I have taken my first, semi solo travelling experience. A friend who works as a holiday rep in Garda town, on the lake of Garda, in northern Italy invited me to visit her, and so I took a plane on my own and found my way to her for a holiday. I count it as semi solo as I did travel on my own and the most part of the days I spent there were on my own as my friend did her holiday rep thing, but obviously, she was around sometimes, excluding me from complete isolation.
I didn’t mind being on my own to be perfectly honest; I actually preferred it to hanging out with my friends workmates. These people are in their own little bubble, contained within the confines of their work. Being a holiday rep is their life, cut off from constant, immediate access to the world and it’s news; dealing with their holidaymakers, and living off the gossip of other reps (whilst I was there it was the scandal of one guy cheating on his girlfriend back in England with another holiday rep girl). As an outsider to this world, it felt a little exclusive and something I didn’t actually want to be a part off; reps getting drunk and gossiping is too cliché, and not something I am interested in.
Holiday reps aside, I spent my days either wondering around admiring the view and browsing the shops, or on the beach reading my book ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Six Other Stories’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald (more on this in another post). I found it very relaxing and was content in my surroundings. I was also very much in the moment, enjoying where I was; I thought I would be overthinking things too much; maybe considering my job options and feeling inadequate at lack of direction in my life at this present moment; I was pleasantly surprised that my mind took a bit of a vacation too.
Moments of anxiousness did occur in my mind briefly at some moments. Coming out of Verona airport after landing, I headed for the taxi rank where the first driver I asked did not speak any English. I only knew a few words in Italian, not enough to get me where I wanted to be, so I was about to turn and find a driver with some level of English, when this first driver got somebody to translate for me where I wanted to go. We were about to set off, when he wanted to know something else, and again got somebody to translate. Sitting in that taxi in silence, with Italian radio blaring in the background, I had a lost in translation moment, wondering if what I told the translator person was what he told the driver, and feeling very inadequate in my new surroundings.
Other bouts of anxiousness occurred in relation to getting home. The flight to Italy was ok, but because it is something I am not used too, I felt a tad terrified sitting in my sit, palms sweaty, stomach flipping. My mind knew I was ok, it was nothing to be scared off, but my body thought otherwise. The idea of a repeat of the plane episode caused my stomach to dance knots when I thought about it and a lack of concrete plans in relation to getting to the airport (my friend said she would take me, depending on numerous things) was not helping. In the end, the plane journey home was actually more enjoyable than the one there as I managed to be a lot calmer about it.
During a little bit of reflection when on the beach, taking in the scenery, I actually questioned whether I was brave in travelling on my own. I consider bravery to be having the courage to do something you wouldn’t normally do. Travelling on my own is not something I have done in the past, but knowing I wouldn’t be in complete isolation, knowing that a familiar face would greet me in Italy, kinda lessens the bravery factor. So maybe a bit 50/50 in the brave stakes but I am still proud of myself for going and not talking myself out of it. And being in a relationship, I like that I have done something without the other half; giving ourselves the chance to miss each other by doing something independent.
I actually feel like I have got my sense of adventure back a little bit. It used to be very strong but recently due to lack of money, the real world, etc, it has been dampened. Sitting on that plane coming home with a flower in my hair, next to this guy in a suit, I felt like the free-spirit I used to be. Looking out across an expanse of cloud with Italian mountains breaking through them I remembered how beautiful the world can be and how precious it and life actually are. I just hope my sense of free-spirit doesn’t fade again now that I am back to the real world.