A blog post about spending time with myself.
Okay, it's time to tell you something. I have never done solo travel before. I mean I booked a trip somewhere and flew there by myself. But I usually went somewhere to visit friends or to meet up with friends in a new city. I always thought I couldn't do solo traveling and ticked it off in my head. At other times I traveled to a new continent, all by myself, but I moved there temporarily. That's also a challenge, but it's a different one (at least in my eyes).
After my big trip around the world, I came back home in 2016 and went through a difficult time. It turned out, I was so used to travel together 24/7 that I couldn't imagine going somewhere on my own. I felt lost and didn't know where to start. So I took baby steps and traveled first to ashrams on my own. Funny enough, a few friends wanted to join me and first I was happy, but I knew deep inside that it was time to do it on my own. Well, you might say now that's not really traveling, but to me, it was a start. It was a small step, and I tried it. And that was all I needed. I spent a lot of time just by myself, did lots of yoga, meditation and I enjoyed it to have time and to simply be at a place by myself.
It might sound like I have a hard time to spend time with myself. That's actually not the case. I love to sit somewhere on my own, read a book by myself, walk in nature. But traveling alone does feel very different than being in an environment where you live for a while or your comfort zone.
Another opportunity came up in spring when I traveled to Berlin for business. I took the chance and booked my ticket a day earlier so I could see Berlin by myself, before it was time for business.
Another baby step, but hey, I am not talking myself down. In fact, I was proud of myself. Except if you're a frequent solo traveler, you might get my point. For most of us, this is a big step already. And if you are in a similar situation, instead of talking yourself down, be proud of yourself. You do something to get out of your comfort zone.
"When you're traveling with someone else, you share each discovery, but when you are alone, you have to carry each experience with you like a secret, something you have to write on your heart, because there's no other way to preserve it."
- Shauna Niequist -
Now, back to Salzburg. A few months ago, I booked my ticket for the blogger conference SALT. This time too, I booked a day earlier before some meetings, an Instawalk, and the conference. When the meetings were canceled, I took it as a sign. That being said, I had 1.5 days entirely to myself. Well first, I was thinking to cancel my train ticket and one hotel night. But then, I thought, why? I decided to enjoy my day off. I went through my memory and hey, the last time I visited Salzburg was already 9 years ago. I was ready to see Salzburg this time on my own.
And there I was in Salzburg, with a perfectly clear and blue sky. The city welcomed me with warm rays of sunshine. It was so warm, that I mostly walked around in my T-shirt and with a smile on my face at the end of September. Being on the lookout for vegan cafés, I came across Gute Güte. Wow, that was a big helper. She's also the person together with Sonja from Ginger in the basement who created SALT, the blogger conference. Due to some really unfortunate circumstances, the conference won't happen anymore next year, which is really sad. In this blog post, I came across some vegan restaurants. As I walked through the city I discovered GustaV and fell in love immediately.
The weather couldn't have been any better, so I decided to sit outside. The waitress was such a cute person who came right away to my table and brought the menu with her. She was helpful, very attentive and I could tell either it's her café or she really loves her job or most probably, both. I could tell by the spring she had in her step and the way she looked at me. She's so good with people and she made me feel very comfortable. I treated myself to a delicious late lunch, followed by a cappuccino and my book. When was the last time I read a book outside, I was wondering.
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
- Dr. Seuss -
This time it was different. It was so much better than in Berlin. Don't get me wrong, I had a fantastic time in Berlin. But this time, I felt so comfortable in my hotel room (which is strange, because it wasn't a nice hotel AT ALL). But I actually enjoyed the time I had to myself. I had time for me and time to take in this place and to feel it all. I enjoyed the freedom to follow my heart and to simply get up from my chair and go wherever my feet would take me. Without listening to a conversation, without taking care of anyone else, without asking anyone if it would be okay to do this or that. Without the need to have a conversation. Maybe, I just enjoyed the silence.
