It’s equally hard to write about an incredibly enjoyable as well as annoyingly failed vacation: in both cases, you come home a bit depressed and it lasts for at least 2 weeks (varies from traveler to traveler). But I finally fight my still lingering laziness (a natural byproduct of a 2-week-long holiday) and enter my online “room” to speak up about my BeNe trip. Why not Lux? Technically, I could manage the Lux part, but BeNe was already so exciting and honestly, pricey, that I left the beautiful Luxembourg unattended this time. It’s ok. Next time I visit the Low Countries (I learned a lot during the trip, by the way:)), I’ll traverse Luxembourg first thing.
Why Holland and Belgium?
“I’m slightly surprised why you decided to explore nordic states after sunny Italy last year”, my uncle confessed after I bubbled away all the (sharable) impressions from my trip at my granny’s. The short answer is – 1.I wanted to travel solo to a place completely different from the ones I visited- Italy, UAE, Russia, Georgia, and first of all – Armenia.
2. I wanted to learn something simultaneously with traveling, and I enrolled in Ent-Ex Amsterdam program (I’ll touch upon this workshop in a separate post).
Not really short, isn’t it? Don’t worry, I’m not going to dwell on the long one: it’s mostly personal and…stretching outside of the travel blog format 🙂
So, why solo?
I don’t believe in coincidences: I do believe in signs. So, I took the fact that all my friends with whom I’d feel like traveling were unavailable in summer as a sign: it’s time to face one of your greatest fears- traveling solo. Not that I was afraid of being bored. I have always enjoyed my company and would surely find something to entertain myself. Nor was I afraid of being stolen or kidnaped. No, the reason was more technical and…silly.
“What if I get lost in the airport? What if I’m late to the second plane? What if I suddenly forget English out of fear and get lost? What if I hotel booking is wrong and I find myself “homeless” in, say, Brussels?” These were but a few endlessly stupid questions that were swirling in my mind keeping me awake at nights, no matter how much my friends tried to be supportive. Besides, as a person, who had the notorious story with Armavia and flew with pilots (this is yet another entry), I shouldn’t have been braver, indeed. Anyways, I was obsessing over these insecurities. That’s why, at a very crucial moment (was I drunk? I don’t remember), I declared to myself: “Drop the fears, Siri. You’re traveling solo this year”.
Surprisingly, I didn’t get lost in the airport. Astonishingly, I was on time for all my planes. Mesmerizingly, there were no wrong hotel bookings. And, fortunately, I retained (and even improved) my English during the whole trip. And learned a bit of the tricky Dutch 🙂 And I discovered I’m not that helpless as I formerly thought of myself. By the end of the trip I found myself traveling from Rotterdam to The Hague on the subway without a map (that was a moment of pride for me, honestly).
But first things first. The next entry will be devoted to the forever young city of Amsterdam, my first destination, my likes and dislikes, the people I met there and some travel tips.
Lesson learned N1: push yourself harder, pick up a fear a time and “work” on it.
Lesson 2: Traveling solo can be safe and fun, but don’t forget take your common sense, sense of humor and a few helpful gadgets wherever you go.
Lesson 3: Never ever eat the sandwiches during your Yerevan-Moscow or Moscow-Yerevan flight with Aeroflot. Just a tip for your stomach:)