I haven’t written a whole lot about my upcoming travel plans, aside from my mentions of attending FINCON12 (speaking of which; I need a roommate or I won’t be able to go! Please email me if you’re in the same boat!) Mostly, I haven’t mentioned it because much of it has just been dreaming and half-planning things I would like to do. I’ve been thinking about taking a week or two off this summer to travel. I love travel and one of my primary motivations to get my financial shit together has been an increased freedom and ability to see the world. I feel such excitement when I get the privilege of being able to go somewhere! I realize I am so fortunate.
At first I had a short jaunt planned to NYC with my sister last month, which got cancelled after she had her passport stolen, after that I discussed travelling to Newfound Land with some family members but for various reasons that also, fell through. (It was expensive too) I also talked to long-lost childhood friend from Milan, Italy, this past winter about going to Italy to see Milan and Rome and was invited to stay at their vacation home in Tuscany. How awesome would that be? Meet old friends, and see beautiful Italy too! But that never came together either, perhaps next year.
Left with no summer vacation plans I dreamed of exotic destinations I feared I would never see. But, since I regularly traipse discount airfare websites to dream about faraway places I accidentally found a great deal on airfare at the end of July, almost exactly $1,000 for a return ticket to Europe. I didn’t put much thought into it and booked the flight a couple of weeks ago with no plans for accomodations etc. I was hoping I could go, but wasn’t sure if I would actually make it. Aside from making an attempt to get time off work I haven’t talked about it here or in real life because still, my plans are uncertain.
With my planned travel date getting a little close for comfort today I took advantage of and booked another few deals while planning out my trip. I’m still not 100% certain that I will be able to follow through because of crazy work obligations, but I’ve made my plans and hopefully come next week I’ll get a chance to see a few new places. Yeah, if you’re wondering how I deal with this type of uncertainty in my life being a type-a, slightly ocd, organized geek… not very well at all! It’s 1:30AM and I can’t sleep! Back to the point though…
It took me years to get to this point of just booking a trip and going, without a buddy a sibling or some sort of travel partner. I’m not sure what has held me back, fear, I think mostly. I tried to plan things with friends but too often they fell through and I felt disappointed because I had truly intended to go. While I would love to be going with someone, I’ve realized that travelling by yourself isn’t a bad thing at all. I am independent by nature, have travelled a bit in my young life already and have survived not one but three immigrations. Surely, I can handle travelling through the Western world by myself.
This will be my first, true, solotrip to foreign countries, one of which I don’t speak or even slightly understand the language. I’ll be hitting four countries; Iceland, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. I speak and understand Dutch fluently (it’s my mother tongue) but french, flemmish and icelandic? I might be able to get a few words out in French but my Icelandic is limited to ‘Takk’ which means thank you. Flemmish just baffles me with all their funny words and soft g’s, though I can understand 75% of it because it is a form of Dutch. I’m sure I’ll be fine but it will be interesting!
As for why I chose these countries: Iceland just happened to be included in the itinerary since IcelandAir allows free stopovers on your way to North-America or Europe. This got me googling Iceland and it turns out it’s a place I would love to experience. From Iceland I move on to Belgium, where I hope to indulge in much chocolate and beer and sights, from my single private room at a central hostel. While booking private rooms as a single person is a little bit more expensive than doing the dorm rooms, I’m making it work in my budget by getting discounts on other things. For example. I ran into a deal (hi-speed.nl) where I was able to book a first class train ticket from anywhere in Belgium to anywhere in the Netherlands for 25EUR (which is a steal for a first class 5 hour train journey!) Woohoo! Which allows me to get from Brussels to the very tip in the North of the Netherlands where my place of birth is and where I have family. I chose Belgium because, while I’ve been there passing through, I’ve never really visited as a tourist and I’m curious.
Of course my home, the Netherlands is a given, I will be visiting my grandparents, the primary reason I began thinking of this trip… seeing them before they don’t remember me anymore, as they are getting on in age, and visiting my uncle in my place of birth for a night or two. Ahh and then the UK where I will be for a couple of days during the official opening of the Olympics. Not that I’ll be attending because I don’t have tickets.. (yet?) but hey. I can say I was there! Land of the red phonebooths and fish and chips has been on my must-see list for as long as I can remember. I can’t wait to go! After that, back through Iceland, I’m thinking of walking around Reykjavik, seeing the sights and perhaps doing a boattour… and after that back to Halifax, Canada.
Four countries, a few days in each, a few familiar places (Halifax Stanfield Airport is probably too familiar at this point) and a lot of places I’ve never seen. I’m so excited and I do hope that work doesn’t get in the way and I have to cancel, as of right now… it’s a go. I’ve started nailing down my plans, my family and friends now know, I’ve announced it on the blog! I’m going to do it! One week from now I’ll be working my way to Iceland where I’ll have my first spa experience ever at the Blue Lagoon. (how cool does that place look!??)
At a certain point your dreams and desires overcome your fears and I think that after 26 years on this planet, I’ve finally reached that point (atleast in this regard) So what do you think of travelling solo? Have you ever done it, how long, where did you go! Details details!