Panther at large: Traveling solo

Last week, I made a very detailed itinerary for myself to make sure I had every address, phone number and boarding pass ready for my trip to Italy. I would be covering three cities in five days, and I would be getting there by myself.

Though I met up with friends in Florence and Milan, I took planes, trains and buses alone to get there. My friends headed to the south of Italy—Rome—and I headed to Florence to spend time with a friend who studies there. And though my vacation was spent with people, I spent a lot of time managing by myself.

And, actually, I learned a lot about myself. I can speak French very well with strangers and when I am lost. I tend to be very early when I am by myself for fear of missing a train or a plane and having no one with me to help solve the problem. I love talking to strangers from different countries (even if the language barrier is so bad that we only smile at each other and point at things—that happened to me on my train from Pisa to Milan). When I am away from home, I always feel like I need to be writing and documenting every moment of my travels. And I didn’t realize how much French I actually knew until I landed in Italy and couldn’t understand anything anyone said. I said «non Italiano» more times than I can count.

At the end, when I flew into Paris and saw the Eiffel Tower out my window, I was thankful that I had a successful experience traveling in Italy all alone. I met the most interesting people; caught all my trains, planes and buses, and had an amazing time touring three fantastic cities with the best people.

Everyone should travel alone—even if it’s just a weekend away to a neighboring city. You’re forced to talk to so many people and try so many new things, and, in the end, you learn more about the world than you thought you would.