I am obsessed with traveling. I crave it like a foodie craves flavor. I had been watching flight prices fluctuate for three months before I finally closed my eyes, held my breath and booked my ticket to Spain for my 26th birthday. I love adventures (even though I always get nervous as hell!) and this just seemed like the perfect opportunity to go all out and try something new. I knew no one there, I had nothing planned out, and I must have talked myself out of going a million times. I went from getting really excited about going to getting totally nervous and shutting the idea out of my mind completely. Reality didn’t hit me until the ticket was booked and I knew that two weeks later I would be landing in Europe…alone! Eeeek!
It is now three days since I returned from Spain and I must say that it was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made (aside from packing up my life two years ago and moving to Houston).The mixture of nerves, anxiety and apprehension that I felt prior to leaving the states was well worth everything I experienced in Madrid and Barcelona and I am definitely looking forward to another trip abroad VERY soon–maybe solo, maybe with a travel companion, my lips are sealed for now!
People may wonder, “Why did you go to Spain alone for your birthday?” Like many of you who are reading, I too have watched the movie Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it’s basically about a woman’s (Julia) experiences throughout her solo travels around the world post divorce. Although I’m not going through any dramatic breakup issues or anything crazy, my reasons for traveling abroad alone are very different than Julia’s:
- I love to travel. It all started several years ago with x-fares–a super affordable traveling option that was offered by AirTran for college students. Although this option has been discontinued for a while, this enabled me to travel to a lot of the major cities in the U.S. for an affordable price. Between x-fares, traveling for work with my jobs and other vacations that I took with friends and family, I have been to most of the major cities in the U.S. including: Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, D.C., Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Maui, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, etc. Aside from one international trip I took to Bahamas for my 23rd birthday, I began to get bored with traveling in the states and knew that it was time for me to venture across the pond.
- I got tired of waiting for others. I realize that everyone is not as passionate about wanting to see the world as I am. I also realize that not everyone has the finances to be able to take a trip. Both of these reasons are totally fine, but I quickly learned that another person’s excuses are not my issue and should never hinder me from fulfilling my dreams. I have always been a very strong minded person and I love the fact that I’m not afraid to do things alone. In fact, doing things alone is the best way to get to know yourself! People are often surprised when I tell them I am going to go sit at a bar and have a cocktail or go see a movie alone. I’m the type of person who LOVES being around my family, friends and the guy that I am currently dating but I also LOVE to be alone at times–I need my “me” time like no other. I find that most young women cannot do activities without having a friend or their significant other present and I think that’s absolutely ridiculous and would never limit my opportunities in life because someone could not tag along. So there you have it!
- I want to spend my money on experiences! not things. I have never really been into fashion or super expensive and flashy things. I’d much rather save my money and take a trip rather than buy a bunch of expensive clothes that I would eventually get tired of and then want to buy newer clothes to trump the older ones. I rarely shop and even when I do try to treat myself to something nice, I never find anything worth spending my money on–so it works out perfectly! I like to leave the flaunting to others. I find quite often, especially on social media, people buy things because they feel the need to prove themselves and “keep up” with other people that they don’t even know–people who don’t even matter. I once owned a pair of Christian Louboutins. They were the most uncomfortable pair of shoes I owned and I hated them. I wore them twice and pushed them to the back of my closet and opted for a comfortable pair of my Steve Madden ballet flats. Long story short, I sold the Louboutins. It wasn’t worth it to me to own a pair of shoes from Paris but yet I had never been to Paris. What’s the point?
That pretty much sums it up– my top three reasons for why I went to Europe alone!
In my next post, I will tell you all about my wonderful experiences in Spain– which will include an inside look on where I stayed, what I ate, what I saw, who I met, and why one should never compare Madrid to Barcelona…