Personal Life

How to retreat alone!


The last blog entry was all about my trip to Rome, not just any trip my solo trip to Rome. As you all know from my last entry, I flew out alone. As you can imagine, I was excited flying alone from Manchester airport; however I was excited but nervous at the same time.I did however have teething troubles on my journey home.

I sat in Manchester airport, my heart racing so much, with the obvious questions running through my mind; what if I don’t know my way to the hotel? What if I get lost? The language barriers? What if I get mugged? All these burning fears inside of me. However, I suffer anxiety, but have gotten my panic attacks under control a it more recently, I think it’s because my confidence has grown, but I have learnt with practice, how to control them. The beginning of last year, I had anxiety attacks really bad, so bad I nearly passed out a few times. This entry is not about my travel experiences, but also about how it really strengthened me as a person.

I have always wanted to go to Rome and have always been independent, I have moved away from home since the age of 17, in and out of my parents house, and learnt to support myself financilly since the age of 15, learning to sort things out myself.

However, I may have moved in and out of home and lived on my own for six months alone in a flat a year ago, but I have never traveled and took a trip alone before, I have caught a flight out on my own to meet other people alone before, but never spent three days alone in a foreign country alone. So to o see a new country alone, sightseeing and creating my own itinary by myself was a new and magical experience.

I watched Hannah Witton’s youtube travel vlog about her solo trip to Sweden and how she survived travelling solo in another country.

I also watched travel vlogs on youtube on Rome and best tips on how to save money in Rome, where to go and where the main subtle areas are for pick pockets. Luckily for me, Rome is a city where they speak a lot of English and understand English.

The best tips for travelling in Rome are:

  • When you buy a coffee in a coffee shop to save money stand and drink it at the bar, not sit down as they will add another 2 euro at least.
  • I highly recommend the Green Line tours bus, as i is the cheapest option out of the ones I found, it takes you around the City and stops and picks up around so many frequent stops, i.e. the Vatican, The Pantheon, The Colosseum and other tourism spots around Rome.
  • Please be safe when walking around in Rome, you’re more likely to get run over by a car than get stabbed or anything, as Roman drivers drive at fast speed and crazy.
  • Use white taxis as they are cheaper for airport runs.
  • And if you do not want to spend money on a taxi from the airport there are also 5 euor shuttle buses at the airport to the main metro station termini, where there are frequent services in and around the city and you can buy a tram pass with discounted entry to all the museums and attractions for discounted prices.
  • I work in a theatre and have always been sick of the sight of ice creams but never appreciated ice cream until I tried proper Italian gelato, which tastes unbelievable and out of this world and nothing like UK ice cream.
  • There are some reasonably priced snacks, drinks and hot food available at some food and beverage stands all around the city.
  • Vatican city, I recommend a walk by moon light during night time when it is all lit up, it look more picturesque and stands out more.
  • For English speakers and skip the line tours especially, I recommend speaking to one of the people outside the Vatican with clip boards, they can refer you to an English speaking tour guide where they do group booked tours. I had an American man doing mine, and I also met new people, when you’re on your own travelling you get talking to people. Mine was with Segway Tours, which I highly recommend.
  • I also recommend when travelling alone in Rome, to take plenty o money as you can imagine it’s very extortionate in prices. I took at least 350 euro.

However, I conclude the rest of my travel blog entry on my journey home, I pre booked a taxi, as I was travelling alone, I was anxious that I was going to miss my flight or the taxi wasn’t going to turn up, as my phone didn’t work in Rome, however I was lucky I had the sense to take my Ipad where I could get free Wifi in my apartment. On the morning of my departure back to the UK I had my taxi arrive to Campiano airport from outside my building.

After going through my security checks at the airport, I am sitting in the departure lounge very early, baring in mind I was actually meant to be flying back to Manchester airport and I would have been back in Birmingham by 2pm in the afternoon and was scheduled to be on shift at one of my jobs at 6pm.

I was queuing up to get my passport checked as my flight number to Manchester was called out, then we were stood in a queue, I remember holding heavy hand luggage and m arms were getting tired, and I had a lack of food and lack of sleep, I was more anxious about getting back to work on time.

As we boarded the plain, I remember sitting in my seat and thinking we are half an hour late setting out, so as I sat their I was then getting agitated and annoyed, the plane crew, were then outside talking, and an hour to sitting in on the plane, everyone was getting angry and impatient.

I was then informed the flight was delayed by two hours when I had work in five hours, as you can imagine with a sufferer of anxiety I panicked and thought the worse, being stuck alone in a foreign country, with a low battery on my phone. My flight was due to a delay with something wrong with the plane. However, when I finally got my late flight, I arrived into Stanstead and thinking I could get home safely on a train, I then find out all trains running from Euston, my connecting train to Birmingham had been delayed. I was scared stiff, living away in student life and ten years experience working in the license trade has made me streetwise but I didn’t want to spend the night down London. I was tired, anxious and just wanted to get home. However, I then saw a train to Tamworth so I jumped on that and thought I’d get a connecting train to Birmingham.

Being stranded in Rome and then London with the possibility of not being able to make it home that night did shake me up but hey I survived and complained to Ryanair, months later receiving a compensation cheque.


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