourist attractions such as the London Eye. It was great, but I’m looking forward to exploring the alternative places in London.

        I’ll definitely let you know how I get on. I don’t travel till August, so I’m just doing my research at the moment.

  7. Waylon says

    Awesome read, I’m heading to Dublin in July all the way from New Zealand, I’ll be travelling solo. Just hope my adventure goes just as well as yours did, chur

  8. wendy richardson says

    Im about to book my first ever alone trip to dublin as ive just separated from my husband and feel like I want an exciting adventure and do all the things I didn’t do when I was in my 20,s. Im a bit nervous but im sure once I find a few friendly faces and have a few drinks I will be fine. Eeeeek
    great to hear you had an amazing time :-)

    • The Lost Londoner says

      Hey Wendy,

      Your life is about to become very exciting! And you are my hero for doing it. Ignore everybody who will frown on your decision to travel, you only live once and it’s time to break out of the secure box you may of been living in. Definitely check out Temple bar at night, it’s only friendly faces there, I smile every time I think about it.

  9. Louise says

    Thanks so much for posting this. I’m considering going solo for 1 night in Dublin as my friend can’t make the trip we had planned. Your post has put my nerves more at ease. It just seems a scary thought.

    • The Lost Londoner says

      Honestly Louise you’ll be fine. Exploring during the day by yourself is fine, it’s an innocent city. Join the bar crawl like I did in the evening if you want to make some friends. It was an incredible time.

  10. Katty says

    Just what I was looking for! About an hour ago I booked my flight and a few minutes after went into panic mode. Still have to figure out accommodation, but reading about your experience has reassured me. Hope I have fun on my solo birthday weekend trip, wish me luck!

    • The Lost Londoner says

      Oh you’ll have great time. If you want to meet people and party then be sure so stay at a hostel with a good social room and you can drag some people out to party like I did! Have a great time and happy birthday

  11. says

    Really enjoyed these posts, Kate! I moved to the UK from Australia over two years ago and really loved traveling solo. It’s so liberating isn’t it! I’m really glad this trip worked out for you and has now obviously led to more solo travels! Looking forward to reading more! x
    Kat recently posted…Finding Heaven In Tiegarten, Berlin.My Profile

  12. Camille says

    Kate, THANK YOU for your article! I’m a french girl who just broke up. Always dreamt of going to Dublin, even though I didn’t think I would go alone. These days I’m kind of feeling the need to meet strangers in another country, to loose myself or to find myself…
    Thanks to you, I’ve made up my mind: I am going alone! First solo travel ever. I am so excited! i hope my experience will be as unforgettable as yours was. Merci!

    • The Lost Londoner says

      Camille honestly you will have a ball. Just stick to hostels if you want to meet people and its easy to meet other solo travellers in tour groups etc.. Or Couch surfing is a great source even to meet people for a day. Goodluck you will have a great time :)

  13. Jason says

    Hey Kate! I just Googled “traveling solo in dublin” and your page was on the top of the results so I ended up reading it. Been living in NYC for 6 years now (from Manila) and been thinking of doing a solo adventure somewhere in Europe (never been!) early 2015. Now trying to decide which country to go to (since I’ll probably only have a week), and since I LOVE Guinness… maybe it makes sense for me to go to Dublin.

    I did my first ever solo trip last year to Quebec. My birthday was coming up and I figured I should do something different. I’ve always wanted to see Quebec because it’s all French and their national holiday falls exactly on my birthday, so it seemed like a good idea.

    Oh I was right. I made a profile on Couchsurfing to find people to meet when I get there, and eventually I ended up finding hosts to stay with. They introduced me to their friends and next thing I know I was celebrating my birthday with people who I just met that day! Crazy. I never thought it would be so much fun, coz to be honest I was nervous when I was on the bus to there.

    When I came back to New York I told my family and friends all my stories. They weren’t that convinced that it’s totally safe to travel alone, but I guess they just have to do it themselves to realize such. It’s an adventure! 😉

    Anyway, thanks for your post. Maybe I’ll choose Dublin!

    PS Wait, you were just in the Philippines?! Awesome!

    Best,
    Jason

    • The Lost Londoner says

      Hey Jason. I’m really glad you found my page. Would you consider doing the UK as a whole? While Ireland is AMAZING, theres other places in Europe which are really mind blowing. It’s defo solo friendly in Dublin and a very good night out.

      Your trip to Quebec sounds so awesome. I definitely want to do some couch surfing whilst I’m in SE Asia, such an incredible way to meet people.

      Yeah, I absolutely LOVED the Philippines, I’ll return one day. :)

  14. Emily says

    Hello, It seems like you’ve had the time of your life in Ireland! Glad it worked out for you so great. I am 20 years old and I’m planning to travel to Ireland alone for the first time. I was searching through the internet for reviews and whether it is safe to travel alone in Dublin. Everything I found was great and it deleted all of my doubts until I found this http://goireland.about.com/od/safetyinireland/a/woman_ireland.htm. Is it really that bad for a woman in Ireland?Where you being chased by Irish drunk men? Or are they overdoing it??

