What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about traveling alone to a destination you don’t know, with no friends, no family? Crazy?
What if i told you…that at 19 I decided to do it. Just me myself and I, and my passport. Off to Barcelona…
As you know, last year I was studying abroad in Finland, that’s when the globetrotter that was sleeping in me woke up and never went back to bed. I visited 9 countries during my semester. Sometimes with my roommate, sometimes I went to join a friend somewhere. But I decided to save myself 1 destination, just 1, that I would experience alone. My mom thought I was crazy! She was scared and ask that I went everywhere with friends. So when I booked my ticket to Barcelona, I didn’t tell her anything. I just told her a few weeks after with a “but I couldn’t find people who were going that week” oops.
May was here, Finland was finally gaining some colour. Winter was slowly leaving. All excited I packed my bags and went on my little journey SOLODOLO.
Who says traveling alone is not fun?! I love it. I am the kind of girl who will enjoy going to the restaurant by herself just to share a meal with…myself. Sometimes with God if I feel we need some quiet time alone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing things by yourself. It can be refreshing.
So what are the things that come to your mind when planning a solodolo trip:
1- what if I get lost
2-what if I get kidnapped (A friend told me this today as he asked me to help him plan a euro trip)
3-what if I
don’t make any friends (for shy people)
The list goes on…
First, you need to tell yourself that everything will be okay. You will eventually get out of your comfort zone and make some friends. It doesn’t matter if you are shy! I personally have no problem reaching out to people and start the conversation but I know not everybody is like that. You have to understand that everybody has a little introverted side just like you, it’s okay to feel uncomfortable at first but people will like you! Don’t worry.
So here I was, waiting for my flight with vueling at Helsinki airport. The flight went really well. I had 3 seats to myself so I just relaxed and checked my big travel book to plan the next day
When i arrived to Barcelona, it was dark and i was afraid I wouldn’t be able to read the map to get directions to my hostel. I always relied on my travel buddies to read the map. It was something i hated to do! And here i was stuck with a map. See! Traveling alone will force you to do things that you thought you couldn’t do.
But I must admit that when I got there I realized I had forgotten the name of my hostel! I had to go on google and try to find the name again so I could locate it on the map. (little panic attack here). But I found it! I was lucky to find wifi at the airport. I wouldn’t have been able to find my hostel without it since i had no sim card in Europe. I am sure you will be more careful than me so you will be fine.
So I trusted myself with the directions on the map and I did great! the only thing is that I spent 15 minutes looking for the hostel because the entry was not so visible but a nice guy in the streets helped me out. If you are shy and afraid to ask people for help, you are screwed. Sometimes it can save you a lot of trouble! Come on they won’t bite 🙂
At the hostel I went in the room. There were around 12 beds! It was really late so i didn’t meet anybody that night. I asked for the wifi password to tell my parents, boyfriend and friends I got to Barcelona in one piece.
The next day was AMAZING. I decided to visit the city by myself! I saw la Sagrada Familia, La cathedral de Barcelona, went to the beach, got a massage on the beach, and ate some paella!
La cathedral de Barcelona
Sneek peak of the inside
La sagrada Familia
I only saw the exterior because the line was sooo long! And I had nobody to talk to in the line, didn’t have any wifi to use my phone! I would wait at least one hour doing nothing. No thank you. The exterior was amazing enough for me
By the way, all the pictures in Barcelona were taken with my phone. I left my camera in Finland this time, trying to pack light.
Barcelona is amazing guys. You will never feel alone even if you are by yourself. The city itself seems to be your friend! Walking in the streets made me so happy. I was just a little wanderer, walking, looking, capturing, i LOVED it sooo much. I even bought my little hat there!
I really looked like a free soul. loose pants, hat, not knowing where I was going, just walking. You will learn to appreciate your own company. It is really important. You will learn to love yourself more. I personally thought I was a pretty cool travel buddy.
ouh! I really miss Barcelona
Everything breathes happiness, joy, love for life, love for people. Believe me when I say I never felt alone.
Sea food paella
It was a perfect day.
When I got back to the hostel I met a lot of people in the room! so we formed a little group. the next day we did everything together. We went to the beach, went out for tapas. The night turned out pretty funny. We met these tourists from scotland who joined the group. Studying abroad is… a one in a lifetime experience. So is backpacking! If you say you will wait till you work to travel, trust me, you will travel but you will stay at hotels, probably with your husband and kids. it will be great but it is not the same as packing light, going to the unknown, sleeping at a youth hostel with not so luxurious rooms, putting your things in lockers, meeting students from all around the world with the only desire to travel the world and see more. Wow so many amazing , free spirited young adults in the world! MEET THEM. When you will be working and almost 30, you won’t want to sleep in a youth hostel with noisy teenagers, you will need your comfort! Now is the moment to get uncomfortable! I will never get tired of encouraging people to plan trips ! I know you don’t have all the money now, I know you have school, I know i know bla bla excuses. You make time and you save money for things you value the most. Save up half of it, take a week or 2 off your little part time job, ask your parents for a little money if you can, pack your bags, grab a map, book the flight, choose the youth hostel and GO. Don’t be affraid to be alone. Are you afraid of yourself? No exactly so why are you scared of your own company. 😉
little memories of my hostel roommates. Great people!
My trip to Barcelona will forever be in my heart and I like to believe I will go back. Only this time’ it might not be with a little carryon and a map for a youth hostel. It will probably be different. I am so glad I did it when I had the chance. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
A few tips to plan a solodolo trip:
1- Make sure you mark all your addresses
2- Have the basic words of the language
3-Don’t be afraid to ask for help
4-Don’t talk to weird people (protection)
5-Have an open heart
6-Be open to wanderlust
7-Make sure you get wifi to tell your parents and friends you are OK
8-Enjoy your own company
10-Enjoy every single moment
A travel lover