When I told the editor in chief that I would write an article about my solo trip, I didn’t expect that I would come back with so many mixed feelings to write about. I thought it would be a simple rundown of my trip and what I did, but at the Edinburgh airport I realized that my life had changed just a little. If you haven’t done a solo trip yet, this is your sign. Let’s dive in, shall we? 


Why did I do it? 

This year has been a rough one to say the least. I have had many good moments, wins and memories, but it has been an exhausting year, mentally and physically. I was tired and run down and I felt really out of control. Nothing felt in my control, and it just felt like life was passing me by. In shorter terms, I was having a bit of an existential crisis. Some people cut their bangs, some people start stress-knitting, some people talk it out with a friend. Me, on the other hand, I decided to spontaneously book a solo trip. Any sane person would do that right? Yeah? No. I just had a strong urge to run away from everyone and everything, so that’s exactly what I did. On the 1st of October, I booked the plane tickets and an Airbnb in what became one of my favourite places, Edinburgh.  

I had heard a lot about Edinburgh from my older sister who had been there in early September, and she came home and said, “this is literally the place for you, you’d love it!”. I trust my sister’s judgement far more than my own, so I took her word for it and booked the tickets. In the following month after I booked the trip, I saved countless of TikToks and posts, I saved recommendations on what to see and do in the city.  

I did have another motive for going to Edinburgh too, which was the chance of meeting my lovely pen pal, Aisha, who’s from the UK, for the first time ever. Aisha is a long-time internet friend of mine, and we have sent each other a lot of letters over the last year. Sometime in September, she sent me a brochure about Edinburgh in the mail with a note saying, “I do hope you visit sometime”. She had been there a lot of times and always told me about how lovely it was. And you better believe I wasn’t going to let her down. I told her that I booked the tickets, and quickly after she told me that she was coming to Edinburgh too. We were finally going to meet! 

A step out of the comfort zone 

There are a few things you should know about me before I tell you the rest. Before Edinburgh, I had never travelled alone, let alone been in an airport alone. I had never had dinner alone at a restaurant, and my navigational skills were nowhere to be found. I almost failed orienteering in high school, so this trip would really test me. But surprisingly, it went as smooth as I could have possibly imagined. I got through the airport in Oslo with the help of my mom, and I got on the plane. Inhale, exhale. For the first time in a while, I was completely alone. I was ready to take on the challenges of a solo trip.  

I had planned to stay 5 nights in the city, so I arrived there on the 31st of October, on a sunny Tuesday (which is not normal for Edinburgh at this time of the year, I’ve learned). The transportation possibilities were really easy to get to, and I quickly managed to find my way out of the airport and into a tram (which is similar to what a trikk would be in Norway). Within the first ten minutes of the tram ride, I had already fallen a little bit in love with the city. Every building we drove by was gorgeous! I kept staring out the window, and after about 40 minutes, I had arrived in Leith, a little district about 10 minutes outside of Edinburgh. After a short walk I had arrived to this really cute Airbnb where I was going to stay with the young couple that owned the place. They were really great and welcoming, and I had a nice chat with them; and their cute cat while I unloaded my baggage in my room. They gave me a lot of recommendations for activities in the city, and I was ready to explore around on my first day in Edinburgh.  

The goals for the first day were simple. Explore around town, visit the St. Giles Cathedral, maybe the Central Library, and find a place to eat (preferably a ramen place since I was really craving it). And during the 6 hours or so that I had stayed out, I managed to visit the Scott Monument and the New College, walked through, and explored Victoria Street, peeked into the Central Library, and found a place to eat. Edinburgh is a really great city to walk through because every main attraction was within walking distance from each other. I got to see a lot just on the first day.  

And now came the big challenge – to dine alone at a restaurant. I actually found this really cute ramen place called Maki & Ramen, and it was a tiny little restaurant but still packed with people. My anxiety started to get to me when I walked in that door, but I was quickly seated at a table for one by the very sweet staff. I had brought with me an emotional support book with me in case I wanted to look a bit busy, but surprisingly, I didn’t feel as bad once I had sat down. I placed my order and waited a few minutes. It was interesting to look around at the people in this restaurant. I wasn’t the only one there alone, and in some way, it felt really comforting. I got my huge bowl of ramen, and it was absolutely magnificent. The warm soup and noodles also added to this comfort. I tried to stay away from looking at my phone for the whole dinner to really stay in the moment, and it was actually quite nice. I felt in control again. I had my dinner in the bustling restaurant, thanked the staff and was ready to walk home. The walk home from the city was about 20 minutes, and it was very calming to walk in the brisk air and through the beautiful streets of Edinburgh.  

One thing about this trip is that I didn’t wear my headphones at all after I got out of the airport, which is very weird for someone like me who gets very consumed in my music. I didn’t really feel like it? I wanted to pay attention to the streets and the people, the sounds of the city, and music felt like an escape from all of that. However, I didn’t want to escape. I walked home quietly and found myself stopping at this incredibly cute bookshop on my way. It’s called Typewrongers, and it quickly became a place I stopped by almost every day for the whole trip. I bought a book and got a folded origami dragon with it and made my way home to Leith. It’s fascinating how a place can feel like home in such a short time.  

