How I Became A Solo Traveler – My Life, My Travels, And I
I tend to say that my life really began when I turned 30! It was the year when I started to travel alone and became a solo traveler!
Well… that´s not fully true! I had a life before! And I did travel before, too!
The difference between before and after is that before my thirstiest birthday, it felt like I would miss something out!
When I go back in time, I have to admit that my life was always full of traveling! Maybe not that extensive as it is today, but indeed, there was some traveling in my life! But every single experience I had in the past, lead me to what I am today!
How I Became A Solo Traveler
The story below tells you the reason why I travel alone and how I became a solo traveler!
The first thing you need to know about my childhood is that I was born, lived, and grew up in East Germany until I was about six or seven years old! It means that I´m a child of the GDR, the German Democratic Republic!
Growing Up In East Germany
It was founded in 1049, as a result of the separation of Germany into four zones after WW II. East Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union, and their philosophy was so different from the other three (USA, France, UK) that eventually, this part of Germany formed a state of their own, separated from the rest of Germany.
Although they called themselves “democratic” and a “republic,” they weren´t. There was one big party that ruled the state and oppressed everyone who didn´t play their rules.
Living In East Germany
Living in East Germany meant, in general, that you worked what the state has meant for you. “luxurious” goods, like exotic fruits, branded clothes, or any other stuff, which was normal in the western world, wasn´t always available for the people. The state tried to dictate which music the people should hear what clothes they should wear, and especially what they should think.
Traveling was difficult and not allowed for western countries. Visiting the other part of Germany, or to live there, was only allowed under very restricted circumstances, in most times, it was forbidden. A lot of people tried to leave the GDR and paid with their freedom, or the worst case, with their lives!
However, when you are a child, you don´t really recognize such restrictions! You think the world you live in is the most normal thing! I wasn´t aware of the political system, or that certain things weren´t allowed, or that there were goods, which exist but you never would get because the state said so.
For me, life was like it was, and I cannot say that I was unhappy! I went to the Kindergarten, I had my bicycle, we had a garden plot, and we went on vacation to very cool places!
Traveling As An East German
My family traveled a lot! Mostly to Eastern European countries (any other weren´t allowed). Every summer, we traveled to Hungary, Bulgaria, or Romania! When I was little, I was portrayed at the Fishermen´s Bastion in Budapest!
Usually, we traveled together with my grandparents, and sometimes my uncle´s family joined us!
I still remember how my Grandpa drove us all the way from Eisenhüttenstadt (my birthplace) to Lake Balaton in his bright and shiny red Dacia! I also remember how sick I got when I sat in the back of the car! It was always a good idea to have a plastic bag at hand or be ready to stop the car before my stomach decided to get rid of the breakfast! That part of the journey wasn´t that nice!
My parents once drove us to Bulgaria, where I learned swimming in the Black Sea! We also camped alongside the streets in Romania. And how we tried to go through border control in the middle of the night, always having some “extra sweets” ready for the policemen.
I loved these journeys! Unfortunately, I don´t have too many memories of these days, but the ones I have are quite adventurous!
The times were so different, and traveling wasn´t as easy as it is today! Flying wasn´t a thing yet, GPS wasn´t invented, and we were far far away from free traveling between the different countries!
Later we didn´t travel that much anymore! My mom wasn´t and still isn´t a fan of traveling. She likes to stays where she is!
Traveling With My Family
Nevertheless, we made it to Greece! We traveled by bus down to the very south of Italy from where we went by ferry to go to Corfu! Also, a long journey, and everyone was aware of my travel sickness!
Another time, we went to Austria for Christmas and New Years Celebrations with the entire family! Driving all the way with all our stuff like the Christmas Goose and the Christmas gifts! I could tell you so many stories about those times!
But then the travel times were over for a while! My mom didn´t want to travel anymore, and I wasn´t old enough to travel by myself.
Traveling With My Friends
I had to wait until I was 15 years old when I got the chance to join my best friends at that time and her parents on vacation in Tunesia! I was so excited about this journey!
Two weeks away from my parents, in a foreign country and the very first time that I sat in an airplane!
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Traveling With My School
When I was sixteen, my school organized a student exchange, and we went to England for a week! The first time that I had to speak English while traveling!
Each year, we went to another place. The teacher of our class organized a one-week school trip to Lake Ijssel in the Netherlands or Tuscany in Italy.
Of course, you can´t compare these trips to the way I travel today, but, at least, I had the chance to see a bit more of the world!
