On the day I ended my long term relationship with my then partner and my job, I booked my ticket, packed my bags and set off on a four month backpacking trip of Europe. Long term relationships with someone who isn’t right for you can change the way you think and you can lose sight of the person you once were. This is where I found myself on that fateful day. Ending that relationship and the life I once knew I set off for Europe with two outcomes in mind, I would either change my life, find myself and become the person I knew I could be or I would come home the same as when I left but knowing I at least gave it a go. I am glad to say it was the former. 2017 became the year I found myself, changed my life and become the confident, mostly happy person I am today. Here are my reasons why a solo Europe trip should be the first thing you are booking after a breakup;
You learn to rely on yourself, not others.
2017 was the year I learnt to rely on no one but myself. Whether it was booking that first ticket, taking myself out for a nice meal or simple learning to love myself I learnt to do it all on my own. Learning that you no longer need a plus one can help with relationships down the track, you will become stronger, put yourself first and by loving yourself, it makes it much easier for everyone else to love you too.
Travel makes you your most authentic self
I remember sitting in a little hostel on the coast of France, speaking to fellow travellers who although I just met them felt like I had know them my whole life when one of the girls says ‘I don’t understand why, but I seem to find myself connecting with people more in Europe than I have in my whole life’. I turn to her and I go, the answer is quite simple, ‘every one travelling in Europe are all here doing the same things as you, you’ve met your tribe. No one is hiding behind a mask, we all know we may never see each other again so we say what we feel, do what we want and truly let ourselves be ourselves. You’re your most authentic self’ As I said the words, I knew them to be true. It was at this point I realised I was exactly myself, no preconceived notions, not thinking how I should be acting and simple just being myself.
You’ll know what you’re capable of
In four months I conquered a lot of my fears, from jumping off a cliff and into the sky, to being completely unorganised, alone and sleeping in rooms which were, well sub par (more on hostel life a bit later). I learnt so much about myself and what I was truly capable of. You stop living in fear and become this person that can do anything.
You will learn how to be alone
I am sure I speak for most of us when I say, it is not easy to be alone. Being alone can be one of the hardest things in life as it forces you to think about all the things that get pushed to the back of your mind while you’re with people. Although at times, travelling you will find yourself surrounded by people you will also find yourself completely alone. Their were times on my trip which were the loneliest times of my life but I found in these moments, as I sat and reflected on life I also found clarity. It was in these hours I found out the most about myself and now, I find myself wishing to be alone as I learnt to ease my mind of everything that troubles it.
You will begin to live more in the moment
I have always been that person that planned every aspect of their life. Every holiday was booked weeks, if not months in advance and my journal was filled with life goals, aspirations and planning. Everyday started with a to do list and every weekend was scheduled. It was exhausting, especially after I was getting older and realising I was not where I wanted to be at this point in my life. I left for Europe without booking my first few nights of accommodation until the morning I left on the plane and I spent the next four months in that same mindset. It became the very thing I needed in life. I learnt to live more in the moment, I always said yes to new adventures and found myself spending days doing things I never would have if I planned the trip out before I left, and you know what? Everything worked out! Sure, there were days I woke up, had nowhere to stay that night and not even sure where I what city I was off to next but it made me realise I was completely ok with that.