My first solo trip to Europe was to London. For my birthday, I decided to do something big. I was single at the time and had never really traveled very far by myself. Having grown up in New York City my whole life, I had only ever left the country three times: once to Canada (it was more like a road trip) and twice to the Caribbean. So when the opportunity came to see the Chicago Bears game at Wembley Stadium, to be in Europe for 10 days and the flights to London weren’t really expensive from New York at the time, there was no way I could pass on it. Plus I have family in London and Birmingham so if something went wrong, I had backup.
I booked the London Eye Hostel (now called the London Waterloo Hostel) which was within walking distance to most places I wanted to go and short subway ride to most others. Staying at a hostel was another first for me as I only stayed in hotels. But again this birthday was about getting out of my comfort zone. This was my chance to meet travelers from all over the world and make this solo trip a little less lonely, just like I read on travel blogs. And it paid off. I was able to make friends with a few Australians who were also staying at the hostel and visited a few places together like the Natural History Museum, Westminster Abbey and Parliament.
I never had the chance to do it when I was in college but it felt like I was participating in a study abroad program. Or at least I imagined it would be like that.
The highlight of the trip was watching the Chicago Bears live in a foreign country. Being able to watch my favorite NFL team play live in person is something I had never done before in the States. So this was crazy to me. Top it off, I got interviewed for a British TV show. They wanted to get an American perspective about the NFL breaking into Europe. Not gonna lie, it was kind of cool to be interviewed but the reality of seeing your face on a TV screen gets old quickly. Not something I would do everyday.
Learn from me:
When you step outside of your comfort zone like I did, you can always learn something new and have experiences you have always wanted to do at any age.