Travelling Solo: Washington D.C.

Travelling Solo: Washington D.C.

When I was in New York City, I decided to drop by Washington D.C. for a few days since I was so close by. I went there on my own because my bff from NYC had already been there. Although I had been on plane rides by myself and spent time on my own in another city, it was my first time visiting a city that I knew of nobody, going there by myself, and staying there on my own for a few days. I was kinda nervous about it. 

Washington D.C. is a must-visit city for its monuments and museums. It is a place where you go to better understand the history of the country and feel a little bit of the American nationalism, and then you’re good. The main part of the city is meant for administration and tourists. Despite having beautiful architectures and nice shops, Washington felt like a ghost town filled with tourists with maps in their hands and white-collars with backpacks filled with ambitions to change the world. Going down from New York City, where the population is constantly moving and buildings rise into the sky, it felt extremely flat and empty in D.C.

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Pretty shops and blue skies, but where are the people?

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Most of the monuments and museums are spread along the National Mall, and most of them are free to visit (Yeap, most of the museums admissions are free! Woohoo! ?). I visited some of the places on my own and some with people that I met in the hostel. There was also a night tour at the hostel that I was living, which was great as I met some awesome people and learned a lot of background information about the monuments.

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National Air and Space Museum: One of the most visited museums in D.C.

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National Gallery of Art: A place that I didn’t intend to go but ended up spending the longest time there.

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The White House: Hello Obama! ??

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The Washington Monument

Sunset at World War II Memorial

Sunset at World War II Memorial

Where Martin Luther King presented the I Have A Dream speech

Where Martin Luther King presented the I Have A Dream speech, felt so great to stand there and look at the reflection pool

Lincoln Memorial in the evening

Lincoln Memorial in the evening

My only stop that was not around the National Mall area was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was a 30-minute metro ride from where the monuments are, not too far and it’s definitely worth visiting even if you’re not a Catholic or Christian. The designs of the different chapels are crazily beautiful!

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This short trip was a great experience for myself as I got to meet and befriend travellers from all over the world. These new friends I made (that I’ll probably meet for only one time in my life) come from all walks of life and it’s inspiring to listen to their stories. A to-be-psychiatrist who spent a year studying for his licensing exam but forgot to sign up to take the exam, decided to travel on the 3-week break he took to study for it; a French duo that makes the perfect travelling partners and jokers and Casanovas; an Egyptian girl who was in D.C. for a conference to meet her hero Michelle Obama; a 77-year old Korean professor who sprayed on deodorant like mosquito repellent; and many other interesting people that really coloured up my trip.

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Friends I met along the way – Mr. Baguette and Dr. Psych

I’d say this 3-day solo trip was a baby-step for the tiny Asian girl in me who wants to see the world but afraid of being eaten up by the big bad wolf. It’s preparing me for a bigger, bolder, solo trip in the future. Who knows, my story might be the next Eat, Pray, Love kinda movie, or I’ll be as bold as Cheryl Strayed from Wild and hike an entire trail for a year. (Just finished reading the book btw, it tops my summer reading list now! Go read it too!)

This blog post was written as I spent the entire day travelling through flights and bus rides to get to the final stop of my vacation this summer – Portland. Going from the metropolitan to the administration district to the hipster town of America, I’m excited to see what is there to amaze me. Till then!

 

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  • I would love to visit Washington DC one day.
    I have been planning my trip around the world for many years, I just need some money now.
    I totally get you about the solo traveler thing but I think baby steps is important!
    If you ever want to visit Belgium :), just give me a shout!

    • Yea travelling does take up a lot of money! I’m so broke now after this trip, have to start being frugal again until my next trip. And awww I’ll definitely let you know if I’m ever coming to Belgium Ella! Thanks!

  • Andrew Huang

    So happy to read about the experiences of a fellow solo traveler! I’m actually planning on taking a 3-day solo trip of my own to Edinburgh, Scotland this weekend.
    Have you thought about using the social travel app Tripr to meet other travelers that are heading to the same places you are? I’ve been using it lots and it’s a great tool for solo travelers to socialize and get advice from other travelers and locals!