I've always had mixed feelings about the idea of traveling alone. It seemed thrilling to simply be free to wander and explore without having to ask what others are interested in doing but it also seemed scary and lonely not to have someone there to help read maps and eat dinner with. Sure I've traveled short-term to places by myself within the United States. But going alone to a completely different country where I didn't speak the language seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.
Thankfully, it wasn't. It was an incredible opportunity that I'm grateful to have had. Luxembourg was never a country I would have picked to visit. It's tiny. Not many people have heard of it. Those who have heard of it seem to commonly think it's a city in another country rather than a country itself. But I think it's lackluster reputation almost made it more exciting. There's something intriguing and endearing about going off the beaten path. Plus it's where this conference was so it's not like I had a choice in the matter.
The conference was held at a small but beautiful castle in Differdange, which is right near the French/Luxembourg border (the closest AirBnB that I could find was actually in France). It was the smallest conference I had ever been to but I actually liked it a lot more because it gave me more opportunities to talk to the other presenters, ask questions, and get feedback on my own work. Once the conference was over, I finally had sometime to explore Luxembourg City. The first thing I did was walk through the Valley of the Petrusse, which is basically a giant park in a giant valley with the city on either side. It was probably one of the most beautiful, surreal, and bizarre parks I've ever been in. The fall leaves made it even more incredible. I tried oh so hard to get a picture that captured how amazing it was, but nothing did it justice.
After this amazing trip, I discovered that traveling alone is pretty great (though, there are always advantages to being able to split costs with a travel companion). It gives you time to day-dream, reflect, relax, explore, and so much more all at your own pace. Sitting down at a restaurant and eat dinner by yourself may be stigmatized but learning to be okay with simply enjoying your own company is precious.