Traveling by yourself is an absolutely terrifying experience. When you travel with friends, the responsibility is at least partially deferred. You might have to get the flight, but someone else can find the hostel! I don’t have to figure out how to get to the city from the airport an hour away! Traveling by yourself means that all those responsibilities are yours, but it is so incredibly worth it, if only to prove to yourself that you can do it. In the final weekend before the end of the program, I decided to take a trip by myself to the city of Fès in Morocco.
While taking trips by yourself is amazing, it’s also terrifying for parents. When I told my mother about it, I knew she was going to be worried. Through in some paranoid family friends who had ‘one time seen a movie where something bad happened in Morocco!’ and it’s a worrier’s worst nightmare. Traveling by yourself can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but just be safe about it. Plan in advance, know the local culture, and just don’t be a jerk and you should be fine!
Morocco was unbelievable. It was so different from the European cities I’ve visited so far, but that was definitely a good thing at this point in the semester! The center of the city is all the original medieval structures, which makes for a very confusing layout for tourists! I didn’t have many problems navigating, if you don’t count about an hour lost trying to find my way out of the Medina the first time I went in!
Plus, I got to play with monkeys! A trip up to the Atlas Mountains was a great break from the bustle of cities. We visited a beautiful park with waterfalls, a lake, and last and most fabulously the forest where you could play with monkeys. They were a lot friendlier than I thought they would be, but with tourists feeding them all the time I’m not actually surprised. The surprise came when they managed to outsmart us and get away with stealing 3 whole bags of peanuts from us!
Traveling by yourself seems like it would be a lonely experience, but hostels are actually great places to meet other travelers. Most of them are college aged, and they’re from all over the world. Many of them are traveling alone as well, so you know that you’re all in the same boat! The people at my hostel in Morocco were incredibly friendly and welcoming. I thought I’d be antisocial the whole time and hide when not out and about, but instead I managed to make some friends that I plan on keeping in touch with.