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How Travelling to Amsterdam with Contiki, inspired me to find a new sense of independence

Megan and her friend at the ADAM Tower swing in Amsterdam

In my career I am fortunate to be able to travel frequently, with much flexibility. However, up until recent years I had only travelled around the UK and had not really considered travelling solo before, up until I discovered Contiki. 

I first heard of Contiki about two and a half years ago when I saw a few daily vlogs posted to Tiktok with people talking about their experience. I didn’t see myself doing solo travel at all until my plans with friends never made it out of the group chat. I was in desperate need of a celebration for passing my exams and everything kept falling through, I remembered those TikToks and thought to myself just do it, book the trip… what’s the worst that could happen?

So, I did. I booked the trip one night and decided to go on my own. I chose something in my comfort zone, considering this was going to be my first solo trip and I ended up picking Amsterdam for Easter with Contiki.

The Trip

I decided on choosing Amsterdam for Easter as my first Contiki trip after checking the itinerary. Visiting the ADAM lookout tower and the Keukenhof gardens really stood out to me.

As a first time solo-traveller, Contiki was the perfect choice. Transport was included all the way from London to Amsterdam and back, so I didn’t have to worry about planning my own way there!

This settled a lot of my anxiety at the time. All I needed to do was pack some outfits and get excited. Time flew, and before I knew it the Amsterdam countdown had finished. I made the trip down to London to begin my exciting venture.

The trip itself included sight-seeing of Amsterdam, including the red-light district. A day at Keukenhof (a lush Tulip Garden), cycling round a small village with a stop at a cheese and clog store, and a trip to ADAM Tower (this is a viewpoint of Amsterdam – there is also a huge swing that you can swing from seeing views from a higher vantage point. 

The trip was very action packed, and I soon forgot to feel nervous and began chatting with other people on my trip. 

Amsterdam bridge at night

Image source:Megan Butler

My Experience

The thing about Contiki is, no one cares! Everyone’s in the same boat as you, we’re all nervous, so there’s no need to feel silly or embarrassed. Don’t let your nerves stop you from joining in on activities, because the feeling of FOMO afterwards from not doing it is much worse. You are there once to make memories!

Personally, the trip for me was a breakthrough. Solo travel with Contiki was the beginning of me finding my confidence and wanting to push myself as a person to do more things outside the box. 

When doing my first Contiki I was 19, and I understand as a woman of that age it is difficult to form new friendships, which was one of my worries when beginning the trip. However, I met people who were so similar to me, we had a natter, and it was like we had known each other for years! It was such a refreshing experience being able to broaden my network and meet so many different people, in different stages of life.

Looking back now, a year and a half later, I’m so glad I went on this trip.

I have now got the travel bug and am so excited to travel and see other cultures. Pushing myself as an individual to go on a solo trip has really influenced me to continue to push myself and do more unique and exciting things.

friends travelling on a Contiki trip to Amsterdam

Image source:Megan Butler

The Influence

Since completing my first solo trip with Contiki, I have felt so refreshed and full of ideas for myself. I began thinking more about opportunities I hadn’t thought of in the past that I believed were too far out of my comfort zone. 

After brushing all the anxiety away, and realising travelling alone can be very fulfilling, I embraced change.

After the Amsterdam for Easter trip,  I constantly tried to put myself into new positions, to work in new jobs, studying new subjects and meeting new people through events and in a social atmosphere.  

My next future goal is to work abroad for a period of time, this opportunity will be great for personal development and my career! I am ambitious to travel to Australia with work next year, the thought of this experience alone makes me feel very inspired.

I would not have had the ‘get up and go’ iniative to even think about this, if I had not begun my ventures as a solo traveller with Contiki. I am very excited to think about the future and all the other opportunities I seize for myself, that I wouldn’t have considered before. 

Follow Megan here.

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