26 days solo travelling. Not in a far away exotic country but in Europe, Spain to be more precise. 7 destinations. Staying as little as 2 days up to a week.
Not taken in order to find myself. Someone wisely said you can’t escape from yourself and trying to do soul searching and finding a meaning in life when travelling, well it doesn’t really convices me.
Not taken in order to prove anything to myself. I’ve been travelling all around the world and I know I can do it by myself pretty easily.
So what was the reason behind it then and why so long? The latter is easier to answer-really good flight deal which I bought first and then I slowly drew the itinerary. And to answer the first question, I always felt some connection to Spanish culture and language-be it Spain or Latin America. As my funds at the moment don’t allow me to travel to Latin America (well in the end it seems it barely allowed me to travel to Spain), so Iberian peninsula was my choice. The starting point Málaga and ending in Barcelona, the rest of places felt well within my love for Andalucía, stop in Madrid in the middle of the country, discovery of food scene in San Sebastián and Barcelona.
But here I don’t want to dwell too much about the places as that I did cover in more details in my previous blog posts. It’s more about how I felt and lived my life this month.
This trip seemed to me as a way not to escape my life but recharge in the different culture. Live music free life for a month – as awful as it sounds, but whenever I’m on holidays in Malta, I still work as I find it difficult to refuse, so being away is the only chance not to work 😉 Practice my Spanish, soak in the culture and enjoy food.
All this was done with food and culture taking the precedence, as my Spanish worked well but I felt from time to time I had a big mix of languages in my head. Therefore sometimes I spoke half French or half Italian and afterwards I would realise I should have said things completely differently. Generally my Spanish worked quite well. Despite not having meaningful conversations here apart from one beautiful evening in Granada with a poet/guitarist who was a friend of a friend, my Spanish let me enjoy almost free English month here even when people hearing my accent would switch to English. I still feel I could do much better but then again in my native language I don’t start conversation with strangers for no reasons. And being rather shy person doesn’t work in my favour. What I learnt is I still want to improve to be able to read and watch movies in Spanish, maybe write a bit and still practice conversation in a controlled environment. As, well, let’s face it, I’m not going to change into an extrovert all of a sudden, so why would I expect that in a foreign language? It doesn’t happen in Polish or English, so why would it suddenly happen in Spanish? I’ve heard about personality changes when speaking a different language but it hasn’t change me that drastically 😉
I’ve planned this trip being single and I embarked on it being happily with a person who brings a beaming smile to my face and makes me want to be a better version of myself every single day…So it made this 26 days even harder. Between the enjoyment and awe at Spanish nature, culture, food- you name it, there was a lot of melancholy, nostalgia and simple loneliness. Being in constant touch with my other half on one hand made this trip easier as I had my virtual companion on the way. But on the other hand, did it make me less social and more introvert than usual? I don’t think so but we never know how this trip would turn out in different circumstances… There were moments I wished I could come back home earlier, especially the last week in Barcelona proved to be tough as I simply was tired of moving around, travelling and not having my own space. In the end I even checked the possibility of cutting the holidays short and moving my flight earlier but there was no chance, so I’ve decided to stop moaning and enjoy the last few days of holidays.
It also occurred to me that once I’m in a long term relationship this might be my last long solo travel so I should enjoy it… There is the harsh should here but sometimes there were days that I didn’t want to do anything that people expect me to do on holidays abroad but just hide in my shell and stay melancholic … Yes, wasting my time with wine and movies. And let’s be honest, it wasn’t always met with understanding. But everyone has its own survival mode and a way to deal with nostalgy and should be allowed to do it their own way. Sometimes even abroad we just want to detach, relax and do nothing without feeling guilty for missing out. Especially on such a long trip, you need days just to simply let yourself loose and do whatever you want not necessarily what you should do on holidays. Of course as I was travelling on a budget, hmm, sort of, not always I had a chance to relax the way I wanted as I did lack privacy, even in airbnb. And it makes all the difference as I would feel better sometimes by just being comfortably on my own which was not always the case. But this trip taught me to be wiser when choosing the accommodation and not always follow the cheap ones. Maybe as I’m getting older and more choosy, finding places with more comfort for a higher price in the end would benefit my emotional state better. Not sure that makes sense to you, my reader, but it does to me… I’m still happy that I used hostels which were great value for the money and surprisingly privacy wasn’t too bad as most people kept to themselves like me.
It was more the experience with the last room via airbnb, spent with a lovely family, don’t get me wrong but I did feel a bit trapped there with a lot of attention from their side – which helped with my Spanish a lot though… There have to be pluses there as well… But somehow I didn’t feel comfortable enough to come and go as I pleased because I got the feeling that everytime I need to engage in some sort of conversation… But this affected my last week which could be a bit more pleasant if I was staying in a more easygoing place. Not too mention my tablet died and it didn’t want to charge again at all which also affected the lonely evenings in a small room 😉
Overall, I’m writing this on my 25th day abroad and I’m longing to be back home for many reasons 🙂 I’ve learnt that the trip was tad too long for my liking. It would be better financially to have it shorter as at the back of my head I had the constant calculating and frenzy regards spending money. And also on emotional level I wouldn’t get as melancholic and nostalgic in a shorter period of time. I’d be too busy doing stuff and in a month I did have enough free time for my mind to venture to the loved one.
I don’t regret this trip but maybe now I’m smarter to plan this sort of adventures more wisely from the emotional and economical perspective 😉
Nevertheless, Spain is an amazing place and as much as I love Malta, I wouldn’t mind living Spanish life for a while at all… Maybe at some point point, who knows…