Solo Traveling Post-CIMBA
Written by jaidengoodman July 1, 2022
After I turned in my last final, packed up my CIMBA dorm room, and said goodbye to all the friends I made during the past month, I was hit with the realization that I was now on my own. My flight home was set for a week after the program ended, and I had absolutely no plan on where I was going to go. All I knew is that I wanted to use this next week for travel.
During my first 2 days of solo travel, I stayed with a mutual friend, Jorge, that I met through CIMBA who was living in the area. He took me under his wing and helped me plan out my next move. With his support, I set my sights on Rome, Sorrento, and Capri which are all notorious for being safe and beginner-friendly destinations for solo travelers. Within 24 hours, I booked a hotel in Rome, a hotel in Sorrento, and a one-way train ticket to Rome. I had no idea how I was getting to Sorrento from Rome, but I had faith in myself that I would cross that bridge when I got to it.
On day 3 of the solo travel experience, I hugged my new friend Jorge goodbye and caught my 5-hour train ride to Rome. The second I got out of the Roma Termini train station, I was in awe as I looked to my left and instantly saw the Colosseum. After settling into my hotel room, I went on a long walk and listened to Rick Steve’s “Heart of Rome Walk”. The city of Rome itself felt like I was walking through a museum. During this walk I visited:
- Campo de’ Fiori
- The Pantheon
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
- Piazza Navona
- The Column of Marcus Aurelius
- The Vittoriano
On day 4, I booked a guided tour through the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and previewed St. Peter’s Basilica. I highly recommend booking a day-long group tour if you are solo traveling. Not only does it mean less planning on your part, but it is also an opportunity to meet like-minded travelers.
On day 5, I took a stroll through the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Barberini Palace to close out my last precious moments of Rome. From there, I depended on the Rome2Rio website to get me from Rome to Naples and Naples to Sorrento. After being detoured 1 hour by accidently catching the wrong train, I miraculously arrived at my Sorrento hotel with enough daylight hours left to treat myself to a sunset dinner and get back to the hotel room by dark.
On day 6, I booked a 9 a.m. shared boat tour to explore the Sorrento coast and the island of Capri. I left my hotel at 7:30 a.m. I assumed that leaving early would give me enough time to get to my tour and relax… right? WRONG. It turns out that Sorrento is known for its beaches and its traffic. A 15-minute taxi ride turned into an hour and a half wait. The second my taxi parked, I whipped that door open and sprinted to my boat, getting there minutes before it set sail.
Seconds after I made it on, I knew that the chaos from that morning had been worth it. These areas were some of the most beautiful ocean towns I had ever seen. I had so much fun diving in the sparkling blue waters, sunbathing as the boat played y2k throwbacks, seeing the Faraglioni by Dolce and Gabbana’s Capri villa, and exploring the pastel-colored structures of Capri. I even made some friends from Manchester and London along the way that I plan on reconnecting with once I plan a trip to the UK.
On day 7, I was back on the move as I took 3 trains back to northern Italy to meet back up with Jorge. After a full week of solo travel, it felt like I hadn’t seen him in months. As we reminisced about my journey and I finished packing for my flight back to the United States, I could not help but feel grateful for the incredible people I met along the way and proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone to solo travel for the first time