Two days before I went away, I had a wobble. Quite a big one. There was an "oh no why am I going on my own?" panic, with an element of "why am I not excited? Why am I not counting down the hours like I usually do?" thrown in.
Of course - I was fine. I was more than fine. At one point I found myself walking around Florence at 7.30am, having got up early to avoid the heat and the crowds, thinking - "this is amazing". And it was. There is something very liberating about being able to go at your own pace. For once, I wasn't bothered that tickets to the museums had sold out weeks before I had even realised I should book - I was happy to wander around, enjoy the scenery, stop for a cool drink or a gelato, or to take a photo when I wanted to.
And when I wanted to chat to people, I could. I suspect that solo travellers give off a "vibe" - a little like traffic lights.
Red - no I don't want to chat, I'm happy with my beer and my book. Amber - I'll think about it, but don't be offended if I make my excuses. Green - I am open to conversation.
I discussed the price of Florentine leather, and got haggling tips from a Swiss couple who were staying in the same hotel as me.
I laughed with an older Australian woman while we nervously descended the steep, dark, steps of a bell tower. "You'd never get away with this back home", she said. "It'd all be ruined by neon signs telling you not to hit your head".
I shared dinner with an American mother, travelling with her teenage daughter. She told me that she had worked abroad after graduating, and how she had wanted to bring her daughter to Europe in the hope that it would encourage her to plan her own adventures.
48 hours in Florence didn't quite give me enough time but it was a good introduction, both to the city, and to travelling on my own. I couldn't decide whether I was quite ready to move on to my Pilates retreat, which I think is a good sign. I'm already making plans to revisit. The art, the castles, the hilltop views... there's so much that I want to see. And I'll probably go on my own, because now I know I can.