Long weekends are for catching flights, and that’s exactly what I did this past Valentine’s day weekend.
Thanks to my ever obsessive search for cheap flights and mistake fares, I booked myself a flight to Amsterdam for a long weekend. Even on a spontaneous weekend trip across the Atlantic who said I have to spend it alone? Whether you are meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, or reuniting with family, solo travel is always what you make of it. So as soon as I knew I would be heading to Amsterdam I picked up my phone and sent out some feelers.
Lucky for me I have plenty of friends and family all over the world, so I try to use my travels to reconnect. After my brother moved back to Germany my freshman year of college I didn’t get to see him often. The last time was the winter of 2017 where I spent Christmas with him, my aunt, and cousins, during my month-long trip across three continents. Life often gets in the way; infrequent phone calls and texts here and there mostly made up 2018. So, when I knew my trip to Amsterdam was a sure thing I saw if he wanted to spend some quality time with his little sister for the weekend.
After 13-hours in a cramped and stiff neck inducing plane ride and a much-needed refresher, I hit the ground running. A bath and another 13-hours under freshly pressed sheets would’ve been nice, but your girls had 4 days, 3 nights. Plus, what’s coffee for but artificial fuel for the consistently sleep deprived traveler. I spent the next 12 to 14 hours going up and down the canals and walking into chic European boutiques on 9 Street pretending I could ever afford the overpriced bedazzled clutches. Taking in the shallow waters in the daylight, sunset, and glowing midnight lamps with still hot fries and dripping spicy mayo in hand and Van Gogh and Banksy accompanying me along the way. By midnight I was stuffing my face in a local döner shop trying to recharge for the next day (someone please tell me where I can get good döner in the states, I’m desperate).
By the time I was on my second round of too much cheese, carbs, and coffee (my three C’s for every Eurotrip) I got a text from my brother telling me he was on the last leg of his four-hour journey. Before I knew it we were hugging in the middle of a lobby, laughing at how different we both look after just one year. Reunited at last! The next 24 hours weren’t much different. We talked and talked and bar hopped through Amsterdam until it didn’t feel like it had been years since we were in the same house.
It was my first time in Amsterdam, but he knew his way around, so I got to peep some cool spots like this amazing little whiskey bar that I am most definitely going back to someday, and of course a little second-hand English bookstore on the corner of Kloveniersburgwal and Rusland. We heard some live jazz, some Burna Boy, and of course some Dutch. We caught each other up on our year and talked about where we would be in the next year and just how crazy fast time moves.
In the last hours, we grabbed some coffee and sat by the large steps in front of the central station as a group of laughing English boys rushed to the steps with music blasting and duffle bags clattering. As four o’clock hit we made our way to central, bought our train and tram tickets, hugged again, and said our goodbyes, promising to see each other in the next city.
Living the nomadic life means there are a lot of goodbyes, but it doesn’t have to mean you are alone.
So really is solo travel ever actually solo?
Comment below and tell us how you like to spend your time when traveling solo.