I used to struggle with solo travel – I’ve written in the past about how I flat out don’t like solo travel. There came a time, though, when I learned to love solo travel. Wanna know my trick? That time I spent in Spain.
Spain, particularly the larger, more touristy cities, is a great place for first time solo female travelers, mostly because of the international status! You’ll find folks from all over the place so you’ll never feel alone. The Spanish culture is also incredibly open, friendly, and social, so even if you find yourself in a smaller area, never fear!
Do it on your own!
My first true solo travel experience was in Córdoba, Spain. I was still under the impression that I hated solo travel, but I really wanted to go and I couldn’t find anyone to travel with me. Not one to walk away from a new experience, I headed down to Córdoba myself. By then I had lived in Spain for several months, and was a fairly seasoned traveler…with companions. I had never had to plan a trip, catch the bus, switch tickets when I found out I had bought a ticket for the wrong day, figure out public transportation systems, and make my way to the hidden hostel by myself before. While it was a bit of a challenge, I figured it out!
This trip quickly became one of my favorite weekend trips; it was late April, so it was warm and sunny in Andalusia where it was still dreary and cold in Madrid, and my Florida skin got to soak up the vitamins it had been missing all winter. I got to wear flowy dresses, eat outside in the warmth, and really enjoy the perks of traveling solo, like doing what I wanted when I wanted. I was in charge of my weekend! I felt so empowered – what had I been so afraid of? This was great!
But always be careful…
Unfortunately, I got too cocky. I had a little voice in my head that told me to be more careful – I was in a foreign place alone, after all, and while it was still a safe place, you should always be aware of your surroundings when you travel. What did I do? I ignored it. I walked around the most touristy areas like the queen of the world, phone in my hand (red flag!! Put your phone away when you travel, you’re about to find out why!), struttin’ around like I didn’t have a care in the world…and then I had to pee. Never fear, there’s a bathroom across the square! Walked to the bathroom, did my business, picked up my things…can you guess what I was missing?
That first solo travel experience was truly empowering, enlightening, and just plain lovely. After chastising myself for a couple of minutes over how I had known better, I let it roll off my shoulder. I knew vaguely where I was – all I had to do was check in with the locals every once in a while to keep track of the time so I wouldn’t miss the bus. And you know what? It was that much more empowering to depend on my Spanish skills and build my confidence!
About the Author
Jamie is a 20-something who’s fascinated by cultural differences and foreign languages. She loves to see life through another perspective, and writes about the differences between cultures on Crashed Culture.
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