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A traveler’s take on embracing solo trips in your thirties

Feb 22, 2019 by Jamie Mc Laughlin

Traveler Taty took her very first trip abroad three years ago and hasn’t stopped traveling since. Here’s how solo trips have inspired her—and made her better at loving herself.

BUCKINGHAM ❤️

Go Ahead Tours: You took your very first trip abroad with us in 2016. What held you back from seeing the world before then?

Taty: In all honesty, I was scared. I had never traveled anywhere alone before. The thought of leaving the country and going overseas to places where I didn’t speak the language was very daunting.

You’ve now been on three tours with us—by yourself! What made you decide to travel on your own?

At first, I thought about asking a friend to come along with me. But I decided that I didn’t want restrictions during my first time in places I’ve always dreamt of visiting. I didn’t want someone who didn’t love it as much as I did with me. I wanted to enjoy these places without worrying about the wants, thoughts, and needs of someone else…at least not the first time I was there. It might have been selfish but I don’t regret a moment of it.

Tour mates in Santorini…perfect sunset

Do you have any helpful advice for people who are unsure about setting off as a solo traveler?

Yes…DO IT!!!!!! The thought is scary, I know, but once you’re there you are truly never alone. I’ve made incredible friendships on these trips. Even when you have your own plans for your free time, you end up chitchatting with locals and other travelers. You always find common ground if you are open to the world and the beauty of its differences.

I usually have a million things planned for my free time on tour, but my first free day in Rome, I didn’t. I’d added the Iconic Sights: Vatican City excursion, but that was about it. Luckily, I met travelers Misti and Nick, a newlywed couple who I became friends with at the beginning of our tour. They were kind enough to let me tag along on their Roman adventure since they had a whole list of things they wanted to see. I probably had a better time exploring ALL of Rome with them than anything I could have planned for myself. This is how these trips work…people want to see things just like you do, so why not see them together?

Me with Misti and Nick, the newlyweds I met on my first trip who were so amazing to explore Rome with. They recently came to Orlando and I drove up to meet with them and their little girl ❤️

You traveled with people of all different ages. How did you and your fellow travelers get along?

Honestly, age is just a number on these trips. I’ve made friends with people of all different ages. Many older couples, many people my own age, a mom and her teenage daughter—they’ve all been fun friends that I’ve kept in touch with. If anything, I love the variety of ages. You hear a lot of personal travel stories, and it’s nice to learn what brings people to travel at these ages. They’ve given me more motivation to continue to travel.

What are some of the best things about going on a guided Go Ahead Tour?

The guided sightseeing tours give you a good understanding of the area, and the local guides are very well informed about so much. They give me ideas for my free time if I haven’t already planned something. It’s wonderful to get lost in a beautiful, historical city, but sometimes you need a bit of a pull in the right direction, and guides help a lot with that.

I do cartwheels around the world 🙂 I’ve done them in a bunch of places now: at the Colosseum, near the Mykonos windmills, on the Cliffs of Moher, at Stonehenge…

Can you share any special highlights from your three trips to Europe?

Well, my first tour was London, Paris & Rome. I’m a big Brit fan so it was an incredible experience to see Buckingham Palace. During the summer there are a few weeks the palace is open to visitors—TAKE ADVANTAGE! I strongly suggest going to see the Vatican on the Go Ahead’s Iconic Sights: Vatican City excursion. It’s #1, and our guide was fantastic.

My second trip was Highlights of England, Scotland & Ireland with the London extension. Surprisingly, Scotland was my favorite country even though I only got to see Edinburgh. Definitely check out Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and Hollyrood Palace. In Ireland, don’t be afraid to do the “tourist trap” Temple Bar during free time in Dublin. We had an absolute blast in there with drinks and Irish folk music. Ireland was just amazing everywhere you went. Go to the Guinness Storehouse for sure, and prepare yourself for the most breathtaking view at the Cliffs of Moher.

MYKONOS! First time touching the Aegean Sea 🙂

My most recent trip was A Week in Greece: Athens, Mykonos & Santorini. This was probably the most relaxing because I got to sit by the pool with a tropical drink. But I must say, despite all the beauty and history there is in Greece, my favorite thing to do was swim in the Aegean Sea! The water was the bluest, most crystal clear I’ve ever seen. I was so addicted.

The island of Santorini was gorgeous, of course, but Mykonos stole my heart. Getting lost in the little blue-and-white alleys, the GYROS, the people…did I mention the GYROS? I could have stayed there forever. Definitely check out the Santorini Caldera Cruise & Dinner excursion. It’s incredible to see a Greek sunset from a boat on the sea.

ROME: pizza and Peronis with tour friends

How has seeing the world changed you for the better?

I’ve become braver and stronger since I’ve ventured off. I’m not afraid to just take off and go somewhere I’ve never been with languages I do not know. I embrace it and what’s more, I crave it now. I HAVE TO go to another country at least once a year. I take off running when I arrive. I speak to everyone, try everything, and immerse myself in the new environment. I find myself missing these places so much when I leave. I think it’s made me better at loving myself. I enjoy my own company. It’s completely changed my life.

Do you have any more Go Ahead Tours on the horizon?

I actually just booked my next trip. I’m going on the Oktoberfest: Jewels of Alpine Europe tour and I couldn’t be more excited. I love history so going to places like Germany, Austria, northern Italy, and France that were in the center of World War II should be very interesting. And of course, who wouldn’t want to go celebrate Oktoberfest in Munich and wear a dirndl? I know this trip is going to be another one for the books…and that I’ll possibly cross off a new continent next year….AFRICA!!!! Stay tuned!

London’s Warner Bros Studio…THIS WAS AMAZING!!!!

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Traveler stories
About the author | Jamie Mc Laughlin
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.

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