I traveled to 3 countries solo (Greece, Italy, and The Netherlands.) I made it back alive. I didn’t get kidnapped, hurt, robbed or anything that you’ve heard about. No travel group, no cruise ship, just me, myself, and I with an open heart and open mind ! I must say that it was incredible and I’m still on cloud 9 from the magical experience. So i’d love to share some of the journey with you all and answer the questions I’ve received ! Many have asked how did I end up going alone. I was originally going with a friend that found out she couldn’t go a week before departure. Initially I was so hurt then after talking with friends and getting God’s confirmation I decided to go alone and it was the single best decision I could’ve ever made !
This was my first time traveling out of the country and the idea of being alone initially freaked me out but honestly God sent me all of the right people along the way ! I met someone on the plane headed to Italy and after expressing to him that it was my first time out of the country and that I was alone everything he said after that completely dissolved my fears. I never expressed that I was scared or nervous and all he did was share his first international experience with me and just by hearing that I felt completely at ease. He was from Egypt and came to America to work and that alone was inspiring! I figured if he could come to another country and survive I can definitely last for 2 weeks ! So I’m beyond thankful for him! We’ll be friends for life !
Below are questions I received with the answers!
Q: What are the pros of traveling alone ?
A: It is beyond relaxing. I was able to really enjoy every single moment and do whatever came to mind. At night I got to really soak it all in and hear my own thoughts and it was unbelievably amazing ! It gave me the opportunity to meet so many new people !! When I travel with friends a lot of times I’m just glued to them. So I loved that I was easily approachable and able to meet so many friends ! Another pro was it forced me to improve my sense of direction. I didn’t have anyone to rely on for directions and I loved that because a good sense of direction has always been a goal of mine ! It was also so empowering to travel alone. I felt so unstoppable the entire time. I kept telling myself if I can do this, what can’t I do?
Q: What are the cons of traveling alone? I needed someone to tie and zip up my outfits in the morning. Lol No, but seriously I had a ton of cute outfits that I needed help with. In the beginning, I had a wardrobe malfunction or two but I made it work ! Another con is I couldn’t doze off for a moment on the train or the subway. I ended up at the wrong stop a few times since I didn’t have anyone to nudge me at the destination. Another con is sometimes you wish you had a friend there that knew your angles and good lighting to avoid bad pictures.
Q: “Have you gotten lonely ? I fear that I would get sad wanting to share the experience with someone special.”
A: Surprisingly, I didn’t get lonely. I was surrounded by so many beautiful couples. One of the places I visited was Santorini, Greece, a place where many discouraged because it’s known to be a honeymoon town but I don’t regret it at all. It was so inspiring to see so many celebrating love. I desire marriage and that showed me how possible it is ! Im single for now and I enjoy my own company so being alone was a treat ! Lol I didn’t feel like I was missing a thing. I remember going on vacations in a relationship in the past and feeling extremely lonely and this experience was the complete opposite! Pure bliss from beginning to end. Always remember a person is never the solution for loneliness.
Q: Did I use a travel agency?
A: I didn’t. I booked my flights through cheapflights.com they have great deals ! I stayed in Airbnb’s which saved money and the hosts gave me suggestions on things to see and places to go and I followed that ! Whenever I would get lost I would discover something amazing and that’s how my days went.
Helpful Travel Tips
1. Don’t spend a ton of money on clothes. Especially if you’re spontaneous like me. I randomly decidedly to hike up a volcano in sandals and a dress. Dress got destroyed but I met the best people along the way !
2. Convert some money before you travel to avoid and/or reduce excessive charges by the ATM & your financial institution .
3. Use the public transportation. My first day I used a taxi and once I realized I could’ve gotten there for 1/10 of the price I was like never again. Lol I also really enjoyed the public transportation systems because everyone is so helpful, you meet so many people, and you get to really see how life is for them and even feel how life is for them like in this picture. Lol
4. Talk to strangers. I know, we’ve been conditioned to not talk to strangers and we’ve been fed horrific stories by news outlets but don’t let that scare you. Use discretion and talk to people. You see the world through traveling, reading, and meeting people from different places. So don’t let fear rob you of that experience.
4. Take sunscreen and stay hydrated especially if you travel to Rome during late July. The heat was something different there ! This is my foot after 2 days !
5. Pack light. You don’t need 4 outfits and 3 pair of shoes per day. You’ll want to pack light because carrying a huge suitcase all over town is no joke ! Many of the Airbnb’s didn’t have elevators. Let’s just say I got a very intense workout in !
6. Stay in air bnb’s with a super host if you can. They offer tons of suggestions and are extremely helpful and hospitable. My host made me coffee and breakfast each morning and it was wonderful ! I will miss Shelly dearly !!
7. Don’t just sightsee ! Really immerse yourself in the culture. Have dinner with a family, stop by a small local coffee shop with minimal tourists and chit chat for an hour. That’s what I did and although I didn’t understand much of the conversation it was an incredible experience and I felt like I was with family !
So here are two major things I learned :
The time will never be just right. I always wanted to travel alone but was waiting for the right time. We have to stop waiting and just go for it. We don’t even know how long we will be here. In life we do so much waiting, we wait to start school, we wait to finish, we wait to get married, we wait to have kids, we wait for them to grow up, we wait to launch businesses, we wait until we’re comfortable we wait for so many things and life ends up being a constant cycle of waiting. If you want to be happy you will have to stop waiting. The life and sense of fulfillment you want is on the other side of not waiting !
It taught me how to be fearless, how to trust God entirely and see the best possible outcome in every situation. There was a time when my phone was completely submerged in water. I was in the middle of nowhere completely alone and I felt nothing but pure tranquility. I did not have a single worry or concern and in that moment I realized that my trust was completely in God and I was committed to only seeing the best possible outcome in every situation. That is a mindset that I brought back with me and I’ll never let it leave.
So if you have doubts about traveling solo I want you to name all of the things that could go wrong and then I want you to name a list twice as long of all of the things that could go right!
If fear is holding you back, identify what your fears stem from. Keep in mind that fear is an illusion and is typically rooted in our environment. Our fears rarely stem from our own experiences but the experiences and beliefs of the people around us. We are born fearless. So I challenge you to reshape your perception of fear and revert back to your original fearless and powerful mindset that you were born with!
So my final piece of advice for anyone considering traveling alone is to go for it and be open to it being way better than you imagined and keep in mind that ALL things work together for good not some.
I love you ! Thanks for reading ! 💛
Below are a few of my favorite pictures ! 🙂 more pictures and videos can be found in my highlights on my Instagram : jamilahzshabazz
(Oia, Santorini, Greece)