  15. Frankie says

    I’m from Australia (eighteen y/o female) and next April I am heading over to the UK on a working visa, but I am flying straight to Dublin and spending two weeks in the country! It’s my first solo trip, having just finishing school, and this post has made me that little bit more excited :) Are there any things that you definitely recommend for me to do? :)

    • The Lost Londoner says

      Around the same I wrote the Dublin posts I wrote a Beyond the Guiness guide to Dublin which you can find via the tabs on this site. Definitely recommend getting out of Dublin into the Wicklow mountains, they’re stunning. And Temple bar street is incredible for a night out, if not a little expensive! Check out the bar crawl which is an awesome way to meet other people. You’ll have a great time. If you’re coming to the UK then YOU MUST COME TO LONDON. Do not listen to people who say it’s too expensive, it’s the best place to live and be in the country.

  16. says

    This was soo inspiring! Sounds absolutely amazing! ^^ Last spring I went to Scotland, Paisley (from school) with other finnish individuals I had never met before. So I wasn’t alone but you know, at the same time I kind of was. In the destination I had to spend a lot of time with foreign students – totally strangers. I never believed I would do something like that, but I did and it’s the best decision I’ve done so far! That trip totally changed everything I thought about what I was able to do as an indivifual. The trip lasted only for a week, but during that week I got to know the most amazing people and when we left back home, I could not have been more sad and happy at the same time. How can strangers get to know each other that well in such a short time?

    Here in Finland people are so cold, quiet and introverted. They don’t say hello to strangers, they don’t help a stranger ect. It was so different in Scotland – I hurted my leg and almost every other person walking past me stopped to ask if I was OK. My mates even carried me from hotel to school and back! 😀 That was totally new to me and travelling back to Finland made me feel like “how can I ever live here again?”. I love Finland, but this is the one big thing I hate about it and which makes me really want to go back.

    Anyway, I’m actually planning a trip to Dublin – I’ve been there once but that was years ago with my family so this time it’s different. I want to thank you for this awesome story – it made me feel like was once again in Scotland, wich again made me dream about a new tour! I never believed I could manage to do something like that all alone, ’cause I’ve always been quite depending on other people, but now after reading all this I actually think I can. And will! <3
    Ronja recently posted…Yksin maailmalle – matkahaaveiluaMy Profile

    • The Lost Londoner says

      Thank you so much for your comment. I am completely on your level here in regards to how open and friendly people can be whilst travelling. In London nobody even looks at each other, and if anybody speaks to me I think they’re going to rob me, it’s horrible. The way people communicate in the travelling community is how the world should be – open and friendly.

      I wish you the best time in Dublin and encourage you to go it alone because you will have a fantastic time. Even after this journey I’m on now, my first solo trip in Dublin will always go down as one of the best turning points of my life so far.

      Thanks so much for stopping by the blog.

  17. says

    My first ever solo trip was just last December in Brussels and Berlin! I thought it was a pretty bittersweet experience because

    1) You can do whatever the hell you want without having to compromise with friends or travel buddies
    2) You can see and experience what you want; basically freedom and responsibility to pilot your plans
    3) Sometimes being on your own is scary/uncomfortable/boring/lonely so it’s either you force yourself to get up and make your day awesome or wallow in your own loneliness
    4) You have way too much time on your hands to the point of thinking far too much (sometimes I felt like I really needed to speak to my friends or boyfriend so I’d just call them up or chat with them for hours to make myself feel better).

    It was interesting to see things on my own and make judgments on things solely based on my knowledge and opinions, and not get influenced by others. I understood myself even more! Yeah, I liked solo-travel but I don’t know if I could do it for a whole year continuously. I’m a bit socially-challenged so speaking to strangers takes up a lot of energy and brain power!

    I enjoyed my experience regardless and am going on a solo trip again this weekend! :)

    • The Lost Londoner says

      All of those points you’ve made are true. I personally don’t ‘wallow in loneliness” but chose to occasionally enjoy my own company as it’s very rare. I think some people view being on your own as a very negative thing, as this isn’t so. Being alone is whatever you make it for yourself mentally. If you tell yourself it’s bad then it’s bad. The thinking too much thing is very true. I think about the strangest things on night buses, sometimes my entire future is played out in my head like some sort of romance novel.

      Fair enough if you find it difficult to speak with strangers. I find I can’t stop getting strangers to speak with me haha. I would love to know how your trip goes

  18. laura says

    Hey Kate!

    Wow thanks!
    This is exactly what i needed!
    I love to travel alone but i wasn’t sure about Dublin.
    Just booked my tickets yesterday (for only 44 euro in total! Yeey Ryan air!) and booked at the Times Hostel aswell!
    I wasn’t really sure if i would have fun at night since i’m going alone and going for a drink as a woman by yourself sounds like challenge. But you convinced me!
    Hopefully i’ll meet some people in the hostel like you did and maybe i’ll sign up for a pub crawl.

    Laura

    • The Lost Londoner says

      I went alone and ended up going out with some guys from the host and having a great time, just always keep your wits about you obviously! Hope you have a fantastic time!

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