Tag Archives: travel

My First Time Flying Alone

By Jonah Weingarten

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

Throughout my life, I have traveled all around the world. I have been to Israel, Spain (twice), the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Costa Rica, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Mexico. Soon, I will also be going to Canada for the first time. Although I love traveling, there are some things about the traveling experience that haven’t always been easy for me: I used to struggle with traveling alone.

The first time I ever traveled alone was when I went to Costa Rica the summer after my freshman year of high school. I remember it clearly-it was 3:00 in the morning and I had just woken up. I was so excited to go abroad alone for the first time, but at the same time I was really scared. My flight was not until 8:30, but the program told us to arrive 4 hours before because of customs and traveling to South America. Since LAX was decently close to us, we left at 4 o’clock. The roads were completely empty and I already knew we could have left later. When we got to the airport, my mom parked and walked me to security. Since this was my first time flying alone, I was not quite sure what to do. I followed my mom to the bag check and we checked my bag and got my boarding pass. After that we headed to security where we said our goodbyes.

Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

The TSA line went pretty quickly and after 20 minutes I was sitting at my gate, listening to music and reading my book to pass the time. After what seemed like a full day we started to board and then just like that we took off to Houston for our connecting flight to Costa Rica. After 3 or so hours we touched down in Houston, and I met up with the rest of the group for our Costa Rica flight. Because it was such a short layover, it seemed like we got to Costa Rica in no time. I sent my mom a text as soon as we landed to let her know I had arrived. We landed in San Jose and stayed the night. The next day, we boarded a bus that took us on a 2-hour drive to the mountains where we were staying with our host families. The town was called Turrialba.

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My Concert Catastrophe-How to Survive Live Concerts

By Anahi Terrazas

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[4.5 minute read]

Prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, concert-going was one of my favorite pastimes. I’ve been to multiple concerts over the past couple of years (my favorite arguably being the One Direction concert). One of my favorite artists is also Harry Styles, so you can imagine my excitement when I learned that he would be performing during Super Bowl weekend in Miami.

As soon as I heard he would be performing in Miami, I bought tickets—mind you, I didn’t know anyone that I could go to the concert with, so I messaged a girl that I had met at the Women’s March and added on Instagram weeks prior to the concert. It turned out that she was also going to be attending the concert and didn’t have anyone to go with, so we made a plan to meet up at the venue. The concert was approximately a 40-50 minute drive from where I was attending school prior to transferring to USC.

The concert was at 8 pm, but it was open seating, so to get a good seat you had to arrive early. I got there promptly at 5 am the day of the concert. I had driven from Parkland, Florida to Miami. The venue was built specifically for Super Bowl weekend and it was basically on an island that did not have any parking, so in order to arrive you had to park somewhere in downtown Miami and Uber to the venue (this is an important detail for later). I very excitedly arrived at Miami and by around 6:15 am I was standing in line with my friend from the Women’s March.

Standing in line outside the venue at around 6:30 am

While waiting in line, everything was seemingly normal; we made friends with the girls in line with us and chatted about how excited we were. However, when the clock hit 7:30 pm and we still weren’t allowed into the venue, I started to question what was happening. We were eventually led into the venue at around 8:30 pm, and though I was incredibly tired because I had been awake since 4 am, the rush of being able to see Harry Styles perform kept me from getting too impatient. Mark Ronson, a DJ, was the first opening act and by around 10:30 pm, Lizzo, the second opening act, started performing.

My view of the stage once inside the venue

Though I had been to many concerts before, I had never experienced the main act starting so late. After Lizzo’s performance, time passed and there was still no sign of Harry Styles getting on stage. At this point everyone in the pit started to get dehydrated because we had been standing so long without water. People started to ask security for water and question why it was almost midnight and Harry Styles had yet to perform.

View from the pit

Nevertheless, the people around me and I kept our hopes up because it was Harry Styles’ birthday the next day, so we assumed that he was waiting until midnight to perform in order to celebrate his birthday. In fact, once the clock hit 12 am fans started to sing “Happy Birthday” when suddenly, the screen in front of us flashed a message saying that the concert was canceled due to extreme weather and that we had to be evacuated.

Announcement telling concert-goers we needed to evacuate
Continue reading My Concert Catastrophe-How to Survive Live Concerts

Solo Summer Adventures

By Rachel Priebe

[3 minute read]

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

Growing up, I often spent part of my summers traveling with family or friends. To me, travel was an opportunity to discover new places, as well as to strengthen bonds with my loved ones. It was not until my first semester of college, however, that I found myself completely alone in an unfamiliar setting. I spent my fall semester at the American University of Paris. Other than the architecture, world-renowned art museums, and cafes, what I appreciated most about Paris was its location. Living in Paris put me in close proximity to other amazing cities in Europe that I wanted to visit. Within my first couple of months in Paris, I had already been on several weekend trips with friends and on a study trip to Warsaw, Poland. In the middle of the semester, we had a week off for fall break. The city that was on the top of my list to visit was Munich, Germany. Unfortunately, all of my friends wanted to spend their fall break elsewhere. Thus, I found myself venturing out on my first solo adventure.

Since that week in Germany, I have taken several trips on my own. The majority have been brief weekend trips, but I have recently taken a trip in which I spent over a month traveling in the Balkans. The greatest benefit that I have found in embarking on these trips alone is the immense sense of freedom you feel. Solo travel can make you feel unrestricted and give you a healthy sense of independence. When you travel alone, all of your decisions – about where to stay, where to eat, and which tourist attractions to visit- are your own and don’t have to be filtered through the minds and desires of other people. Another benefit that comes with this sense of freedom is spontaneity. When you only have yourself to account for, it is easier to make decisions on the spot. You can arrive at the airport without a concrete plan and then make up your route as you go along.

Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash

A third reason to travel alone is that it gives you the opportunity to meet new people. I have found that when I travel with friends or family, I end up spending time exclusively with those people. While that is a great way to strengthen already existing relationships, travel is an invaluable opportunity to have new experiences, and one of the most enriching experiences is meeting new people who come from different backgrounds. There is a misconception that traveling alone is a lonely and solitary endeavor. This could not be further from the truth. When you travel unaccompanied, you instantly make yourself seem more approachable. It also becomes easier to go outside of your comfort zone and build connections with people who would have otherwise remained strangers.

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash

Some of the most fascinating people I have met have been fellow solo travelers at hostels. I have found that people who travel frequently tend to be very free-spirited and full of interesting stories. Furthermore, bonding with more experienced travelers is an effective way to obtain travel advice. For example, when I was in the Balkans, I made most of my decisions regarding which places to visit based on the recommendations of fellow travelers.

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