Home » Why My First Solo Travel Experience Was Better Than I Expected

Why My First Solo Travel Experience Was Better Than I Expected

I have just returned from spending 5 days abroad in Lisbon. The experience as a whole has completely changed my outlook on travel and how much fun it can be to do it alone. I have come back a lot more open to new experiences and seeing that you really can have anything you want for your life. You tend to hear a lot about how life-changing solo travel can be but I don’t think it’s something you can properly get a grasp of until you try it for yourself. Going into it I really didn’t have high expectations. I was eager to get away and wanted to challenge myself and I think that made the experience all the more exciting!

Firstly, shoutout to Moksha (Happy Panda) for recommending a walking tour to kick off the trip! It was a great way to familiarise myself with the city and get to see some of the sites at the same time. I think what can put people off from a solo trip is thinking you will be isolated from others. But there are so many activities much like this one you can experience as part of a group, and more than likely will find other travelers just like you.

lisbon streets

After my first full day in Lisbon, I did a Portuguese cooking class which was out of this world! If you find yourself in Portugal it’s definitely something I would recommend doing. It’s more than likely codfish will be on the menu, given its their national dish and comes in many different varieties – great if you love fish!

codfish

Learning about the food and culture when you visit a country is so interesting and can inspire your cooking for when you return home. There were only two of us in the class so it felt a bit more intimate and hands-on which is good if you are serious about learning. We hit it off and ended up going for drinks later in the week too which was so lovely!

There’s so much to see and do in and around Lisbon, it can feel like there isn’t enough time to do it all. I guess as with any trip you have to focus on what you want to get out of it the most. The city itself isn’t too far away from some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, and with the warm weather, I decided to take advantage.

I took a day trip to Arrabida Natural Park which is a remote beach destination about 45 mins away from Lisbon. We did a mix of canoeing, exploring caves, snorkeling, and swimming. I don’t think I had anticipated what I signed up for as it was physically quite tough, but it was one of the best experiences of my life! I met some great people and topped the day off with a picnic and homemade wine it was definitely a day to remember.

Eating meals alone was one of the things I felt particularly anxious about. While I have spent considerable time in my own company already, for me I always viewed dinner as more of a social event. But as the week went on I really started to enjoy watching the world go by around me and just appreciate my own company. I think solo travel really helps you to relax and embrace who you are. It was also exciting to get ready and put on a nice outfit for myself (though heels are not the one in Lisbon).

Between walking what felt like the entire face of the city multiple times, eating great food, making friends and enjoying my own company. Taking this little adventure was one of the best things I have ever done. I’m so excited for more to come in the future and am already looking to book my next trip. If you are hesitating about trying solo travel for the first time, I encourage you to take a leap and do it! If anything you will get to know yourself more which can only be a good thing.

Have you considered solo travel or is it something you have done regularly in the past? I would love to hear!

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18 thoughts on “Why My First Solo Travel Experience Was Better Than I Expected

  1. Congratulations, and looking forward to your series on that! 🙂

    Ah yes, a trip to Lisbon isn’t complete without bacalhau (their term for codfish). The egg tarts (pasteis de nata) are also a must-try!

      1. On a side note, you look brighter in your picture! (I mean it figuratively.) Traveling to a new place gives you a better mood, breaking your usual monotony!

      2. Thank you, just noting an observation haha! Your aura there is a far cry from your earlier posts about dealing with depression, so it’s refreshing to know that a new environment worked wonders. 🙂

        Well, I’m planning to go back to Singapore and check out the rest of the island (two trips aren’t enough), but unfortunately — leisure travelers from the Philippines are still banned in the Little Red Dot.

      3. True that! Gotta love that nation’s discipline, efficiency and cleanliness!

        I’ve actually blogged about my earlier trips there in 2017 and 2019, if you want references. 🙂

    1. It a big thing for anyone to do and I felt exactly the same only a short time ago.. it can help to start off small and take yourself on dates and spend more time in your own company that way you are easing yourself in. It also doesn’t have to be a big adventure even an overnight stay somewhere new can be liberating!

  2. Lovely thoughts on solo travelling. I love solo travelling, and even enjoy eating alone. But that’s maybe because I usually have distractions like a book, so it’s easy to tune out the anxious thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. It’s almost as if I’m living vicariously through you in these posts.

    1. Thank you so much Stuart, I love to hear how much others like yourself enjoy it too. I did find myself reaching for my phone a few times but would definitely welcome reading a book in these times in the future. Have you managed to travel recently?

      1. I haven’t 🙁 My passport’s expired and I can’t even address THAT issue since we’re still in the 10,000+ cases per day level.

  3. Really glad to hear that your first solo travel experience went great! Sometimes eating alone can be hard, especially when the food is so good that you want to share it with someone. But I always found people watching while I ate fun and interesting, creating scenarios and backstories in my head. Reading your post, I’m really looking forward to the next time I’m able to travel once again. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It certainly becomes easier the more you do it and so much of the discomfort exists only in our minds. Here’s to hoping it won’t be much longer and the world is fully back open. Thanks for reading!

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