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My first solo backpacking trip: Europe 1997

Written by DanielaZavala. Posted in Read The Backpacker

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Published on January 02, 2009 with 1 Comment

I have kept diaries of all my solo backpacking trips since 1997. The following is a transcription of chapter one of my first travel diary. This was written at the airport in Caracas, Venezuela, minutes before taking off to Europe and traveling on my own for the first time…


My first solo backpacking trip: Europe 1997

September 2, 1997

 It is 4:25 p.m. I am at the gate holding my ticket for a Madrid flight. Should I cry or smile? My feelings are so mixed. I am thrilled that I am finally going to make a dream a reality: I am traveling around Europe! On the other hand, I am terrified. I have never traveled to another continent, and I have never traveled alone. I still cannot believe that after a year of planning this trip, my friends canceled on me. I am afraid of what will happen to me, but I refuse to give up on my trip to Europe. 

I also feel that I have a huge responsibility on my hands. If something happens to me, my parents would be devastated. I know how hard it was for them to let me go on my own. I held back the tears, but it broke my heart to see my mom cry and see my dad’s watery eyes while I was crossing the security point to get to the gate.

 I promised them I would take care and that I would come back. But will I? I don’t know. I can only hope.

I can feel the chills of fear taking over me; I really want to see the world; I want to get to know other cultures; I want to meet other people whose customs are different from mine. I am tired of reading about all these amazing places, and looking at photos of masterpieces of history and fine arts. Why settle for books and photos when I can experience it and see it firsthand?

Yet, I still wonder . . . will it be dangerous out there? Will it be more difficult or easier than I think? I feel such excitement and anxiety. My heart is pounding so hard! I am short of breath . . .

I don’t know if I am brave, out of my mind, or stubborn—or a combination of all three—to carry on with this trip after it almost fell apart. Maybe I should have waited until next year or at least a few months to see if someone could join me in this adventure later on?

It is kind of too late to reconsider, though.

I look at myself sitting here, waiting for the gate to open. I still cannot believe that within hours I will be on another continent, all by myself. I must be open to this personal journey and embrace every minute of it. No matter what happens, at least I won’t wonder
what if. . . ?”

In Santorini Island, Greece, during my first backpacking trip

In Santorini Island, Greece, during my first backpacking trip

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  1. So happy to read this and know that everything went on wonderfully.

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