If you know me better, I love to talk. I like to listen to stories. But unfortunately, I do talk a lot. I am giving my best though to listen more and to talk less. But in this moment, I appreciated that I didn't have to focus on either one. This moment was beautiful. It was like an invisible hand was holding me and guided me deeper and deeper into the heart of Salzburg with all its beauty. The light in Autumn is so different than in Summer and the trees were shining with the broad range of colors.
"Framed by mountains, crowned by the Hohensalzburg Fortress and divided by the turqouise Salzach River, the Salzburg landscape is pure drama."
- Frommers -
I enjoyed it a lot that I was able to feel myself deep inside. I was very conscious of my breathing, as I walked through the city. I guess many of you never even thought about their breathing? If you are one of these people, I urge you to learn again how to breathe. I took the time to focus on my breathing and to discover the city at the same time, trying to capture those special moments with my camera. The sunrays where everywhere and through my sunglasses, I watched people who passed by, tourists who looked up something on their phones just like I did, just a second earlier. People told each other stories while taking a sip of their drink in between.
When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life.
Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika -
My arrival ritual
In Berlin, the first thing I did was to look up which yoga studios were located close to my hotel. I joined a late night restorative class at Jivamukti and loved it. My body was able to relax from traveling and I was able to arrive fully in the city. I was able to completely relax. I can highly recommend you to go to a yoga class when you travel because first, you probably have some tensions in your body from traveling and carrying your stuff around and second, it feels so good to ground yourself, to devote some time for yourself and practice yoga with a like-minded group of people. Also, it's a possibility to get in touch with locals or other travelers. And even if it's just a few words you exchange, it feels good.
The Yoga place in Salzburg offered an open class on Friday night and instead of a flow, it was a yin class. Exactly what I needed. Somehow I do enjoy those relaxing classes when I am in a new city. When I'm in Vienna, I prefer more challenging classes as I know the city already and I have friends here. I have no idea if this has something to say? But oh well.
"There is a comfort in rituals, and rituals provide a framework for stability when you are trying to find answers."
- Deborah Norvile -
I believe it's good to have some rituals. And yoga and meditation belong to my rituals at home. Sometimes I have to skip yoga and I can only focus on my breathing, at other nights I find time for a meditation. When I travel, there are a lot of impressions and while traveling is amazing, exciting and I love it, it sometimes is also tiring. Especially when we have to get from A to B and we are together with many people who might suck off a part of our energy. Therefore, going to a yoga class the day I arrive or the next morning is vital to me. It enhances my mood, grounds me and it's pure luxury to take some time for me.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking 'I should visit this and that...' and all of a sudden my brain ends up with a long to-do list what I should see and do just because others have done it before me. Going to a yoga class, calms my busy mind and brings me back to the most important thing on earth: myself. Learning to listen to myself, to accept my feelings and bring my body into movement.
That's why yoga is big on my list whenever I travel. I just feel so much better after a class. As the yoga class in Salzburg was until quite late, and I was still hungry I ended up at the restaurant Spicy Spices for the last lunch portion he had.
It's a vegan Indian restaurant and a little organic shop at the same time. The owner is so sweet. He closed the door and started to wash the dishes but told me to take my time to finish the huge portion he handed me over earlier. The food was delicious! Another great place for Vegetarians and Vegans that I can highly recommend.
"It was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole."
- Rupi Kaur-
Salzburg from above
The next day started with probably the worst hotel breakfast I had in a long time. Therefore I won't link the hotel here. To be honest with you, I booked my hotel quite late and there were not many options left. Believe me, you wouldn't book this hotel if you'd have another option. Still, it was quite okay and after I ate a few bites, I was ready to explore more of Salzburg. The day before I explored a bit of the shopping streets and saw Mozart's birth house from outside. I decided to hike up to see the city from above and also I wanted to explore a bit of Mönchsberg.
I decided against visiting Hohensalzburg Fortress as I didn't have that much time left until the Instagram walk would start and I preferred just to walk around and discover. Mönchsberg is quite big and you can walk many trails. I decided to simply walk around and enjoy the view.
