The Power of Solo Travel
The Power of Solo Travel by Zoe Alexiades
As an eighteen-year-old straight out of high school, I never thought a three-month solo Europe trip would be on the cards. A few years, a lot of experience and many dollars later, I have returned from exactly that: a three-month trip of a lifetime. I left Melbourne with a suitcase and a backpack and a rough itinerary of the next two months. Who knew that I would extend my trip by another three weeks, forming some extraordinary friendships and exploring some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
I was lucky enough to travel to Venice and Prato, in Italy, where I studied for five weeks. I also travelled to alone to Milan, where I explored the art and design scene, before travelling to Florence, Rome, Slovenia, Athens and Paris, with friends. I then started a tour alone, which covered over ten cities in Central and Eastern Europe and explored the West a little too. This was a little daunting as I knew lots of people would have gone with a group or in a pair. Meeting up with my sister in Munich for Christmas Eve was a highlight, as well as spending some time alone in Paris, where I was able to reflect on my travels before flying home. Another favourite moment from the trip was meeting up with my cousin and uncle in Athens, who I had not seen in over six years. Finally on the way home was a whirlwind stop-over in Beijing, where I met up with some past workmates and had an absolute feast: the perfect end to my trip.
Before departing, I was a little nervous about the safety aspects of travelling alone as a young woman. However, I found that staying in hostels and making friends with other young tourists who were in the same boat was a great method to staying safe.
Most of all, solo travel and interacting with people from all walks of life, both locals and tourists, taught me to appreciate what I have at home. The little things. I’m so lucky to live in Australia and be able to drink fresh water straight out of the tap, to have clean beaches that are safe to swim in nearby, to have toilets that flush properly, to have clean streets and clear blue skies. I’m lucky to have a strong and supportive family, the opportunity to access education, and the chance to write in this magazine and share my experience with you. Solo travel makes you grateful, it makes you appreciative, and it opens your eyes to all those who aren’t as lucky and who don’t have the same opportunities we do here in a country like Australia.
I am lucky and grateful for the adventures I’ve been on. Now to plan the next one!