The solo traveler trend is on the rise. Each year more people are boarding an airplane or jumping on a bus alone. Some people find this idea daunting, while others find the simple thought of traveling alone adventurous and interesting. I was one of those people who found the idea of traveling alone extremely intimidating. Yet, that’s exactly what I did!
Last summer, in Phryme Magazine’s first issue, Endrick Leon wrote about the marvels of traveling solo. At first, it seemed like a very interesting idea to me, because most of my friends don’t like to travel as much as I do. So I thought, “Well, I might just start traveling alone. It can’t be that bad!”
I wanted to visit Copenhagen in the fall, but because I needed to get some papers done for school I decided to plan a trip for February instead. With sun and great food in mind, I opted for Malaga, a coastal city in the south of Spain. I booked my ticket and a place to stay and came February off I went on a well-deserved vacation.
When I arrived in Malaga, I took the bus to the city center and I made my way to my Airbnb. I was staying in a beautiful house owned by a photographer named Jose. He uses his house as his studio, so the decorations and details were breathtaking and idyllic.
After arriving, I decided to grab some dinner and head to bed immediately, as I was feeling very tired. That’s when I started feeling a bit uncomfortable. I wondered, “What am I doing in this beautiful city filled with palm trees all by myself?” And on that thought, I dozed off.
The next morning, I headed to the bus station to get a ticket to go to Granada and visit the Alhambra. I had gotten my Alhambra ticket in advance to avoid the queue, so I only had to get a bus ticket and I was ready to go.
I was half an hour earlier than the departure time at the station and there were about 4 people in front of me in the queue to get a ticket. “This should be fast.” I thought. However, the lady was taking insanely long, and I didn’t want to miss the bus, so I opted to use the self-service machines. As it turns out, you could only pay with cash at the self-service machines, which meant I had to stand back in the queue and therefore lose the bus to Granada. This was a problem because when you buy a ticket to the Alhambra you get a time of entry on your ticket. If you’re later than that, you are not allowed to enter.
There was very little I could do in that situation. So, I decided to take a seat and read one of the books I took with me while waiting for the next bus. As I was trying to read, many thoughts flashed through my mind. First, what was I going to do if they didn’t let me in? Second, how do I avoid letting this inconvenience ruin my day? But the third one, that was the question that had been lingering all along in the back of my mind,
“What on earth are you doing on this vacation alone?”
I tried to convince myself that I had gone on a vacation alone to find myself. But I know damn well who I am. So, then I tried to tell myself that the reason I decided to embark on this trip alone was that I needed time to collect myself from my day to day duties in the Netherlands. Also, not true, I love my day to day in the Netherlands. And that’s when it hit me; I had gone on vacation alone because I was tired of practically begging my friends to get on board for a group vacation like the good ol’ days.
I eventually ended up getting into the Alhambra. The next day I visited the Picasso Museum, I went hiking on my own towards a medieval castle on the top of a mountain and I even had conversations with strangers about art in the Carmen Thyssen Museum. But the truth is that I am not the kind of person that should be traveling alone because I don’t like to experience new things without someone to share my thoughts with. Besides, I don’t like to ask strangers to take pictures of me and I absolutely abhor eating dinner alone in a restaurant. I’m too social to be out there experiencing beautiful things all by myself.
However, by going on this vacation alone I proved to myself that I could go way beyond my comfort zone and feel empowered just because of that. Regardless, I’ll be booking my next trip with a friend.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blogpost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme Magazine.