Venice: My First Trip As A Sister Travelling Solo [New Blog]
My first experience, as a black woman travelling on her own to Venice in Italy. As Hurricane Maria was passing through Nevis last month, I took the time to catch up on some of the blogs that I am subscribed to. I was catching up on Coconut + Concrete. This blog is about her passion for travelling around the Caribbean after visiting from her home in New York as a young child. Wes plans to visit every island in the Caribbean by 2024. We got talking about her favourite bloggers.
Travel blogger Wes Coconut + Concrete is a “city-raised island girl”. We got chatting on Instagram (as you do) and Wes said one of her favourite blogs right now is Marissa’s Teachable Moments, where teacher Marissa travels on a budget. As I read about Marissa’s travels to Italy where she spent 3 days, 2 nights in Venice I reminisced on my first ever trip alone.
Like many people, I had been talking about travelling solo but never took it serious enough. Less than 48 hours before flying out, I sat in a vegan café in Camberwell, South London, did some research and booked a flight and accommodation to Venice.
Don’t take advice from people who haven’t done what you want to do.
Before travelling, I did some research into the type of experiences that black people had in Venice. In other words, I wanted to know if being a black woman was a cause for concern. Travel blogger, Maverick Goddess writes about #BeingBlackAbroad from her personal experience and experience of her fellow black friends. It’s so surreal that being black causes a safety concern for women travelling alone.
In another post, Maverick Goddess gives tips on Preparing To Travel Solo and says, “don’t take advice from people who haven’t done what you want to do”. Maverick says that many people will impose their insecurities on you.
In 2008, when I told family and friends that I was travelling to China for three weeks, they were concerned. Around this time, a young British woman, teaching in Japan had been tragically murdered by her Japanese boyfriend. I could understand people’s reservations about crime in foreign countries. However, I did have to remind them that China and Japan are two separate destinations. Just as Nevis is not in Jamaica (disclaimer: yes people do ask what part of Jamaica Nevis is in).
After researching potential racism or sexism, my biggest reservation about travelling solo was my lack of direction. I have always lacked spatial awareness. However, when I was in Venice, relying only on myself to get around for the first time, and without Google Maps, was refreshing, despite this limitation.
Arriving in Venice
My British Airways flight arrived at Marco Polo airport on Monday at 7:40 a.m. There is ATVO bus from the airport that cost 14€ return to Piazze Roma terminus. Then I walked to San Carlos, which is where I spent two nights at the very basic B&B Exclusive. Finding the apartment was like a maze, just side streets and lots of bridges.
I ate my first Italian margarita pizza near my accommodation – nice – thin crust, large size, and held my stomach while I found my bearings. I ate dinner at Ae Oche where I enjoyed fresh pasta and mussels. Again, it was filling Italian portions are quite large.
As a woman who loves the beach, I found Alberoni beach, not far from the Lido area. However, the sand was flat and the atmosphere like a seaside.
I am not a fan of public transport. Even living in London, I drove to the train station where I could conveniently park and caught one
direct train which stopped outside my office. On evenings and weekends, I drove everywhere. In Nevis, I’m not a fan of passenger buses either. If I can’t get a lift, whilst I wait, I hope that I’ll see someone who is driving in my direction. However, in Venice, the public transport is mainly by water bus. This method of transport, I enjoyed. It was summer and the boats are open air, so I could breathe. Also, I got to appreciate the beauty of Venice on my way to sites such as the Gallery of Modern Art. This gallery has sculptures and paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. With my travel ticket, I had free or discounted access to some of the attractions.
There was a lot of excitement about my palate enjoying some Italian gelato. I had a number of flavours and hazelnut was my favourite from Boutique del Gelato, which Venetians agree has some of the best in the city. I spent nearly three full days in Venice, as my flight was at 10:45 on Wednesday night.
Benefits of travelling solo over group travel
Whilst I love a girls trip, waking up each morning when you feel like it is a bonus. Another benefit is only relying on yourself to get ready. Finally, there is no compromise on the activities you want to do.
In addition to being totally selfish, the advantage of travelling alone is meeting new people that you may not have interacted with. You also realise how small the world is. My housemate was from Birmingham (my hometown). Similarly, my roommate in China was from Birmingham and we had mutual friends.
Whilst in Venice, I was able to explore, reflect, read and write. I didn’t have a blog, however, writing a journal is my emotional release. If you are thinking about journaling, freelance writer Leanne Lindsey’s has tips on how to start journaling.
In summary, travelling solo was liberating. I never realised how much I appreciate solitude until I explored a new city alone. Exploring a new city, and whilst relying on myself to get around was completely out of my comfort zone. By only relying on myself, I was able to make the most of my time in this beautiful, romantic city. I will definitely do more solo travel. Venice is a very romantic city that I will visit in the future with bae. Whilst I’m a big fan of finding your tribe, doing your own thing is the way forward. In my opinion, you can wait a lifetime for your diaries, budgets, occasions to match up with your potential travel buddies. Stop waiting for the right time. The travelling experience is so different when you do it alone.
Related: Mind & Soul: Life Sentence