Solo Travel in Europe

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A while back a friend proposed the idea of me traveling alone. I thought the idea was crazy and dismissed it. I was in my young twenties and was honestly too scared. 2007 rolled around and I decided to take a trip back to Italy. My first since studying abroad. I brought two of my best friends along to show them some of my favorite parts of Italy. This is when I first started waking up early to photograph. I thought this would be a good way to explore the city solo and get out of my comfort zone. To my surprise my two friends willingly woke up early to join me. I was happy to have them along but still wanted the experience of being alone in a city. They could sense that I wanted to stay in Italy since I had been talking about how much I loved my time abroad. At one point they both encouraged me to just stay and not come come. That would be crazy I thought… or would it be?

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Either way the seed had been planted knowing that I had the support of two of my best friends. I lost my job shortly after in 2008 and really wanted to follow my passion for being a travel photographer. Sometimes its other things that push you outside of your comfort zone. I have always been grateful for that little push. What did I have to loose? It took me a while to figure out my footing how I was going to make it happen and in the end of 2009 I decided I was going to go to Paris. Yes my family thought I was crazy but once I get an idea in my head its hard to let go of it. So I started planning. This was just a short trip 10 days total but my first solo trip abroad. I went using unemployment money and airline miles from my previous job. I did a lot of research on an inexpensive hotel and booked a ticket.

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My high school French teacher taught us how to use the metro and it all came back to me. This was my first photo as my arrival to Paris back in 2010. I remember it vividly. I was so excited to explore and can’t remember being nervous at all. I photographed the city from morning to night for a total of 8 days. I learned to much about the city by walking and exploring. Everything was new and exciting. I remember walking around the eiffel tower and thinking ” I wonder what it would be like to live here and be inspired by this every day?” That of course planted a seed to my move to Paris in 2013. After the trip I came back to Chicago and started really working on my etsy shop posting photographs and selling them. I can’t say it was overnight it took a little while to figure things out but by the following year I was completely on my own financially as a travel photographer. That was a lot scarier than going to Paris solo.

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When I talk to friends and strangers about solo travel the first thing they mention is fear. It can definately be scary going outside your comfort zone. The next couple posts I will talk about Staying safe while traveling, eating alone, perks of traveling solo and more. I would love to know your thoughts have you traveled alone? Love it or hate it? If you haven’t what’s holding you back?

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27 thoughts on “Solo Travel in Europe

  1. Catherine Johnson

    I au-paired in Paris and had a couple of dodgy experiences but for the most part it was incredible. So different from being a tourist.

  2. Janice

    My first trip alone was to Switzerland. Since than I have travel to many places solo. I love to walk around and explore with my camera.

  3. originaltitle

    I’ve traveled a lot, but never solo. I have taken long car trips by myself, but always met people on the other side. I did enjoy those long car trips alone, though. Sometimes it was hard to stay awake, sometimes I just called people because I was lonely, but the good parts were that I could stop anywhere I wanted, drive as slow or as fast as I felt like, eat at whatever restaurant I fancied. It led to a lot of great self-discovery. I wish I had traveled Europe alone, but perhaps there’s still time for that. Sounds like you’ve had an incredible journey. I can’t wait to read your next posts. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Rebecca Plotnick Post author

      Thank you so much! Driving solo can be fun too. I love to drive in summer with the windows down listening to music. Its great thinking time. I hope you get the chance to get to Europe and travel solo if its something you want to do 🙂

  4. Darina

    never traveled alone abroad but I often go alone for an one day city trip. I love it! Maybe in the future I will travel alone abroad, looking forward to your further posts about it!

  5. Deb Thompson (@newjetsetters)

    Hi Rebecca – so lovely to connect after finding you through jentemple on Instagram. I love the passion, excitement and adventurous tone that rings through your words and your photography. I love this post. I hope you will come to explore my travel website and also join me on my other social media channels. I don’t sell anything, I just write and post my articles under newjetsetters.com because it is a passion for both my husband and I. We also publish our own luxury travel magazine called New Jetsetters Gloss. Our last issue was all about France – if you’d be interested in the link please let me know. I don’t want to spam you! So great to meet you!

  6. Sugar and Bloom

    Love this… during my time working for an airline, I travelled more than I ever had. I used to wait for my friends at airports & streets even park benches in the middle of nowhere! Turkey, Thailand, Paris, London, Fiji… Never had a worry. Loved it! I think that feeling comes with being young, free & a feeling of wanting to explore, to see what’s out there. The moment I had my little boy, that all changed. I have troubles flying to Queensland let alone Paris. I have fears now & I just can’t seem to escape my beautiful home, my ‘safe harbour’. Perhaps when my child gets older I will travel again, not on my own but love watching others do it. xo @sugarndbloom

    1. Rebecca Plotnick Post author

      So great to hear from you! You are lucky to have lived a part of life full of adventure. I believe life is full of chapters and being a mom and staying in your safe harbour is exactly where you need to be right now. When the time is right you will show your child the world and explore together! Thank you for sharing! xo

  7. Inca

    Hi Rebecca! I’m a new wordpress blogger and I stumbled upon your blog when searching for photography blogs to follow and I’m glad I picked yours! This solo travel story of yours really inspired me! I’ve never even thaught of travelling solo before. This was a great read and it really made me interested in photography aswell. How did you get into photography and wat sources did you use to understand what the different camera functions are like ISO and shutter speed etc? I really want to get into photography, but I know nothing about composition etc and all that. Cheers!

  8. maxeweber

    I’ve tried traveling on my own earlier this year. I was sceptical at first and before the trip but yout never know if you never try, right? I had a great time learning to surf in Portugal. Perfect opprotunity to make new friends and experience new things 🙂

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