The first time I traveled solo was completely unplanned. It was not intended as a moment for me to thumb my nose at the world and show everyone I am an independent woman who waits for no-one. In fact, my original plan was simply to go to Paris for 3 days and stay with a friend. It was not my first time in Paris but my first-time post-university in Paris. Having been recently bitten by the travel bug with Tunisia and Cuba as the first two notches on my traveler belt, I decided to go over some well-trodden territory and visit my favorite city.

I had booked a hotel at first but later arranged to stay with a friend. It was probably fortuitous then that I couldn’t cancel the hotel. The night before my trip, my mom called and walked me through the packing process. She still wasn’t comfortable with her little girl traveling on her own at the age of 24! She asked whether I had printed off my hotel itinerary, how I was going to get to the hotel, whether I had a map, if I knew where I would get a metro travel card from – all quite basic stuff but I assured her all was well and I was meeting my friend at the train station. She wasn’t convinced, but I had a 4.30 am date with a taxi the next morning so we bid ourselves goodnight.