One of the best holidays I have ever had was when I went to Amsterdam by myself.
I had recently moved back to Manchester and was living in my mothers loft struggling with depression. My mum asked if I had considered going on a trip or going away for a few days just to get out of the same environment and headspace.
I was considering who I could invite away with me when I just decided that I wanted some time by myself. That was it, within moments I had booked a flight to Amsterdam and was looking for a hotel. I had never been to Amsterdam and only heard the about the sides of it that happened after dark. However I was up for a mini adventure.
I remember my mum being concerned- your daughter who’s presumably suicidal going away by herself must be completely nervewhrecking – but my parents were supportive and came around to the idea.
There were plenty of tourist locations to visit – I loved this piece of art in the Gallery Modern.
When my anxiety started to kick in my teenage years I started to find flying terrifying. From then on I dreaded going on a plane and had to bribe my brothers to hold my hand during take off.
I hadn’t considered this part when I booked my flights and found myself at the airport checking in and realising too late that I didn’t have my brothers to guilt trip into holding my hand. As the plane took off I felt my chest getting tighter, I told myself people wouldn’t understand and think me over dramatic. Suddenly the girl on the aisle next to me started crying, those of us around her asked her if she was okay. She explained she was a nervous flyer and that she was travelling solo.
JUST LIKE ME. Other people travel alone??! We talked about the stigma of travelling alone and soon I realised I was so absorbed everything had calmed down and we were smoothly in the air.
Tip: Let the flight staff know if you are nervous and travelling alone. Talk to the people around you, they may also be nervous and want to chat.
Room for one please
The hotel I had booked ended up being very swish!! I found it after figuring out the train system and was very happy to see the big king-sized bed awaiting me.
Breakfast was included and I was up bright and early ready for an array of foods. My hotel was around 30 mins walk away from the centre, which suited me just find as I enjoy getting to know a city on foot.
Tip: Research your hotel beforehand, if you are travelling solo please check it is in a safe area beforehand. Previous visitors tend to leave reviews and also there may be contact information to ask further questions.
Keeping busy and seeing the sights
The only activity I had planned was to visit Anne Frank’s house. I was glad to have booked ahead as there was a big que outside on the day of the visit for those who had not.
TripAdvisor was my best friend and I was able to find lots of different museums and tours to take my interest. I ended up spending the day in rural Netherlands on a day tour- we went to the windmills, did a cheese workshop, made clogs – it was fantastic!!
Tip: Travel apps and travel bloggers are incredibly useful in this situation. They will recommend activities, restaurants and provide an honest review. For most activities try and book ahead as they can get busy!!
Dinner plans, who needs them?
I tried not to put too much pressure on making sure I had set dinner plans. The only time I struggled with my own company was when it came to the evenings – I felt awkward and isolated sitting amongst people chatting. I had one meal in my room in the hotel and then went for a nice walk by the canal. By my final evening tho I was lucky to have made a friend (see this is why booking tours and activities helps!!) and we went for dinner together.
Tip: It can get quite busy around evening times in the centre, so if you do wish to eat out try and think ahead. However, if like me you tend to feel uncomfortable eating out alone, try and eat where you are comfortable and then make it work for you.
I cannot believe it has taken me this long to write about my Amsterdam adventure. I’m definitely not a travel blogger and I certainly wasn’t then.. however I want to promote solo breaks as much as I can.
I benefited so much from this short time away. When I travelled back I felt fresh, alive and recharged. My mother picked me up from the airport and I was so excited to tell her everything I had done.
There is so much stigma attached to adventuring alone, but spending time with ourselves can help us heal.
I had fallen out of love with myself and this adventure helped me build on that relationship.
If you have travelled solo please comment below about your experience and any tips or advice.