Traveling has always made me nervous, the fear of the unknown. My friends always laugh because I’ll research the place I’m visiting, plan each day and know the layout of the area like the back of my hand. I like to be prepared, however I found that I would spend most of the trip on edge, especially if things did not go as planned. I also struggled talking to people, I would ask others to order my food, buy my items and basically rely on them the entire trip. It eventually got to a point where I decided that enough was enough, holidays are a time for relaxing and I wanted to enjoy every second of it. In August I went on holiday to Lisbon with a friend where I found she relied on me, I took charge and on my return found I actually enjoyed myself.
With this new found confidence and a little inspiration from instagram @daintydressdiaries I decided to book a solo trip away. As it was my first I decided not to travel too far a field, so I came up with Cardiff, I know the city well and I felt comfortable enough to go alone. I booked the hotel before I could change my mind, choosing a non-refundable so I couldn’t bail. I tried not to think about it too much, knowing that if I did I’d panic and find a way out.
I decided not to book a train, instead taking my time to get ready and prepare for my journey. It was important that I felt calm, and I found not rushing to the station really helped with that. The trip up went smoothly and the hotel I had booked was next door to the station and right in the heart of the city so I didn’t have to travel far.
I dropped off my bag and set off looking for something to eat. I had NEVER eaten alone before and found myself becoming really anxious. I settled with Pret a manger, grabbed some food and hid myself in a corner. The worst thing about eating alone is figuring out what to do. Do you read? Look at your phone? Or people watch? I found myself doing all three, however whilst looking around I found I was not alone, surrounding me were three women all doing the same. I slowly found myself relaxing, people really didn’t care that I was alone, they were too busy with their own lives. The next few hours were spent spending copious amount of money on items I didn’t necessarily need. Shopping by myself has never been an issue for me, it’s something I enjoy and I was having a brilliant time. However by 4 o’clock I was exhausted and decided it was time to head back to my hotel.
I had originally planned to stay at The travel lodge however I decided to change to a chain I had never used before called Sleeperz . When checking in the staff were incredibly helpful and friendly and I couldn’t wait to get to my room and have a cuppa. When I walked through the door I was surprised by the size, it was small. Very small, if I had been with someone else I probably would have thrown them out as there wouldn’t have been enough room for us both. However everything I needed was there and worked so I was a happy camper. Also the kettle was right next to the bed so I could make tea while siting down, what more could I want. After a few hours of relaxing the time finally came for me to go out for dinner.
I was very nervous, however I was lucky as right across the road was a Wetherspoons and I had the app on my phone which meant I could order my food to my table without having to get up. Whilst in there I rang my mum and grandad to let them know I was OK as I knew how anxious they were about me, it filled up some time and I found I was only in there for 45 minutes. I was so proud of myself! The rest of my evening was spent watching trash TV and drinking ridiculous amount of free tea.
The perks of having a hotel room to yourself is the lie in, but by 10 o’clock I was up and out the door. Due to my anti-depressants I sometimes get night sweats which unfortunately occurred that night, meaning a restless sleep and a very grumpy Holly the next day. My first call of duty was breakfast and coffee so off to Costa I went and ordered myself a vanilla latte and a gingerbread muffin to keep me going. I found myself not caring about siting alone, but actually enjoy the time to myself.
After my coffee I decided to head off to the museum, I am a huge history lover and found being alone in a museum incredibly therapeutic. I was able to take my time and admire the exhibits, reading and learning as I went. Cardiff museum was outstanding and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. By the time I had viewed everything I knew it was time to head home. I was exhausted! So I grabbed my bags and off I went, however no trip away is complete without a little hiccup. Somehow I managed to catch the wrong train, luckily I realised and managed to get off at the next stop thanks to the trainline app. Phew…