To celebrate my 26th birthday this year, I did something that I had never done before. Something that I have always wanted to gather the courage to do and I did it: I took my first ever solo trip.
At the beginning of 2019, I had this gut feeling to go to Portland, Oregon. I don’t know why. I just wanted to go. I had begun to ask friends if they would be interested and often times I was met with an “ehh I don’t know” or “Nah, I’m good” which left my travel-loving soul feeling discouraged.
Part of me really thought this was just going to be another one of those trips that I always talked about taking, but never took. Until I said, fuck it. The Universe was basically handing it to me on a silver platter with a great flight deal and the cutest AirBnB. So I went. And it was everything I could have imagined and more.
Here is my experience as well as some tips/tricks I’ve picked up from traveling:
On Day 1, I took a Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour of Portland. While yes, this is definitely the super touristy thing to do. I found it as a easy and quick way to see as much as the city as I could, in a short amount of time, while hitting all the must-see places, and learning a bit as you go as well. I searched all the websites for the best deal I could find and settled on one that cost me $37.00. Which all in all, wasn’t bad! Through this Hop-On/Hop-Off tour, I got to get off where I wanted to see more of the city or just stay and drive around. I ended up getting off at three spots: Downtown Portland, the Japanese Garden ($20~ for adults. $16~ for Students) & the International Rose Garden in Washington Park, and on NW 23rd Street which was this cute little street filled with lots of neat stores & shops. I got to see so much of the city and the nature of it and it was absolutely beautiful. (P.S: You can walk around Downtown Portland for HOURS because there is so much to see/do. I never at any point felt unsafe, which I think is very important when it comes to traveling alone). I also ended up going to this wonderful shop called the Sacred Money Studios & Prosperity Pie Shoppe with some peers from my online Life-Coaching Course! This shop inspired me to want to open my own independent bookstore/coffee & dessert shop (one day!) that will allow people to get some amazing energy and even have a room in the back for workshops, classes, coaching sessions, and more. The energy was so amazing and so aligned with everything that I want in regards of inspiring others and creating that physical space for people to just come and hang out.
On Day 2, I took an all-day tour to Mt. Hood where I got to see the Columbia River Gorge, a bunch of Waterfalls including Latourell Falls & Multnomah Falls, which were honestly so breathtaking. I am someone who is widely connected to nature, so being constantly surrounded by lush forests and beautiful mountains, made my soul feel so aligned. There are also so many beautiful flowers all throughout Portland so I was always appreciating the beauty wherever I went. We event spend about an hour and a half in the cutest little town called Hood River, that allowed me to see another side of Oregon. I paid about $90~ for this 8 1/2-hour tour that included a tour guide, bus, and snacks, but technically got it for free with my Chase rewards! (Highly recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card if you are a huge travel person, because the perks are so wonderful! Also got me TSA Pre-Check for the free!)
On Day 3, I met up with the wonderful Michael Alexander Lemus, grabbed some breakfast at Pine State Biscuits, and walked over to Powell’s Bookstore, where we talked about all things spirituality, life coaching, and life in general for 5+ hours! Powell’s Bookstore was definitely one of my top three favorite places go to. This is another place where I could spend hours and hours in. It was just a maze of room after room with what seemed to be every book ever printed. After Powell’s, we headed to the infamous Blue Star Donuts, grabbed some sweets, and continued to explore a bit of Portland.
This was definitely a trip that I will never forget. For it being my first solo trip, I think Portland will forever have a special place in my heart. There was still so much to see so I hope that I can go again one day soon!
Tips & Tricks:
1) I used Uber/Lyft the most to get around the city. My advice would be to not look at your phone when you are in an Uber/Lyft. I think we all have this habit of using our phones to fill in any empty space, but look out the window! You can see so much of the city this way! Also, if you are not in a hurry, use the Pool/Share feature to not only save you money, but meet some cool people.
2) Portland had a great public transportation system. I definitely would have used it if I had done a bit more research, but for my first trip, I wanted to make it as painless as possible.
3) Get an idea of things that you would like to do before getting to a new place. This way you don’t waste too much time trying to get your game plan, but just having a general idea goes the long way. For example, I knew I wanted to see the City & the outdoors so I dedicated a day to each.
4) Use your resources if you are going to a new place! Whether that’s the internet or friends. I’m part of a couple of traveling Facebook Groups and actually connect with a sorority sister (Shout out to Mish!) and she gave me tons of great recommendations and tips.
5) Walk. A lot. I probably walked close to 10 miles when I was in Portland, just exploring. This is definitely the best way to see a city. If you are concerned about safety, just walk around during the day & in areas that are more populated.
6) Don’t let the fear of being alone hold you back from doing all the things you want to do. That’s just how you end up with a life full of regrets.
If you need anymore tips or want more information, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip:
Living my best life!