Through a Novice Traveler’s Eyes

My friend from university, E, came to visit me and it was such a cool experience as she hasn’t traveled that much especially on her own. She just graduated and I could see similar thoughts I was having last year at this time and when I started solo traveling. It was a cool self-reflection.

I truly enjoyed having her and touring her around. Everything was so new and amazing for her. Though I have only been living in Prague for a few months, the routine has made it normal and not that big of a deal anymore. But seeing the excitement on her face made me remember how lucky I am and how cool this experience really is.

I have been solo traveling for a bit and backpack traveling for a long time. It is now second nature, but I know this isn’t normal and, honestly, I was worried how will E handle it.

After two days of touring around Prague by herself, she came up to me with a big smile on her face. We spoke several times about her experience, but right before she left Europe, I asked her some questions again for more of a direct quote.

This is what she said:

What were your thoughts before and after the 2 days in Prague?

Before coming, I didn’t think about it much. I figured it would be like traveling with people. It would be simple and easy and you take lots of pictures.

After my 2 days of exploring the city by myself, I realize that it’s more than just the pictures. You have to think on your own and it’s quiet. It’s a lot slower, which gives you time to think. It was definitely a much different experience. It wasn’t about the pictures, but more on reflections of what I was seeing and experiencing.

As much as it was scary and she has never done something like that before, she was so happy she had the opportunity. It helped her get outside her comfort zone and let her do her own self-reflection of the past month of last moment of university and final graduation.

This is one of my joys of solo traveling. Though it can get lonely, the moments where you are by yourself and can think about everything is the best.

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What was it like getting outside your comfort zone?

It was invigorating. Definitely encouraging as I was able to do this scary thing. I now feel like I can do anything. 

When we met up at night, she was so proud of herself for wandering the city and figuring out how the city works. I am also very proud of her.

E was able to meet a variety of my friends to which she said:

It was neat seeing people of different ages and backgrounds together. There were friends from the Czech Republic, Italy, USA, and Argentina. 

Meeting people while traveling feels more like “real.” You stay in one spot most of your life and you know the same people and it can be hard to talk to them.

While traveling, there is always something to talk about as there’ something in common. In “Real life,” you forget how you met your friends and it becomes routine to meet with them and even the conversations. But there was never a dull moment talking to people I have met while traveling. I was able to meet a couple of people during my alone time in Prague and I had such a great conversation. One studied Jewish history from Germany and I met her while touring the Jewish section of Prague and she gave me a whole new perspective. 

It was very interesting to see how people from different backgrounds can mesh together. There was no barrier between the Americans with the Czech or with the Italians. Everyone was able to be themselves. 

She really enjoyed the company of several of my friends. One of whom we stayed with in Berlin. He took us to a beer garden and when she entered, E’s face lit up with enjoyment and she order the same beer as him and loved it.

I never was a beer person, but this was delicious! 

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This is also a favorite part of solo traveling. When you are solo, you have to make friends quick to not be lonely and in hostels you can meet a variety of people. I’m glad she was able to meet these diverse set of individuals.

What are your thoughts now on traveling?

It’s not about seeing places, it’s about going to them and understanding the place. That’s why people change, they realize it’s more than how pretty something is, but instead, it’s about the people around that object and the history behind it.

What was your favorite moment during your trip?

As much as I loved Berlin, my favorite moment was in Prague. I was struggling to find the castle and I got lost. I finally made my way up top and found a view of Prague that was so cool. It was breathtaking to see the beauty especially after getting lost. I believe this is the moment I realized I like solo travel and that I am stronger than I think I am.

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More photos here

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