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Travelling solo

September 27, 2016

img_20160924_225818So I’ve just returned from my first solo holiday to Barcelona and I feel pretty damn awesome! I’ve travelled alone before but usually have met up with people I knew at my destination, so really I’ve never travelled around a country on my own before unless you count a day trip to Paris eons ago.

Maybe to some of you reading this it’s no big deal but for me it was something I always wanted to do just to see if I could. I never did the university gap year or year out travelling thing that most if not all my friends did at some point of their lives because I never really had the money and if I’m honest was a little fearful. Of what I don’t know. But as I get older, I regret not overcoming my anxieties and always using finances as an excuse. I mean initially it was a legit reason but then after a while it really was an excuse which masked a deeper anxiety which clashed with my growing desire to experience life under a different sky and actually see some of the places that I’m either reading about or hearing about through others’ experience.

So my first solo trip what did I learn about me?

I really like being active. This was a little bit of a shock to me as I envisaged myself chilling at the beach day after day. But instead I was wondering around the streets (and hills) of Barcelona, taking photos, eating in cafes, taking boat trips and cable car rides. The one day I was at the beach I sat for a couple of hours listening to a podcast and people watching and that was it.

My map reading skills have not improved with age. My first day I wandered around for the best part of an hour and half looking for La Sagrada Familia. When I finally found it I swear I could hear angels singing Hallelujah! I am however, really good at stumbling upon places, like Parc de la Ciuadella where there was a little festival occurring and some pretty good dance acts.

Wandering around a city alone is really no different from my day to day. I say this because I met two girls from Belgium who were amazed that I was travelling alone. ‘But what about mealtimes?’, one of them asked. I shrugged casually whilst thinking that actually I nearly always eat alone, why should I feel weird about it because I’m on holiday?

I really love my own company. Not in a Greta Garbo ‘I want to be alone’ way but in the sense that I really enjoyed exploring the city, eating when I wanted (all the time!), going where I wanted and generally just being me, enjoying me and challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone whether taking a cable car ride (when I’m scared of heights) or sitting in a classy hotel bar nursing a mojito. I felt damn good.

I’m so doing this again. I think solo travel is the way forward for me in this season of my life. I’m appreciating myself in ways that I really haven’t in years past and I’m liking who I am and who I’m becoming. That’s not to say that I won’t ever again go on holiday with others but that I’ll definitely make the time, effort and finances available for more solo trips.

 

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