Why travelling alone has benefits?
Travelling has become ever so easy, affordable and fast these days. The numbers of people entering and exiting airplanes and airports is huge. Whether traveling for business or pleasure a new destination is always exciting! But what about those times you wished you had some time for yourself so as to find some peace and quiet away from everyone and everything?
Well, travelling alone is the biggest gift you can give your soul! And I recently discovered the benefits on my way to a wedding in Germany! I was going to be away for only a few days thus I decided I did not want to get extremely tired, I wanted to avoid leaving from the airport which is further away from my home and I wanted to see more than one places.
So, I booked my flight which was leaving from the airport of my hometown. I was going to land in Thessaloniki and stay there for one night. I would fly the next afternoon for Munich and because of the time difference I would be at our hotel on time for the pre-wedding dinner with friends and family!
I found myself on a crowded plane but this time A L O N E!
Flying alone without anyone meeting me at the other end…sounds weird maybe but actually so liberating! (Of course I informed my family and friends about where I was going to stay, giving them addresses and phone numbers etc just in case of emergency!) During my flight I managed to read 2 chapters of my book and took notes on things I wanted to do.
I was already feeling relaxed!
Arriving in Thessaloniki around 9pm I was greeted by my friendly taxi driver who as a true Greek started a beautiful conversation, suggesting to me all the places I should visit in Thessaloniki since I was just staying for the night!
My hotel which opened a week before was spotless and fresh flowers were placed in the vase with a fruit basket and a bottle of water and wine. Greek hospitality, I thought to myself! Soon I found myself walking at the busy streets of the city. Cafeterias and restaurants were filled with people and Greek music. I bought an ice-cream and took a seat at one of the benches by the ‘White Tower’ looking at the starry night. I smiled as I was enjoying myself. No emails, no phone calls (except the one wishing my son goodnight!), no voices, no talking…this was…quiet!
The next morning after enjoying a yummy breakfast I went out! I wanted to walk around the city and I wanted to get on top of the ‘White Tower’ after I think 10 years! Wow!
My first stop to the kiosk where I bought my magnets!(this is a ritual I have when visiting places I always get a magnet to put on my fridge). After a few kilometers a quick stop at Starbucks for an iced latte and a chocolate donut! (Who can resist that?)
I passed outside the National Theatre of Thessaloniki and made a stop. All these great actors and actresses, productions that any other European city would envy… Then Aristotelous square for a juice! I found myself gazing at people and breathing the Greekness of it all! The sunlight was warm yet not that hot! Some workers were taking care of the park. A lot of young people were sitting under the statue of Alexander the Great by the beachfront, while a tourist guide was explaining to some Chinese tourists the meaning of the name of this great leader.
I smiled, looking at his statue thinking of his vision to connect people through culture, through language and through common values…and then I thought of my targets, my goals and as I gazed at the sea I could not resist but take a photo with the well known ‘umbrellas’ installation that everyone takes a photo when in Thessaloniki.
- Looking at the ‘White Tower’ and standing under its majestic shadow made me feel proud. Going up each step – and trust me there are a lot of steps – I stopped at each level learning something more about the history of Thessaloniki and how it has always been home to people from all over the world, how it developed in such a cultural center and how it always remained Greek! Arriving at the top I stared at the beauty of the sea… so much blue…everywhere…I smiled as some Greek-Americans were explaining to their children a few things about the history of Greece.
Lunch time I was starving of course! Souvlaki is a must and for dessert I had to have the famous ‘Thessaloniki Triangles’. This was not a time to think of calories but of taste! I had walked my 10,000 steps after all so that must count!
Later, I was back at the hotel where I prepared my things for my upcoming flight… I read one more chapter from my book and had a look at the photos I had taken during my ‘lonely’ day. My face seemed more relaxed, I had no makeup and my hair was just… a mess! But who cared anyway? It was me with just…ME…after a long long time.
My head was clear from thoughts and troubles of the everyday routine of life…
And as the taxi driver picked me up with a smile I said ‘au revoir’ to this amazing city and I thought to myself… ‘I have a wedding to attend!’
During my flight I read another chapter of my book while I thought of my outfit and styling for the wedding. After all it was my first catholic wedding that I would be attending so after making my research I was ready to see my son’s godmother having the best day of her life.
I would soon land and this time I had people picking me up on the other end…
The almost – 24 hours ‘alone’ trip gave to me the rest I needed… It gave me time with myself… it offered to me the space I needed, the freedom to not wear makeup or dress in a certain way because nothing was expected from me and I was not expecting anything from anyone… It was just me, free and liberated…and above all relaxed to enjoy everything that was laid around me like a beautifully crafted painting…
Till the next time!
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