It also was in school where my “Fernweh” respectively wanderlust was woken! A school project in geography is responsible for my wish to travel to Oceania, and to travel the world!
After my school years, I went to University. These were very hard times when it comes to traveling! I didn´t travel at all!
No money, no time, no one who would´ve wanted to join me! Ok, maybe, I could´ve asked my boyfriend at that time… But, in general, I had so much other stuff in my head, like living in a new city, making new friends, learning for exams.
However, in the back of my head, there was always this thought and wish that I want more than that! There was this slight feeling that the world is waiting for me!
First Job Years
After I finished my studies, I moved to Düsseldorf, where I´ve been living ever since.
I found my first job, was able to pay off my loan for the studying fees, I found my first real love, and in general, I had a good life with not much to claim about!
Except for one thing! I earned my own money, and I wanted to travel the world eventually!
The only problem was that I still had the same idea of going on vacation, as many people still have! The idea that it´s only fun when someone else accompanies me! A solo traveler, I thought, is someone who doesn´t have friends and is a lonely person!
Today, I know better! But in these years, I couldn´t even imagine traveling alone! And that was the problem.
My boyfriend didn´t want to join me! My friends traveled with their boy or girlfriends! My family didn´t travel at all!
So, most of the time, I “had to” stay at home! Of course, there were exceptions when I joined a friend and her boyfriend on their vacation in Teneriffe, or when my boyfriend, at least, once invited me to his home country Morocco, to travel the country!
Another friend of mine asked me if I´d like to join her on a journey to Southeast Asia but only because her boyfriend couldn´t take some time off!
However, it was always under their conditions! When I asked if someone wants to join me on one of my ideas, I got a “No.”
Several years, it was always the same! Whether, I joined them on their vacation, or I had to stay at home!
The Turning Point When I Became A Solo Traveler
But then, I wanted something so badly that I asked some of my friends year after year if they want to come with me on that specific journey! Wrestlemania! (Yes, I´m a Wrestling fan!!!)
We went there once, and after that, I wanted to go again!
So I asked them over and over again! Three years in a row and they always said No! For whatever reason, a marriage, no time off, no money, and so on!
At one point, I had enough! Enough, from hearing “no”´s, and excuses! So, I made a decision! The next time, when I would’ve got the chance to go to Wrestlemania, I would go, without asking someone, on my conditions, and the way I want to!
TRAVELING ALONE MIGHT BE SCARY BUT LIFE CHANGING!
And, as the universe heard me, I got the chance! And I took it!
This was the year when I turned 30! And as the best birthday present ever, I bought myself these Wrestlemania tickets! Because it´s a long journey from Germany to New Orleans (the Wrestlemania location in that year), I thought that it would make sense to combine that with some places I always wanted to visit! So my New Orleans, Louisiana, Florida, Bahamas road trip vacation was born!
And so far, it was the best decision I ever made! Stop listening to others, waiting for others, and start going by myself and live my own life and my conditions!
Today, I´m A Solo Traveler
Today, I still enjoy traveling alone! Be a solo traveler is amazing in so many ways! I don´t need to care about other people’s needs, time plans, opinions, and other stuff! I don´t need to negotiate about what we´re going to do next! And I don´t need to be frustrated when our ideas to match!
Of course, there are also not so nice situations! And sometimes, I wish that I could share my experiences directly with someone! But with all the messaging services today, this isn´t a huge thing anymore (at least, not for me).
Sometimes, when circumstances allow, friends of mine join me on my travels, but I´ll never stop traveling again if there is no one!
Nowadays, I work for a different company and also have this webpage here! I organized my life in a way that I can travel as much as possible, and I also can write about it, which gives me the chance to give back a bit!
To share my experiences, not only about the locations, but also what it did with me, and which opportunities traveling gives people!
How it helps to improve and develop yourself. And how you can meet incredible people who can inspire you!
I enjoy the freedom to go wherever I want to and to have all these extraordinary experiences!
Sharing Is Caring!
Today, I know, that the reason why no one wanted to join me wasn´t that they didn´t like me (what I sometimes thought when I had a bad day). They all had their own lives, and there were people in it who were a bit more important for them than I was. It´s ok!
Since the decision to travel no matter what, I traveled to so many countries, had so many unique experiences, and made so many new friends all over the world! I´m a solo traveler, and I´m proud of it!
In the end, the only person who can make me happy is me! No one else is responsible for my life, or my happiness but me!
What about you! Are you ready for being a solo traveler?