We’re very please to introduce you to our new podcast series with Suzanne Wharton AKA @suzygoessolo. Below Suzy introduces herself and this wonderful series.
I met Suzanne a few weeks ago having followed her travels on Instagram and just loved the comments, pictures and her unique take on solo travel which was, at times, hilarious. Having chatted for a while we agreed that podcasts would be a great way of telling her travel stories in her very own unique way especially in these, beyond strange times that we’re currently experiencing and so, by way of introduction, here’s Suzy…
So here I am, March 25th 2020, writing from ‘lockdown’ in my parents bungalow as I do my best to shield them from infection. I think we’re all sat here in a current state of ‘is this really happening?’ scared for those we love that are most vulnerable, unsure of what happens next. Last year was supposed to be my BAD year, the year that truly kicked my arse – maybe it was just the introduction? Let me take you back and explain….
Last summer was like a bad episode of the soap Hollyoaks (but with less fake eyelashes and over bronzed tans). In a short space of time my home in South London was trashed and burgled, my Nan suffered a stroke, I broke up with the first man I ever thought I might marry, and had a nasty fall that left me with concussion. I literally couldn’t make it all up! I found myself at the end of August realising that something needed to change. Smiling through the pain and saying ‘I’m fine’ was becoming seriously unconvincing, and the recycling box full of empty wine bottles wasn’t fooling my landlords anytime soon. I’d been saving all my holiday for a planned trip to Thailand with the ex at the end of the year, and as all my friends had kids/boyfriends/husbands/etc it looked liked I was going to have do this alone. So Suzygoessolo was born.
A drunken Tuesday night quickly escalated into a master plan pretty quick. I wrote down the name of 20 cities I’d always wanted to see and put all of them in a jar. I pulled out 6 and for the next six months I would travel alone to each one for 4 days/3 nights, something to look forward to and pull me out of this funk I was currently living in. First up came Barcelona, them Lisbon. November saw Amsterdam, December was Stockholm, then I would start the new year in Berlin and end the trips in February with Copenhagen.
Little did I know that as I began these journeys, not only would they change my life… but the world itself was about to change. To say I feel blessed and fortunate to have taken these trips when I did is an understatement. By the end of November I was enjoying it so much I handed in my notice at work and added two weeks travelling from north to south Italy too, leaving Naples just as the first cases of coronvirus were being reported there.
Whilst my sarcastic and self deprecating humour is infamous amongst my friends and family and I continue to make jokes about my current living situation, I am honestly terrified. I find myself thinking of things each trip and culture taught me, now more than ever. In Stockholm I learnt the work FIKA, a word than means ‘appreciating little moments’, something that can be as simple as your morning coffee. I find myself now creating my own 8am ritual, grinding my coffee beans and savouring every second of that first cup of fresh pressed coffee in my cafetière. In Copenhagen I leant the meaning of HUGGE, their mood of coziness mixed with feelings of wellness and comfort. I currently find myself reading books by candlelight making a snug corner for myself to calm my mind. In Berlin I learnt real KINDESS, in a city with such a history of violence and war – I felt more welcome and accepted than anywhere else I visited. It reminded we are all equal and something as simple as a smile to a stranger you pass in the street can make their day.
None of us know what’s coming, but over the next few posts I’m going to tell a little bit about where I’ve been, in the hope that when all this madness is over it might inspire you to take your own solo trip, or visit one of these amazing cities with a friend or loved one.