In The Media

How I travelled alone for the first time

By Jessie Payne • Schulich Leader at Queen's University
Spring 2018

The answer to this is very simple; the exact same way I have travelled with other people my entire life, with an open mind and a drive to expand my cultural experiences. The summer of 2017 was a relatively hectic one as I had a lot going on. I had just finished my first year of University and I made it out alive but not without bumps and bruises to both my GPA and my mental health. After some other things occurred that added to the inner turmoil I was feeling, I wanted to get back to who I knew I was – independent, curious, and strong. At the time, I wasn’t conscious of the fact that I needed to do this trip for my own mental health however as I booked the plane ticket two weeks before my departure date, I think I had a subconscious understanding of how important this trip was for me and my self perception. And so I jetted off to Portugal and fell in love with the friendliness of the people and the forested and natural scenery and activities it cultivates (and also the inexpensive accommodations). I started in Porto and went to the famous Harry Potter Café (Magestic Café), toured their expansive botanical gardens, and then trained to Coimbra where I kayaked the Mondego River. After which I headed to Lisbon and, among other things, toured Sintra and spent an afternoon in awe at the unique beauty of the Pena Palace (pictured). For anyone thinking of doing a solo trip, I suggest you pin Portugal as one of your destinations!