The second day alone consisted of a trip to the Edinburgh Castle. It was raining a lot that day, but lucky for me, I had come prepared with my full rainsuit packed. The castle was beautiful, and my inner history geek had a blast. After that, I stopped by the Greyfriar’s Kirkyard to satisfy the Harry Potter fangirl in me, and then I had lunch at this cute little bistro that my sister had recommended. I was often surprised by the fact that I didn’t feel lonely through all of this. I genuinely had a great time with myself, and I didn’t let the overthinking part of me take over any part of this trip. After lunch, I stopped by the National Portrait Gallery, before I went home to take a much-needed nap. I had dinner by myself in the city in the evening at a restaurant called Mowgli, and it was fantastic. My walk home was quite peaceful, and I stopped by the bookshop again and actually met and talked to the owner, who is also a writer! 


The pen pal and the places  

The following day was finally the day I was going to meet her, Aisha. I remember how nervous I was right before it. I had never met this person before, and I was kind of scared? What if this doesn’t work out? But to no surprise, it worked as well as I could have ever imagined. She came with a friend and scared the shit out of me by hugging me by the Scott Monument when we first met. I was surprised by how tiny she was compared to what I had imagined in my head. I’m not that used to people being shorter than me. But the vibe was absolutely amazing with both her and her friend, and everything felt so natural and calming. We checked into their Airbnb and chilled out for a while before we set out to explore some more. The following days I got to see a lot of places before they left. I wasn’t really alone anymore, not that it bothered me, but it was nice to have someone to explore with. We saw the Camera Obscura Museum, Calton Hill, Dean Village, The Writer’s Museum and some cute streets and cafés. We also spent two of the evenings watching romcoms at the Airbnb. Let’s just say that I fell in love with Hugh Grant. We spent so much time laughing and getting to know each other and I treasure the time I spent with these girls so much. I can’t even begin to explain the impact they left on me.  

 I would go into detail, but I could literally write a book about this whole trip. We spent two and a half days together before they left, which meant that I had one more evening all alone. I spent the rest of the evening at the National Gallery, and then I went back to the ramen place for dinner and stopped by the bookshop again on the way home. The day actually got pretty emotional after having left my friends at the train station, but thankfully, I met a lot of kind strangers on the last day, whom I had some lovely conversations with. In Scotland people actually aren’t afraid to talk to strangers, like we are here in Norway so that was a nice surprise.  

Final thoughts 

I could go on forever, but I’ll try to end this with a reflection. I actually really loved being alone for a while, just in my own world and doing whatever I wanted. I didn’t have to follow anyone’s schedule, and I got to see all the places I wanted to see. I got to write poetry in the Central Library like the main character I think I am. I got to talk to an old lady at the gallery who did art and told me that it was lovely meeting me. I got to fall in love with my friend, watching her interact with people, and being her true wonderful self. I got to have a cigarette in the park with a stranger and I talked to a lovely couple during dinner who told me to enjoy life while I was still young. I met so many kind strangers and I had so many moments where I thought “Wow, this feels like a movie”. I loved every bit of this trip. I have always been so scared of being too much alone with my thoughts, but it all worked out somehow. It made me want to spend even more time with myself. I journaled multiple times a day during this trip, maybe that helped with my usual overthinking. But I truly had the most amazing time. I learned that being alone isn’t all that bad, and maybe that’s exactly what I need in life right now. I have fallen on my face so many times trying to chase people and feelings, and for once, I didn’t feel like I needed anyone else. I was perfectly content with myself, and I have never felt so at peace as I did in Edinburgh. I came home with a heavy feeling in my chest of having left a piece of my heart in that city. It felt unfinished. I learnt a lot about my identity on this trip too, but that’s for another time. But all I can say is that I’m so proud that I did this for myself, and there isn’t really anything like that feeling. And if you’re considering a solo trip, DO IT. I mean it, book the tickets right now. It has changed my life.  

Believe me or not, I have already booked my tickets back to Edinburgh. See you in February! 

Favourite places: 

  • Typewrongers bookshop – met the nicest strangers there and this bookshop is just so cute! They also have a bunch of typewriters there and actually one functional one you could use.  
  • Edinburgh Central Library – my dark academia dreams were realized. 
  • The National Gallery – I spent 4 hours crying here after having left Aisha at the train station and met a lovely old lady who told me so much about her life. This gallery holds a special place in my heart.   
  • Dean Village – The dream is to move here, such a lovely little village.  
  • Calton Hill – the sunset from up there was so gorgeous.  
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral – I was feeling a bit emotional at the time, and an old man told me “Peace be with you” when I was lighting a candle and it made me cry a little.  


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1 Comment

  1. I am so proud of you My dear

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