You would think given how much I’ve traveled I would have already traveled on my own. While technically all of my big trips have been done by me alone, I also had support in one form or another, such as through a program or company.
When I originally came to Spain, it was with the intent of exploring Madrid on my own for a weekend before heading to Linares, where I didn’t know anyone either, but had plans to meet with future and then present auxiliares. So Madrid was to be my first trip completely by myself. That meant exploring museums, parks, monuments, and yes, eating in restaurants alone for two and a half days. I remember the liberation I felt walking up and down the Prado by myself, moving on my own speed without worrying about losing anyone in the crowds. However, a few hours later, I caved and had somehow managed to get in contact with other auxiliares in Madrid and spend the rest of the weekend with them.
Obviously I have no regrets, because it’s always great to meet people, especially when you travel, because everyone has such interesting stories to share. But I wanted to really get that experience of knowing absolutely no one and going through a more natural process of meeting people (i.e. at a bar or in a museum as opposed to the communal thread of a program that everyone is participating in).
So, during our lovely 5 day puente two weekends ago, I made a last minute decision to head to Edinburgh after spending a night in Segovia. Five days completely on my own, with absolutely no one, not even mutual friends, in either of those cities.
I can’t even tell you how much I needed that trip. I had no idea how much I had needed it myself until I was halfway through it. In my daily life I’ve gotten caught up in work and in my relationship and had completely forgotten the importance of doing something for yourself. Normal and inevitable sometimes. But while I wandered the streets of Scotland and sat in cafes reading the hilarious, laugh out loud, Sin Noticias de Gurb, I couldn’t help but feel so refreshed being on my own.
I think the thing I was most nervous about was eating in a restaurant by myself. It sounds silly, but I mean how often do you see people eating out on their own? It’s ridiculous really, because it’s a great experience to have, and if you want some good food but no one’s around to keep you company, why on earth should you wait? Go get that good grub in your stomach!
Last month was a bit of a train wreck for me. I was experiencing all of these emotional ups and downs, not really sure of why, but after a weekend of striking out on my own I realized so many things! I remembered how fortunate I am to be here in Spain, pursuing my dream of traveling and living abroad, and to be working in the field of my choosing. I remembered how incredible and freeing it is to not let anything or anyone hold you back from doing what you want, and I remembered how lucky we all are, thanks to general advancement, to be able to travel so easily and learn and experience new places and cultures. But most importantly, I was reminded of what I had realized last summer before I came to Spain, but temporarily forgot as I once again got caught up in the mundane of every day life: that I am a strong, independent, individual young woman, with unlimited potential. It’s sounds silly that I needed something as simple as a weekend on my own in a foreign place to realize something so profound, but it really was the jolt that I needed to shake off the funk that I was in.
So, I’m finally back, ladies and gents. Once again chomping at the bit to keep writing my tales, and to accomplish more and more each day.