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?
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.
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.
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?