The Beauty of Being Alone [My Weekend in Amsterdam]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You know how I wrote about Rouen, and how we wandered but weren't lost and it was amazing and fantastic and all that is good and right in the world?

Well, I was legitimately lost in Amsterdam. I had a map, I had my phone, I had my Lonely Planet travel guide, and I was still hopelessly lost.

But, man, was it amazing.

It was so nice to just be in a place, and to just feel the place. Yes, I did some of the touristy things, and I did visit the museums, but most of my weekend was spent wandering along the canals, finding comfortable benches and reading, writing, and thinking. Mostly thinking.

I'm one of those people that loves to be alone. When I'm around people for too long, my energy is completely drained and I get tired, and sometimes even nervous. I crave the moments I have to myself to just be with my thoughts, and with my own ideas. I feel like people pity those who are alone. When I ate at a restaurant, one of the waitresses offered to sit with me so that I wasn't alone. How do you explain to someone that you have been craving this moment - just a girl with her burger - for weeks?

This is the first trip I took alone in France. I've travelled alone before, but never to a foreign country. Every time I've travelled it has been with my parents or a school group, but I usually have a few days to myself to just be.

My whole trip to Amsterdam was like that.

There's something inherently liberating about letting yourself be alone. Most of the time, I really like to be with my friends, and share experiences with those I love. Like most, the best nights are spent with good food, better company, and endless conversation.

But there's something to be said for traveling just to see the world, just to make yourself happy. You don't have the pressure of anyone else's schedules, desire to do certain things, or expectations of having certain experiences. It's nice to just see something for yourself to make your soul happy.

The only schedule I had was the times printed on the tickets at the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank Huis.

Other than those two things, I was absolutely free to be unapologetically me, and it was absolutely freeing.

I spent four hours at the Rijksmuseum, roaming among masterpieces.

I found the most perfect, beautiful, amazing, magical, breathtaking library I have ever seen. 

I lost track of how many times I was almost hit by bicyclists on the banks of the various canals.

I got blisters on my feet and holes in my shoes trying to find the most perfect bench on which to read.

I drank Starbucks and shopped for tulip bulbs.

I took about a billion pictures of the buildings, because I felt like it and they're beautiful.

I was alone, and it was exhilerating.

My trip to Amsterdam was just for me. A gift to myself, a gift to remember that beauty exists, and the world is good, and I am capable of more than I know. It's the best gift I could ever ask for.

Do you ever travel alone? What's the best part? 

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