What is solo travel? Definition – Solo travel means you’re going somewhere alone. Now, just because you travel alone doesn’t mean you’ll always be alone during your travels.
When I was younger I use to Solo travel all the time. In my early 20’s I was somewhat fearless when it came to traveling alone. Now that I have gotten older I am almost always traveling with friends or family, and I haven’t travelled by myself in years. So I decided it was time for me to venture out by myself again.
If you have been putting off a trip because you don’t have anyone to travel with, or if you are just afraid of being on your own in a foreign country, don’t be. You can do this. If you are doing a solo trip for the first time start with somewhere not too far from your home, just to get your feet wet. Maybe just a 24-hour trip, to start with. I wouldn’t suggest more than a long weekend for your first trip.
Trust me – the thought of traveling alone can be scary. More so if you have never done it before. However, I think what scares me most is to not have done it at all. No regrets, right? Let me share with you this journey on my solo trip.
So here I am on my own in Toronto, Canada and it’s exhilarating. I had always wanted to visit Toronto. It’s been on my list of target destinations for a while. I had heard many times how interesting and culturally diverse it is.
Toronto, the capital of the province of Ontario, is a major Canadian city along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore. This metropolis is Canada’s melting pot with half of the population born outside of Toronto. It is the most multicultural city in the world. Due to this, there are lots of different languages and cuisines. It is a fun and easy city to explore, with beautiful skyscrapers, including the iconic, free-standing CN Tower. Toronto also has many green spaces, trails, beaches and so many more attractions to visit. There are a few of the attractions I got to visit while I was there.
My first stop was the CN Tower – which one of the most iconic attractions to visit if you are in Toronto. CN Tower (Canadian National, named after the company that built the tower 1976) was once the world’s tallest free-standing structure and the world tallest tower for three decades.
The ride on the elevator to the observation deck is fast and can be a bit nerve-wracking because you can see through the glass doors of the elevator as you ascend.
When you get to the top – if you are not a big fan of heights – this might be perturbing for you, especially if you decide to walk on the glass floor. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous you could do the Edge Walk which takes you on the roof of the main pod, here you can take a hands-free walk around the roof. It took me a while to build up the courage to stand on the glass floor, so I was not in any way ready for the Edge Walk. It looked like it was fun for the people doing it though. Overall the tower was a fun experience. There is also a 360 Restaurant where you can enjoy a meal.
Ripley’s Aquarium is located next to the CN tower. It is one of Toronto’s newer attraction and it is home to 450 species. One of the attractions inside is the option to walk through a glass underwater tunnel where you can admire some of the marine life swimming over your head and around you. I didn’t get to visit because I didn’t have enough time. However, this would be a fun place to visit especially if you have children.
Please note that the lines to the CN Tower can be at times 2 hours long, so do plan to get there early or buy your tickets online to save time.
St. Lawrence Market
Because of the cultural diversity of Toronto, there is a huge variety of food from around the world to choose from. Some of theses cuisine experiences can be had at China town, Korea town and at different restaurants around the city. St Lawrence Market is also on the list of places to visit to enjoy good food. At St. Lawrence Market you can find various food stalls and restaurants along with a few souvenirs shops.
The Harbor front and Graffiti Alley are both nice places to go for a stroll and take some interesting pictures. The Graffiti Alley is located between Queen Street and Richmond Street West, just west of Spadina Avenue.
Royal Ontario Museum
The exterior of the Royal Ontario Museum, with the nickname “the crystal”, looked unusually stunning to me. It is the largest Museum in Canada and inside you can see dinosaurs and Egyptian artifacts here as well as other exhibitions.
Some other places worth visiting while in Toronto:-
- Casa Loma – Though it may look like a really old castle it actually only about 100 years old. It was built as a home consisting of 98 rooms. There is, of course, a story that goes with it. Very interesting to visit and hear.
- Bata Shoe Museum – home of the world’s largest collection of shoes. It is a museum where they collect footwear from around the world. The shoes are restored, preserved and exhibited. If you are a shoe lover, this should be interesting for you to see.
- Hockey Hall of Fame – Hockey is a very popular sport in Toronto so if you are a hockey fan this would the place to visit for you. You can learn about all the favorite players and the game’s history.estored
- The Distillery – a very distinct neighborhood, it is home to lots of buildings that were part of the whiskey export. The area was redone and now is home to lots of cafes, restaurants, and galleries
- Bloor-Yorkville – Toronto’s most elegant and expensive shopping and dining area, it is home to high-end designers like Tiffany, D&G, Louis Vuitton and Hermès. Really great events are held here, like car shows and holiday events. This chic area is well worth exploring while in Toronto.
- University of Toronto The buildings are beautiful to look at, and you can enjoy a walk through the grounds of the university. Quite a few movies were filmed here. It has lots of green spaces where you can sit and relax.
- Yonge-Dundas Square – is a public square in downtown Toronto. It is very busy and full of life with an electrifying feel when you are there. It reminded me a bit of Time Square and Piccadilly Circus in London.
When I travel, I like to try some of the country’s local cuisines. When I was in Montreal a few days earlier I was encouraged to try Poutine. This dish originated from the Canadian province of Quebec in the 1950″s. It is made of french fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy – meat can be added. This dish was for many years seen as a dish for the lower class in Montreal. Over time the stigma was lifted and Poutine is now celebrated as a cultural pride in the Quebec province along with most other places in Canada. My friends insisted though that Montreal had the best Poutine in Canada. However with so many other cuisines to try in Montreal, I didn’t get the chance to indulge in one there. I had however insisted that I would not leave Canada and not have tried Poutine. So when I got to Toronto, I thought this was my chance. In between my hop on hop off tour, I found a place in a food court in the Eaton center at Yonge-Dundas Square.
And finally, I tasted it. I thought it was really good. But I was so hungry when I had it that my review of this dish may have been a little biased. I thought the gravy would ruin the french fries, but it didn’t. In a strange kind of way it all complimented each other. It was worth trying though.
Are we really alone when you Solo Travel?
Here is a quick story of an experience I had while on my Solo Trip in Toronto. Even though very unlikely to happen to most, this is the story: While seated on the hop on hop off tour bus, a lady came to sit by me, and after a while, we introduced ourselves only to learn that we both live 20 min from each other in the same state. Crazy right? Anyways we clicked and ended up spending some time together that day shopping, having a meal and just exploring Toronto. It was quite refreshing. However even though my experience turned out great, one still has to be careful not to tell strangers you meet where you are staying or other personal information about yourself.
With that said, Solo Travel gives you the ultimate freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. There is no one with you to make decisions about the day’s events. No one to reassure you that the decisions you are making are the right ones. No one to compromise for.
This is where you begin to meet again. You discover the courage you thought you had lost or never had. This will definitely not be my last solo travel.
Before you solo travel – Do your research on the area you are visiting. Make sure someone knows where you are at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and blend in. You don’t want to stick out like a tourist who doesn’t have an idea of where you are or where you are going. Plan ahead.
Toronto lived up to everything I had heard. I will definitely have to return to explore some of the things I didn’t get to see.
A few more pics of the city
Take a solo trip and discover yourself.