Honestly, it was not really my choice to travel alone through Europe during my stay in Paris. Since it was my first time in Europe, I wanted to visit several countries before returning to Montreal. But no one was as available as me to leave for a week and visit 2 countries simultaneously. So I decided not to wait and fly to Lisbon and Barcelona alone. At first I do not deny that I was really scared. That would be my first time in places where I knew absolutely nobody and where I would need to learn to manage alone. And, reflecting on it now, it has really been one of the best experiences of my life. I cannot wait to experience it again.
Traveling alone allowed me to know what is actually means being free. When traveling alone, we make our plans ourselves, so we do not have to wait for another person to valid our decisions. It is just about going ahead and exploring.
“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau.
I remember the day I arrived in Lisbon. I met some very nice girls at the hostel and was able to visit the city with them. The next day, one of them asked me to go to Sintra. At first I was very hesitant because I had not spent enough days in Lisbon. She insisted so much that I did not resist, I went with her to Sintra, which is 40 minutes from Lisbon by train. Wow!!!! That’s the word that I kept pronouncing when I arrived at Quinta da Regaleira, a truly magnificent castle with caves, lakes, waterfalls, gardens and incredible towers we visited once we arrived. I am so grateful to her for inviting me because it was the best place that I have visited on the trip. The pictures do not do it justice but the memories will remain forever. She was delighted that I liked it. And if I was with a friend, she would probably never have invited me or maybe we would never have spoken in the first place.
In Barcelona, I still found myself alone in a hostel. And there I met two girls who were traveling together and with whom I discussed a bit. They immediately invited me to spend the day with them riding bikes. I immediately accepted because I’ve been to Barcelona the day before and I wanted to ride a bike in the city. It’s easy to bike in the city but I was really hesitant of getting started alone. So I visited the city of Gaudí by bike. Frankly, it’s one of the moments I will never forget. I know that cycling is common but it is not the same at all when you’re in a city as beautiful as Barcelona. I also spent a nice day with the girls and in the evening they took me to the magic fountain of Barcelona to experience this incredible show with a set of light and water games that illuminates the Plaza de Espana.
So you’ll tell me that finally I traveled alone but I was never alone at the end. Oh yes!!! I met a lot of great people on my way. People from everywhere and they were all amazing in their own way. People I hope I will meet once again in my life. People who invited me to visit their countries. Some incredible travellers, which have their own stories.
Traveling alone also helped me discovered myself more. Know that I can only rely on myself for the choices and decisions in the future. Know that I will always do what I am happy to do instead of trying to please others first. It also allowed me to know my capabilities and limitations. Knowing that I am brave enough to take the road alone. Knowing that I do not have to wait for someone to validate my choices in life.
“Some journeys in life can only be traveled alone.” ― Ken Poirot