This post is a follow up to my previous post in which I asked you guys to set me tasks to get me out of my comfort zone on my second solo trip. If you haven’t read that post, it’s probably best to have a read of it before you continue with this post.
It would’ve been very easy to lie about my trip, but what good would it have done? There is something quite therapeutic about getting things off my chest and showing you all a side of myself that I have kept under wraps. I am going to keep it 100% real with y’all.
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who set me a challenge to complete on my solo trip earlier this month. You guys gave me such good challenges, some of which were a bit crazy (for me anyway), *cough cough* Damon who suggested I asked a guy for his number and Zsharmaine who said I should go out on a date. I’m trynna take baby steps and you guys got me trying to fly before I can walk lol, but I appreciate y’all and I will work up to it!
Secondly, I would like to apologise for letting you all down.
Before I go into detail about this, I will first explain how I decided to approach these tasks.
I arrived in Bucharest on Sunday afternoon and stayed until Thursday afternoon. On the day that I arrived, after getting to my hostel I just chilled and went out for food. When Monday arrived, I had yet to have decided how I would approach the tasks that I had been given – quite obviously an delay tactic.
On Tuesday I seemed to have gotten my act together, at least a bit anyway. As you guys had kindly given me quite a number of tasks to complete, I decided to select five tasks to complete using a random selector tool.
Having selected my five tasks, I decided that Tuesday and Wednesday – the only full days left – would be sufficient time in which to complete them all. Oh, how I was wrong!
Here are the five tasks and the outcome of my solo trip:
Ask for directions
I don’t really have an issue when it comes to asking for directions. Okay, I admit it! I am extremely stubborn and I like to work things out on my own. It’s only when I get ridiculously lost, with no hope of finding my destination that I resort to asking someone for help. 🙈
During my trip, I asked for directions twice. Once because I was looking for an old garage that had become an art gallery for street and graffiti artists (unfortunately it was closed) and the second time I wasn’t lost (*flips hair* 💁🏾♀️), I just asked for directions to fulfil this task lol.
Status: Mission accomplished
Ask a local for recommendations
For this task, I was meant to ask the locals for recommendations for what to see, do and eat in Bucharest.
Asking a local for recommendations would mean that I would need to make conversation with a stranger, which is definitely not my forte. 🙈
Me being my usual shy self, I found it difficult to approach new people. The two times I did ask for a recommendation was once in a bakery when I asked the woman serving me if she could recommend a pastry and the second time was when I asked one of the hostel staff whether the free walking tour was any good.
I know that I could have done a lot more for this task, so I only consider it partially completed.
Status: Mission partially accomplished/failed (glass half full or half empty?)
Talk to the locals
Another make conversation with strangers task… great! I’m joking, well kind of lol.
I’m not completely socially adept, so as much as I hate small talk, over the years I have had to learn to make conversation with people. However, I am not very good at approaching a random stranger on the street and starting a conversation.
I did have a few locals who approached me and I did talk to them for a bit. The only conversation I initiated was with one of the owners of the hostel and that was also the longest conversation with a local that I had on my trip.
This is another task that I know I could’ve done a lot more.
Status: Mission partially accomplished (definitely glass half full)
Go to a club or bar
This is the task that I was most looking forward to. I had already planned in my head, that I would make a few friends at the hostel I was staying in and during the day we would go sightseeing together and for at least one or two of the nights, we would go to a bar or a club. However, that’s the problem with having expectations, things rarely go to plan.
The people in my hostel were not very sociable, so conversations didn’t go further than an awkward “Hi!” I am currently writing a post about my first hostel experience, so stay tuned!
So with no one to go with, it made this task a lot more difficult. I am definitely not the type to go to a bar or club alone, but it looked like that was what I would have to do.
After doing some research, I found a cute little rooftop bar. Perfect for taking in the views of Bucharest during the sunset and it was the bar of a hostel, so potentially a great place to meet other solo travellers.
I planned to go on Tuesday night, but the weather said “Nahh, not today!” in the form of heavy rain, so it would have to be on Wednesday.
I had planned to go after a free walking tour in the evening, but I ended up going back to my hostel to “just chill before I go out” or in other words chicken out and spend another night and my final night in bed chilling.
Status: Mission failed
Ask three people to take your picture and then take a picture with them
When I solo travel, I tend to take pictures of myself using my camera on my gorrilapod (AKA tripod), while using my phone as a remote. However, there are times when a tripod picture is not the best option or simply not possible, this is when I have to ask someone to take my picture.
I never had an issue with asking someone to take my picture, however, I am selective about who I ask.
The issue I had with this task, was in asking a random stranger to take a picture with me.
I have been asked to take pictures with countless strangers while travelling and even once here in London. To be frank, people ask me to take a picture with them because I am black. I have talked about this in my Black Girl Travel Diaries: Kota Kinabalu post, so I won’t go into detail.
Now that I am the one asking, I feel awkward and extremely shy.
Is it weird to ask to take a picture with a stranger? What do they think when I ask them? Should I explain why I want to take a picture with them?
By the end of my trip, I had a few pictures taken of me, but I had not had the courage to ask anyone to take a picture with me.
On my way back to my hostel to get my suitcase and leave for the airport, I was literally stood at a bus stop for over 30 minutes trying to talk myself into asking someone.
Thankfully I was able to pluck up some courage from somewhere and I asked a guy to take a picture of me and then very awkwardly asked him to take a picture with me. He was kind enough to agree. He even took off his sunglasses, so I took mine off too lol. So here’s the picture of my Romanian friend, who’s name I was too shy to ask. 🙈
Status: Mission partially accomplished (positivity is key 😊)
Towards the end of my trip, I felt like I hadn’t completed anything that I set out to, which had me feeling like sh**… I felt like I had let not only myself down, but everyone who had taken the time to set me a task. Writing this post has me made me realise that I actually did better than I thought I had. The little progress I have made on this trip is a step in the right direction.
So yes, I am shy, I do care too much about what other people think about me and I do let that stop me from being 100% me. But I’m working on it and that’s all that matters.
Should other people’s opinions define you?
Hell to the no!
Do other people’s opinions define you?
To an extent.
Some of you may be like “Ohhh hell no!”, but the reality is that we sometimes give power to the opinions of others or what we perceive to be their opinions – but really is just a projection of our own insecurities.
I let my fear of people’s opinions about me define me, by stopping me from being 100% me.
I am in a prison of my own making and in the words of a Spanish proverb, “Shyness is a prison of the heart.”
I have committed to escaping this prison by eliminating each bar one after the other. As part of this, I plan to continue setting myself tasks like these on my future solo trips and just on a day-to-day basis.
I’m not sure if the struggles of a shy girl trying to overcome her shyness while travelling, is something that you would be interested in reading. However, if you are interested, let me know and I’ll be happy to bring you along on the journey! 😊
Like always, let me know what you think in the comments! Also if you know any good bloggers who talk about overcoming their shyness, please do share, as I’d love to read about others’ experiences.
Well, until next time guys!
Follow my travels as I work towards my goal of visiting 25 countries before I turn 25: