5 Lessons I Learnt From My Solo Trip To An Easter-European Country! | Eram Shaikh

5 Lessons I Learnt From My Solo Trip To An Easter-European Country!

Last year in 2020, before the pandemic emerged, I went on a trip to Ukraine. The reason why I chose the country was for a volunteering project of 45 days—as a 19-year-old, going on your first solo trip to another continent can bring a new challenge and adventure at the same time.  I always have a soft spot for European architecture, and visiting an Eastern European country was an exciting adventure. 

Before my journey, I did thorough research online about the country’s people, language, currencies, safety, and more. Since I had to get my visa, the process was quite challenging for me. My visa arrived late than the expected date. Of course, I missed my flight and had to reschedule the entire trip, but eventually, it all fell in place, and it was worth it!

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Being from a hot country where we rarely experience extreme cold, Ukraine’s weather was quite hard to bear. As I entered the country, the chilled waves hit my face, and the fresh air of the new country clicked a thought, “maybe this is going to be my best time!” 

As a tourist, I had to spend 45 days in the country. I had a lot of mixed feelings, mainly because of the language barrier. I didn’t know how to speak Ukrainian, and most people didn’t speak English. But technology was my biggest savior! I used a translator to get all the basic help I needed.  

Few Lessons I Learnt From The Trip!

45 days was enough for me to explore various things, and there are a few things I learned on my trip. 

  1. The country is beautiful with plenty of history:
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Ukraine has a history of being involved in wars. There’s so much I didn’t know. When you visit the country, you will see plenty of historic places. One of the main things that attracted me was the various historical places and monuments I saw. The Motherland Monument is a famous place with a museum filled with all the remains from various wars Ukraine was a part of, including World War 2. There are statues, old churches, museums, places, and more that will make you feel overwhelmed with the richness of history. 


2. The world isn’t filled with bad people as we think -Kindness exists.

Being in a new country alone, one of my biggest fears was, “what if people are rude?.” Luckily, I encountered many locals who were always ready to help me with even the necessities. 

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Another prominent incident to back up this point is that one of my group members was a 45-year-old lady who didn’t speak English either. She found out I came alone, so she invited me to join her on the city tour. We went to different places together, and she offered me coffee and gave me Ukraine’s traditional chocolates. 

Lastly, when I was leaving, a day before, I went to my workshop place. Although the group mates and I didn’t communicate much, they ensured that I carried a memory. The locals gave me postcards, letters, mugs, and traditional foods I’d never forget! This sweet yet significant gesture was enough to prove to me that hospitality and kindness run in their blood and that the world has a lot of kind and good people in it. 

3. Technology is a savior!

No matter how much I elaborate on this, it is going to be less. Irrespective of the language I spoke, technology was my biggest savior. When I had connection issues and couldn’t open a translator, the people around helped me find the right thing I needed. Whenever I visited the grocery store, If the helper understood that I’m not a native Ukrainian speaker, we communicated through actions and worked out things.

4. You will miss home, but you will learn to do things alone and open up space for personal growth.

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Being in a different country will always make you miss your roots, but it also opens up space for personal growth. You meet new people, have new adventures, do things independently without anyone’s help, and understand how beautiful our world is. This is one of the biggest lessons I learned. When you step out of your comfort zone, you actually realize the world is beautiful, and there is so much more to explore in life! 

5. Always have a solid financial plan.

Having a good financial backup plan is essential. Sometimes, things happen unexpectedly, and you may end up losing your finances more than you planned. For me, I didn’t think I’d spend money on chocolates, but I loved the traditional chocolates so much that I ended up spending $100 for just chocolates to bring it home. 

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There is so much I can write about the trip! Hands-down it was one of the best trips of my life, filled with valuable life lessons. From food to places, everything made me fall in love with the country! 

#solotrip#trip #adventure#europe#ukraine#travel#travelblog

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