After my walk, I took the way down, along some houses and climbed down Clemens Holzmeister staircase. There are many staircases and paths leading down to the city again. So just go where your heart takes you. I was hungry after all the walking and the bad breakfast so I looked up again the restaurant suggestions and went to Heart of Joy. Located very close to Mirabell garden, it was the perfect place to have lunch, charge my phone (they have a whole area where you can perfectly work as there are many plug-ins) and to relax. This café reminds me of a mixture of ashram and hip café. While the team wears all different kinds of clothes, a guru is portrayed at a few places in the café. One waitress was even wearing a sari. The customers are mixed. You'll find business people, students and everyone else in between. The food was delicious and I had to try their amazing raw cake. I would go there again in a heartbeat.
Our Instagram walk started with a welcome of the mayor of Salzburg, and together with the organization team of the SALT. I met Lisa who's originally from Linz, Austria but lives in Munich now. You find her blog Lilly in love with life on Instagram. It was fun to explore a few stops together and we ended up going all the way up to the view point of Hohensalzburg with the cable car which is operated from Siemens (which was one of the sponsors of the event as well). From there we were able to take a few nice pictures over the city.
This evening, I was so tired from walking around the city the entire day. I came home quite late and decided to order food to my hotel room. I decided it's totally fine not to go to a restaurant anymore, because my entire body didn't want to leave the room anymore. I was ready to enjoy some comfort delivery food and then later to snuggle into my bed and do some reading). Talking about the time you need for yourself. It did feel so right and so good to listen to the needs of my body.
I don't want to tell you all the details from the blogger conference as I doubt it would be interesting for most of you. As you can see, I didn't spend too much time in Salzburg on my own but the time I did, it felt great. Would I want to stay longer on my own? Probably not. One thing is clear, I can travel on my own and at times, I do enjoy it a lot. As I did some research in advance, I enjoyed every restaurant visit as well. When I travel with friends, family or my partner, I do enjoy being spontaneous. I love to try out new restaurants, cafés or bars. But somehow it gave me a lot of security to know where to go and to know what kind of food to expect.
Traveling alone isn't the problem around here in Europe and especially if I can combine it with a purpose or if it's not too far away. Would I enjoy traveling to an exotic place for 3 weeks? Maybe. I would have to get used to it. I know I can do it, still, the question is, would I really do it? And would I really enjoy it? Right now, I don't have the urge to do it but never say never.
Fact is, I enjoy traveling together. No matter if it's together with a friend, a partner or a family member. I enjoy sharing moments. And I enjoy sharing the stories later. A beautiful moment is even more beautiful, more special if I can share it with someone. Therefore, traveling together is still my favorite way to go. Although I know along the way, you meet amazing people. And sometimes traveling alone allows you to meet fantastic people you'd never meet if you travel together. That's also an important point that I am very aware of.
On this trip, a few things helped. First of all, I traveled to Salzburg with a purpose. So it was easier to connect it with a city trip. This whole trip had a purpose and therefore I couldn't explore as much as I wanted to because I didn't have enough time.
Here a few tricks that helped me for this trip:
- Bring a book with you and read it in a café when you need a break. Or at the top of Mönchsberg for example.
- Take notes from your day into your diary, it's fun to read it later.
- When you wake up in the morning, do a bit of yoga to stretch your tight body after walking a lot through the city
- Take 5 minutes in the morning to meditate and be grateful for your adventurous soul
- If you don't feel like eating at a restaurant, it's all getting too much and you just want to be by yourself in your hotel room? Don't feel bad. Order food, enjoy your me-time.
Did you ever travel solo to Salzburg? What did you do there? Are you a solo traveler or do you prefer traveling together? Let me know in the comments. If you liked this article, share it with your friends.
If you are about to book a hotel in Salzburg, look out in advance. Salzburg is quickly booked out at busy times. Get your €15 Booking.com voucher here on your first booking.