At the moment university is going really well. I’m currently in the 9th week out of 15 of my semester so I’m more than halfway there! Since I’ve last written I’ve taken two trips away. Firstly I travelled to Belgium with a group of friends when we had 2 days off uni. Then the following weekend we had a bank holiday so I went to Brighton by myself. I had a fantastic time on both trips but it made me think about the differences between traveling alone and traveling in a group.
I’ve always been an independent person, I’ve never felt the need to have someone else around all the time. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get lonely or want friends. I really value all my friends and family and love spending time with them. It just means that I don’t mind going to the movies or shopping by myself. It therefore made sense that I wouldn’t mind traveling by myself and its actually something that I really enjoyed. My opinion about traveling by myself is that for me it was all about preparation. Making sure that I had all my hostels and transport booked well in advance made me feel better about being in a foreign place alone. I also found it handy to have a google map saved on my phone of how to get to the hostel from the airport. When you travel in a group you tend to prepare a lot less, because there are more people to rely on. There are more phones and maps to follow so you feel safer, but you can still get really lost…trust me. Story time, with Alanna:
When we got to Brussels, we had 5 people and so we had to split into two cabs. We had the address of our apartment and I jumped into the cab with 2 of my friends. Our cab driver told us that there was a protest in the city but he got us to the apartment pretty quickly. My friends weren’t so lucky, their cab driver decide it was too hard to navigate the protest and dropped them at a metro station. Now they had the address, but no map and no wifi. They did have a working phone… but we didn’t. So they didn’t know what station to go to. Eventually they found a hotel with wifi and made it to the apartment after being lost for 2 hours.
So you can get lost in a group but I guess you feel safer. Although there is safety in numbers, as long as you’re smart and don’t have all your valuables in one place I’ve found it perfectly safe to travel buy myself.
Something that I loved about my trip to Brighton is that I got a chance to walk along the “beach” and have a think about the incredible experiences I’ve been having on my exchange. I’ve found that my time in Ireland is incredible but I spend my time either at class or with friends or studying so it was really nice to relax in Brighton.
( One downside to traveling alone is that you have to take a lot of selfies)
Belgium was a completely different experience the 5 of us all had different things that we wanted to do so our time was filled with activities and I was so grateful it was.
( This was the last time I ever saw that hat)
For example going up the bell tower in Bruges was a scary experience for me but I wanted to do it because the group did it and I was so glad that I did. Another experience I would have never done if I had been alone was going on a boat tour in Bruge, here’s me and some swans in the most well timed selfie ever.
However in Brighton I decided to book tickets to see a show in London and take a day trip, which is something that is harder to arrange especially if you have a big group. You can also go back to the hostel for a nap without feeling guilty if you’re by yourself. So when you travel buy yourself you have complete control over what you do, but in a group you get the opportunity to see things you may not have considered. My recommendation? Do both! Traveling in a group is always fun, but sometimes its also fun to concur your fear and take a trip by yourself.