If you haven’t read my previous post on why I wanted to go on a trip alone, make sure to check it out!
What I learnt about myself
I’m more than happy to be driving down the motorway alone
The motorway journey was one of the most daunting things about this trip for me, as it is my longest drive since passing my test late 2017, and my longest solo drive by far (having someone in the car with me naturally makes me feel calmer!).
But, I loved it. My music choices, my decision to stop at all or none of the service stations and my decision on the route taken. Sure, I can do these things with anyone else in the car, as I’m the driver and therefore in charge! However I always feel guilty or as if I have to seek reassurance that it’s “okay” to stop / listen to this / go that way. Not having that worry made the drive really enjoyable, increased my confidence in my driving ability more than ever and made me excited for more longer drives — alone or not!
I got a little home sick during my first night away, but that’s okay
I missed my partner and my cat! I think the main reason was because I was staying in what is essentially a shared house, and all other rooms being occupied by two or more people. In the evening I could hear people coming back, talking and laughing. I wanted to have someone to talk to, laugh with or just… sit with!
I had a little talk with myself though, reinforced my reasons for doing this alone and I pretty much got over it!
I accepted that I missed those I love most, especially as I could hear others enjoying time together, but I realised I was happy doing my own thing and I didn’t really need anyone else there to make me happy.
I’m comfortable eating at a restaurant alone
I thought this would be one of the most nerve wracking things, but it wasn’t! I think it helped being a city full of tourists and students, most places I went to had at least one other person in there on their own. I felt comfortable, I didn’t feel at all judged and as I am quite a nosey person, it’s a perfect “people watching” environment!
I had the clearest head I have had in a while
I spent to much time exploring, learning, reading and just… being, that my head was the clearest it has been in a while. I wasn’t worrying about things or people constantly, something which I am prone to do when at home.
Separating myself from my home life and forcing myself to embrace the solo experience really helped my mental health, and something I will turn to in future if I feel overwhelmed with life.
I noticed more of the little things
Being on my own meant I had less distraction in terms of conversation. I spent to much more time noticing the smaller things around me; the people, the architecture and the smells.
I spent time making sure that I took it all in, it helped me really truly experience the city in a way I don’t think would have been possible if I was with someone else .
People are friendly to people on their own
I was worried how people would treat me, being on my own. I needn’t have worried! Everyone was really friendly, more so than I think they would have been if I was with someone else.
I felt looked after everywhere I went, particularly as I think it was clear I was a tourist.
One night, I phoned a popular restaurant that I had seen the evening before, to book a table- for one. The guy on the phone was lovely and seemed eager to make sure I would feel comfortable coming to this restaurant on my own! I was excited to meet him!
Sadly, I never met the enthusiastic man from the phone call, but I did have a lovely experience in the restaurant, tasty meal and a free beer!
I would definitely do it again
I think I will make a conscious effort to do more things independently. More solo trips away would be great, but life sometimes gets in the way, plus I have a lot of places I really want to explore with my partner!
However, I will definitely at some point go on another solo trip, as well as more solo days out to the cinema, a restaurant or anywhere that takes my fancy!
The experience was freeing, and since I returning I have already ventured back to the cinema on my own (a 6 hour double bill for the final Avengers film!), and loved it! I would never have done this before my trip, and would have waited for someone to be free (and who would enjoy it, as sadly my partner wouldn’t!).
What I learnt about oxford
The city of bikes
Seriously, there are bikes everywhere in Oxford.
Every road has people cycling, which was nice to see and great for the environment!
The more startling thing though, was the amount of bikes on railings / bins / buildings… basically any space a bike could be attached to — there one was.
It was definitely a contender to rival Amsterdam for me, the only other city I have seen with such a large amount of bikes in.
The mix of cultures and accents
Oxford is essentially a university town, and a tourist hot spot.
I’m sure there is plenty more to it for those who have been born and bred in the city, however this is the experience I felt from exploring over the weekend.
The students and tourists mixed together make for a wonderful, culturally diverse experience. Every voice I heard was a different accent or language. The different types of people, from different countries and different social classes, mixing together was a beautiful thing.
I love hearing other accents and seeing tourists enjoying themselves here in England, so it made my heart feel full and warm.
The most beautiful city
I expected Oxford to be pretty, I’ve seen the pictures, TV shows and movies depicting it. However nothing prepared me for the true beauty.
Every building was absolutely stunning, ever road or bridge was worth photographing.
I spent so much time just walking and looking at the landscape around me and above me. Nothing compares to the architecture in places like Oxford. Its not modern, and that’s perfect. They don’t make buildings and such like they used to in my opinion, And Oxford has perfectly kept its old school charm in our forever changing modern world.
I felt safe
This is the most fundamental aspect of Oxford for me. As a solo female traveller, if I hadn’t have felt safe I would have spent my time in my AirBnB and felt like I had wasted a journey.
I think the previously mentioned mix of tourists and students really helps this city feel safe. Even walking through the centre close to midnight on a Saturday night was not daunting. People where out partying, but there was a strong presence of safety measures — police, security guards and bouncers. This is expected in large cities at the weekend, and helps to keep the city feeling safe and welcoming to all — alone or not.
As you can tell, I had an amazing experience on my first solo trip, and would definitely recommend it to others to do such a thing, at least once.
Life can be busy and money can be tight, but I’ve proven it can be done. Go out and experience the world through your eyes only you won’t regret it.