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Today’s guest is an expert in Solo Travel and when I knew I’d be interviewing her I sat back to think about some of my own experiences traveling on my own. The first story that came to mind was a trip I took years ago—before I was married and before I realized travel writing could be a career. I was in my mid-twenties and was in Europe with a friend on a 6 month trip. We were in Amsterdam and she wanted to head back to our European home base in Regensburg, Germany where a friend of her brother’s lived and he and his fiancée let us stay on the trip. I decided to stay in Amsterdam and our plan was for me to meet back up with her in Regensburg at some point.
I ended up getting a short term job at a youth hostel helping to make beds and clean for free room and board. I have to admit that it was an odd experience for me – my first time in a foreign country without someone I knew and trusted. I met many people —but most were travelers staying at the hostel and only there for a night or two and then off again to their next destination.
Then I met a traveler who was traveling on his own and on his way to Berlin. I hadn’t been to Berlin—and it doesn’t take more than an invitation to get my travel bug brain going—so in a few days we were off on the train to Berlin where we stayed a few days and then decided to take the train to Barcelona. Our train arrived in Barcelona late in the evening – now this was before cell phones, ipads, debit cards and before Euros – and yes I’m dating myself.
Unless you had pesetas in your pocket—you couldn’t check into a hotel or hostel – well at least the one’s most of us could afford. There was a gaggle of us stranded travelers with nowhere to go. The station was closing and they kicked anyone out who tried to use a bench as a bed.
About 25 of us migrated out to a nearby park. Someone had a guitar and it turned into a night of singing, talking and eventually watching the sun rise. The guy I had traveled with to Berlin and Barcelona complained the entire time. For me — It was one of the best travel experiences I had had. There was something magical about it. For him—it was an inconvenience. I knew then and there we were not going to be a good match to do any more travel together.
So, after the city woke up and we all went our separate ways to exchange money, find breakfast, find a hostel or explore the city – I put my backpack on and starting walking and found myself traveling down La Rambla – one of the main streets in the city until I hit the water wondering what I should do and where I should go.
As seems so ordinary when you are traveling, young and bold – I started talking with a group of Germans near the ferries who were waiting for their ferry to the Ibiza, one of the Spanish Balearic Islands. It was a large group—about 20 men and women and it turned out this was an annual trip for them. The men rode their Harley’s down from Hamburg and the wives and girlfriends flew to Barcelona and they all took the ferry to the island. After lunch and a few beers with my new Hamburg Harley riding friends, I was invited to join them on Ibiza. The experience on Ibiza is something I’ll have to share for another day – but it was nothing short of fabuloso!!
So, my question to all of you is … what spur of the moment decisions have you made while traveling that changed the trajectory of your trip and took you to places or provided experiences you hadn’t known about or planned to do? How did that make you grow as a person or a traveler? Tweet me @writetotravel and let me know.
Speaking of solo travel experiences ……. My guest today is a self proclaimed travel cheerleader. Her writing career started with scripts as well as copywriting for small businesses. She then started writing and blogging for outlets such as Banker in the Sun, The Wise Traveller blog, CarolRoth.com, TheBoomerBusinessOwner.com, Gringos Abroad, MarielleGreen.com, and featured on Shoeboxed.com, travelhacks, Channel 9 News Denver, USA Today . She got her travel writing break when she was hired to write travel guides for India, Nepal, Myanmar and Burma ghost written for a prominent travel website that because of contractual reasons, she has to leave to our imagination! In 2013 she became location independent. She is the author of “MY Week with Deepak” and #175 Ways to Travel Today”. Our guest is the Founder of The Happy Passport and host of The Happy Passport podcast. She specializes Solo traveler and shares narrative travel tales and travel fails from around the world. She can be found on twitter at @rebekahvoss ………… please welcome Rebekah Voss.
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