“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal” – Robin S. Sharma
Being a traveler has always been a fantasy, I would spend my days just daydreaming of being in exotic destinations, breathing different air and just being observant of my surroundings while simultaneously having the time of my life. I mean, if we are being real, we all actually dream of that. To be honest, what motivated me to travel was reading my blogs and practicing what I preach – my blogs are all about ‘going for it’, ‘taking care of yourself’, ‘doing what you love’ and ‘making things happen for yourself’. Well, you don’t even have to read my blogs to know what I blog about, it’s all in the name too – Budding Regardless. So when I was making travel plans I just told myself that I have to stick to them no matter what, even if that means going alone – let’s go for it. And that’s exactly what I have started doing.
I was lucky enough to have my first solo trip paid for. So when I was asked where I wanted to go, I kinda immediately thought of Philadelphia because of it’s close proximity to New York (2h30min) and the interesting sights to see in this city. The only thing I had to stress about is making my solo trip comfortable, easy and fun.
Generally, traveling is associated with family, friends and lovers and since that is the norm it makes traveling alone a taboo concept for some. Well, in a sense I guess it also depends on what kind of person you are – some of my friends and family wouldn’t travel alone because that’s weird and scary but when I told them I will be traveling alone they didn’t ask questions or worried about me and those who are finding out now that I was actually alone in Philadelphia probably aren’t surprised either.
I had about 10 days to put together an itinerary (a planned route or journey) and I had planned to make this a ‘walking trip’, I wanted to walk to all the places I wanted to see and avoid getting an Uber (this is not something you have to do). I carefully created my itinerary, I committed myself to it and ticked off everything on the list in one day. I started off at the One Liberty Observation Deck (amazing views of Philly), then headed to the City Hall (which is the tallest building in the world that has a statue on top of it), then I went to the Magic Gardens, Spruce Street Harbor Park, Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Elfreth’s Alley, Franklin Square, Chinatown, Reading Terminal Market, LOVE Park and finished off at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Yes, all of that in one day! Yes, alone! Yes, walking! I pretty much walked the whole city and found myself back where I started.
My trip was such a success because I had planned everything perfectly prior to actually going to Philly so I have put together some tips on how I managed to do this and I hope it helps and inspires you to take that first solo adventure too…
1. Mentally prepare yourself
Give yourself at least 2 weeks to process the fact that you are going away alone, remind yourself everyday and try to stay excited about it.
2. Do thorough research about your destination.
Know interesting facts about it, sights to see and places to eat. This will also contribute in keeping you excited and looking forward to the trip.
3. Familiarize yourself with Google maps
Every now and then, zoom in and out on Maps and locate the places you would like to see and you can even measure how far one place is from another and write it down so that you know how many sights you can see in one day and what mode of transportation to use.
4. Choose your accommodation wisely
Since it is your first time traveling alone, I highly advise you stay in a hotel instead of a hostel or Airbnb. Be somewhere you know for a fact that you will be relaxed and comfortable in, just in case you get overwhelmed, change your mind and feel like staying in throughout your whole trip – a hotel is a perfect place to stay-in and just Netflix and chill.
5. Make it a learning experience
One way to make the most out of traveling alone is setting a goal to learn. Go there to observe people’s behaviors and compare your expectations to the reality, just be on the lookout and you will be surprised about how many things you notice and those little things will give you fascinating stories to tell when you go back home.
That’s it for now,
Click here to watch my Highlights from Philadelphia