Quito, Ecuador Old Town street

Old Town in Quito, Ecuador

First I have a confession to make: I was truly and completely freaked out about my first international solo travel experience. While in the plane I ran out of distractions and tried to lay my head back to sleep and instead started crying and letting my anxiety get the better of me. I became worried that I would get sick, lost, mugged or something and no friends or family would know where I was or how to help me. After about 10 minutes I convinced myself that my parents moved to Germany with three children in tow and had survived their experiences and I was going to survive mine, so I began to calm down. When I finally exited the airplane I became anxious again because the couple running the Airbnb where I were staying was supposed to be waiting in the lobby with my name on a card and I couldn’t find my name anywhere. I told myself that the lobby was really crowded and they were probably around, or running late and we just couldn’t find each other for the moment, so if the place cleared out and I still couldn’t find them, then I could panic, but not until I was the last person standing in the lobby of the airport. It turns out they were running a few minutes late, but Boy Oh Boy did I start to get worried.

  • Relax, things will happen as they need to.  On the drive to the Airbnb I began to realize that if I was going to enjoy the week that I needed to become more relaxed and let things evolve. The old trope that worrying does nothing except rob you of the present was reinforced and I determined to let go and enjoy the trip.

  • Give yourself time to relax and settle in. My first day in Quito was a free day to figure out the lay of the land, catch up on sleep, and in general settle into my new surrounding. I am so glad I gave myself the time because it made the rest of the week easier.

  • Fake it until you make it. As I walked around the city on my first day I became hungry, but I didn’t find myself in a sit down restaurant. I had wandered into a cafeteria type place and had to follow the locals and fake my way through ordering, finding a seat, and having the food then delivered to my table.

  • Amy standing on the Equator line.png

    Standing on the Equatorial line

  • Trust yourself. As I walked around the city on the first day I began to feel my own instincts telling me where it was safe to stop and have a look around and where I should keep on walking.

  • People will usually try to be helpful. I had many people from taxi drivers, to the house cleaner at the Airbnb, to waitresses work with me to make sure we were both understood and got what we needed.

  • People are chattier. I have noticed it before, but it was more obvious during this trip that people are more willing to hold a conversation with someone who is alone than someone who has companions.

  • JayJay and me with the llamas

    JayJay seeing llamas for the first time.

  • Be open to new experiences. I was more open to new experiences and enjoyed being able to go where I wanted when I wanted on my free days. If I was tired I could go to my room and watch Netflix on my tablet. If I was wide awake I could grab dinner with my new friends from the conference.

  • I really need to work on my languages. I am really shabby at anything that isn’t English; and I was in awe of people who spoke multiple fluently. I want to become one of those people. I signed for a local Meetup.com group that gets together and speaks Spanish, hopefully by September when I go to Spain for two weeks with my husband I won’t sound so horrible.

One thought on “8 Thoughts from Beginning Solo Travel

  1. Your mother and I always said that as long as we are together, wherever we laid our head at night was home.. We were all together, so we just convinced ourselves the we were going home. A home we had never been to before. But the trip would have been a lot better if you little brother of six months hadn’t cried for most of the flight

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