Traveling solo

Personal

Edit: I can see that I started writing this post December 19th 2015. This was after my first solo trip traveling to Portugal. I remember feeling almost embarrassed back then to say that I was traveling on my own. Oh how things have changed. I then continued writing almost three years ago before I headed to Sri Lanka on a five weeks solo trip. Lastly I edited the post after returning from my solo trip to Turkey last summer. For some odd reason I never posted it, but now here it is. 

“Who are you going with?” Time after time this is one of the first questions I get asked when talking about a new trip I’m planning. “Myself” I answer proudly.  An answer that’s usually reciprocated with a nervous smile. Some people flat out ask “Why!?”
Others say something like; “Oh… but.. you’re going with a group right? .. Or an agency?” When the answer to that question is “No,” the nervous smile turns into a weird look, and so the explaining begins..

To me traveling solo is the feeling of complete freedom, strength and independence.

Each time I feel happy when traveling alone it is a different kind of intense happiness than other people can give me. It’s happiness completely created from within, and experiencing that I am capable of feeling that kind of happiness solely brought upon by myself, brings me the strongest feeling of content.

The happiest of campers after completing a challenging hike all on my own through caves in Cappadocia, Turkey

Solo traveling is done by many, but questioned by even more. Nonetheless it is something I have come to love. I might even say I’ve gotten addicted to it.
Each trip is a growing experience, and every time I connect with a foreign stranger I get an exhilarating feeling. In the strangest way, traveling alone makes me feel more alive. This feeling is mostly derived from becoming friends with people holding a different nationality. It makes me feel both wildly excited and incredibly calm to know that all around the world are friendships waiting to be had.

When I travel alone I experience everything more intensely, and I get to know myself better. I push boundaries, move outside of my comfort zone and each time I reach a new destination, I start over from square one.

Every solo trip start out with me being nervous. “What have I done?” “Why am I doing this?” are just few among the many questions that runs through my mind when I am at the airport, waiting impatiently to board the aircraft.
Traveling alone is not easy peasy flowers and butterflies. There’s no one to hold your spot in the two hour long service desk line you’re forced to wait in when you missed your connecting flight and you’re two mili seconds and a rain drop from peeing your pants. There’s no one to help you out when you’re five minutes from the airport and realise that you forgot your passport at the hostel you were staying at (yes, this really happened…). There’s also no one to look after you late at night when a person is following you on the way back to your hostel, somehow appearing at every corner even though you continuously make the weirdest turns. These are few among many issues that you potentially have to deal with all by yourself. There are lonely moments and moments when things go wrong and I’d do anything to have a travel buddy by my side, but they are few and far between.

Another question I often face is “aren’t you going to get sick of your own company?” To be quite honest, I think I am the only person in the world I could spend 24/7 alone with for five weeks without getting sick of my own company. I kind of have to be able to do that. And truthfully, each time I travel alone, I find myself being surrounded by more people than if I had been traveling with a friend. You meet so many new people – new friends – from all over the world.

I’ve come to know incredible souls from Canada, Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Russia, Holland, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Turkey, Germany, Spain and so many other countries. These might not all be people whom I stay in touch with on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis, but if I ever visit their country I’ll be sure to stop by to give them a hug and share a bottle of wine. Just as they all know that if they ever come across Copenhagen, they’ll have a place to stay and a tour guide at their disposal.

“Those who fly solo have the strongest wings” said a quote I once read. Now, I believe that nothing is stronger than the bond two people, whom have chosen each other, share, but to further strengthen that bond, I truly think that it is paramount to know that you are able to “fly” on your own, without having someone ready to catch you if you break a wing. If you ask me, traveling solo is something everyone should do at least once in their life.

I don’t intend to always fly solo, to always travel alone, but for now it is undoubtedly my favorite way to explore, experience and grow. Little by little. Trip by trip.

So please don’t make me explain.

// Annika

And so another year has come to an end

Personal, Travels

2017 felt like a year of few travels, but after going over the trips I went on I have to admit that that is complete nonsense. I guess I feel that way because 2016 was so insanely filled with travels that any year following that had a whole lot to live up to. 

January 1st I woke up with some of my best friends in New York City in a beautiful apartment on the 44th floor after ringing in the New Year in a warehouse in Brooklyn. 

In April I journeyed to China with an amazing coworker/friend of mine, a trip that turned out to be one of the best I’ve been on. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced as much in 10 days as I did on that trip. 

In May I travelled to London to visit family. I had only visited London when I was a little kid, so this trip felt like my first London experience and I fell in love with the city. It has so much more charm than I had expected. 

I moved in to a new apartment in one of my favorite areas in Copenhagen in the beginning of the year, why I decided to stay home for the summer and relax completely and just take in what Denmark had to offer. Despite the fact that it was a historical bad summer weather wise I had an absolutely amazing summer filled with best friends and festivals. In August I left the country shortly for a Swedish festival where I got to see a bit of Gothenburg and a few of my favorite artist. 

In September I was back in London on a trip with my favorite coworkers to try the Gin Experience at the Portobello Road Ginstitute. Once again London had me. 

In September I also went on an incredible weekend trip to Iceland. A country I hadn’t visited before (other than countless layovers at the airport). It blew me away and I’ve decided to return on a two-week trip sometimes soon. 

In November I travelled to New York to visit a bunch of my high school friends. I had an amazing week in the city that never sleeps. I stayed with my friends in their apartment, so for a week I got the true New Yorker feeling and actually ended up feeling like I had moved in. It was perfect. 

In November I also went on the infamous “Oslo båden;” a ferry that sails from Copenhagen to Oslo over the weekend, leaving you with seven hours to explore Oslo. A full weekend in Oslo would’ve been perfect, but despite the short amount of time I got to see quite a lot of the city. The main attraction for me was seeing the beautiful opera house. 

In December I went on a short weekend trip to Malmø in Sweden. Malmø is the third largest city in Sweden and is just a short 40 minute train ride from Copenhagen, making it a perfect trip if you don’t have too much time on your hand but still want to leave the country. The city is very cute and cozy and I’m in love with the area out by the Turning Torso building where you have a view over Copenhagen and the Øresund Bridge. 

All in all it’s been an incredible year of travels. Traveling and experiencing other countries is still without a doubt my biggest interest and I feel incredibly blessed that I am able to travel as much as I have been. 

For 2018 I definitely want to go on at least one trip by myself, something I didn’t do in 2017. 

I’ve started dreaming about my trips of 2018 and am currently thinking the following:

– A trip to Turkey in the spring. I want to spend a few days in Istanbul and then go to Cappadocia to hike and fly in a hot air balloon. 

– A trip to Nicaragua in the summer where I want to work at a surf and yoga hostel so I can get back to surfing on the daily. Potentially this trip could be mixed with a stopover in Costa Rica 

– A weekend trip to Budapest have been on my list for way too long, so I’m thinking 2018 is also the year where I get to experience the city

– A trip or two to the United States. My best American friend is throwing a wedding so ideally I’ll be visiting for both the wedding and the bachelorette party 

In 2016 I made a deal with myself that I have to go on at least three weekend trips, which also makes room for two other European cities on that list. Maybe Edinburg and Vienna? Who knows. 

Knowing myself I know very well that what’s on the drawing board today probably won’t be in a few months, but for now those are the trips I’m dreaming about. 

Also my life is going to change radically in 2018 as I’ll return to school and thus put life with a steady income behind me, so to make all of these trips happen I’ll have to get real creative.

I can’t wait to see what places 2018 takes me to. 
// Annika