The sweetness of travelling solo

As I write this post, I am in the basement kitchen of a backpacker hostel in the middle of London.

I'm drinking my cup of chamomile and vanilla tea, surrounded by an extremely boisterous group of Italians, Spaniards, and Frenchmen arguing about who has the better football team, crammed along communal tables with about 60 other travellers from around the world, all eating/drinking/laughing/sharing/doing God knows what else…

And all I can do is giggle in delight.

Seriously, I must look ridiculous to everyone else here right now: the tiny Australian girl sitting at the end of the table, wearing her bright red university hoodie, typing on her Mac, drinking tea [not beer!] quietly laughing to herself…but I am so deliriously happy right now that I don’t care.

It has finally hit me that I am here in Europe - travelling solo for the first time in my life and that I am just another foreign stranger passing through the world on a journey of my own creation.

I am not accountable to anyone but myself; I am not following anyone’s instructions; I am simply just ‘being’…with a backpack.

Why does this make me laugh?

Because the ‘old Shanny’ - pre-single/fabulous/awesome Shanny - would never have imagined that she would be here, at this moment, in this place, living a life like this.

The former Shanny was too scared, too weak, too overcome with crippling anxiety and depression to ever contemplate living out of a backpack in a foreign country, surrounded by strangers and fellow travellers.

But here I am, doing just that, sitting right smack-bang in the middle of an over-flowing melting pot of cultures, nationalities, languages, and experiences…and I continue to be amazed at the endless sweetness of travelling solo.

It appears that when you pause briefly on your journey, look around, and realise just how far you have come along your path, all you can do is laugh in wonder – and I’m so glad that I have.

That’s what giggles and moments like these were made for.