My first experience solo travelling in Malta and why you should do it?
I walk in my city all the time by myself, but I never felt as self-conscious as I felt in a different country. People didn’t even care that I was alone, they were only staring at my big camera and my phone on a stick! They sure thought: “She is a tourist”. It was not the first time flying alone, so the flight was normal and didn’t really felt the difference the first day. I arrived at the airport, took a bus and went straight to my hotel. After an hour relaxing, I took a shower, changed my clothes, grabbed my camera and went exploring, to see the surroundings of St Julian’s and to find a place to eat because I was starving. As you would probably know I moved to the UK 2 years ago, so wandering around the streets of a new country seems pretty normal to me or at least more normal than to somebody who only has been on holidays. The walk was lovely and reminded me of home. Being born in a seaside city, I really miss the feeling of walking around the shore in Birmingham, but that’s why travel exists, for the amazing feelings you get when you do it. I stopped for a meal in a lovely terraced restaurant just on top of the beach with a sea view and it was perfect. After I had some food and wine, I finally felt tired after a day of travelling and decided to go back to the hotel for a great sleep.
The second day, I was feeling like home. There are a lot of similarities between the UK and Malta, because Malta was a British colony, especially the fact that everybody speaks English, so after the first day, I was in my element, walking around and enjoying the island. Me and Malta, let’s just say it was not love at first sight, it took me some time to discover the island and its charm, I felt that the seaside it’s just touristy and the mainland was abandoned, but every day I was travelling to a different city, learning about that city and the culture of the island and it definitely is something different and unique. Being by myself allowed me to meet a lot of people that would probably not be that open to talk to me if travelling with other people, some charming people, some creepy (just ignored them) and made me see the country more as a local.
It is fascinating to see that most of the waiters in the pubs and restaurants are men and when they see you alone, they will try everything to make you happy. I can’t really say I complain; I always liked the attention. In one of the restaurants, even the manager came to present himself and make sure everything is perfect. The bus drivers will make sure that you get the right station if they see you are not from there and people will be more than happy to help you with directions and even suggestions of where to go around. I must say that it is a plus when you are a girl and I am not sure the guys will receive the same treatment, but I am sure that they will get their own perks.
The photos that I have of myself from this trip are not the best, but I quickly learned how to make it work. I can say it is a little weird in the beginning and people look at you, especially if you are trying to take photos with a camera, but you just have to learn not to care. I guess people are more used with the selfie now and it will only be a while until everybody learns how to properly take photos of themselves on trips. Especially with so many solo travellers.
The difference that I saw travelling alone is that in the big cities of the island, like Valletta the capital, everybody was busy and wondering around without caring out the tourists, while in the towns like Mdina or Marsaxlokk, where there are mainly tourists, everybody was taking photos enjoying food and drinks and buying souvenirs. I only felt a little “watched” or supervised when I went to smaller cities where the tourists don’t really go and the locals could tell by far that I was not from there, but they were all friendly, saying hello and smiling when I passed by.
The good thing about travelling solo was that I had a day where I felt like not doing too much, also because it was heavily raining and couldn’t visit too many places, and I spent the day shopping, having coffee and food, went to the cinema to watch a movie and spent the night in, watching Disney and eating some traditional pastries from the shop around the corner. The only downside to this day was that I had planned a trip to Gozo, that I didn’t have time to see. I think it’s a good idea when travelling alone to book at least one guided tour where you will meet a lot of new people, spend the day with them and see different things that you would probably see by yourself.
In the last day, I had to carry my luggage around because my flight was at 9pm and went to visit the south of the island that is close to the airport. I had a lovely day in a touristic fishing city, Marsaxlokk, and had some fantastic food and wine. The only thing I missed was a person to help with my luggage, but I was fine after all. I arrived early at the airport and took advantage of the time to have a coffee and work a little on my blog before my flight.
I think a solo trip is something that everybody should do and for me, my first solo trip was an incredible experience and I look forward to the next one. I am not really sure when or where will be because I have the future trips already planned with friends and boyfriend, but for sure I will do it again. This is my short list of reasons to take a solo trip.
Why you should take your first solo trip?
• Because it is a freeing experience, it is different and new, and the worst-case scenario will be to not enjoy it and you don’t have to do it again. But, from what I saw and read from other people everybody enjoyed it.
• You can do anything you want; you can visit whatever you want, and you don’t have to consider somebody else when choosing how you want to spend the days. For me, it is essential because I love taking my time to take photos, or I just like to have a lazy day, and nobody else has to waste their time by waiting for me.
• Because you get to know yourself. Except for visiting a new place, you get a chance to discover yourself, you have the time to do what makes you feel good, enjoy yourself and even learn something new about yourself.
• Because you can escape your day to day life. You don’t have to see the same people every day, forget about the job for a while, change your routine and take something with you when you come back.
• Because you can be whoever you want. Did you ever want to be someone else for a day? Just imagine that it is a different place where nobody knows you and you could be whoever you want! (as long as your budget will allow you)
• Because, why not? What is actually stopping you from having a new experience?
One thing that I really liked is you’re never actually alone even when you travel solo. You will meet people that will have an impact on you, maybe you will actually keep these connections for a long time or become travel buddies. Another thing you can do nowadays is simply connecting with other travellers that are in the same place as you. There are a ton of groups on Facebook where people try to connect and ask suggestions when travelling to one location and I love to see that the travelling community is tight and trying to help one another as much as possible.
I think that people who like to travel are open-minded people, smarter and more experienced because I feel like you learn so many things on the road, about yourself, about different cultures, about different people, history and tradition, that you become a richer person. Rich in experience, rich in spirituality, rich in emotions and rich in relationships. For me, these are the most important things in life.
This was only me sharing my experience with solo travelling. If you want to know the details and itinerary of my trip to Malta you have here the full 5 days itinerary and the 24 hours in Valletta posts.
Let me know what was your first experience of travelling alone and what made it special? I read so many stories before doing it, but I still find it fascinating how every story is different.