I’ve returned and have been integrated back (with some, actually a lot of resistance) into the thrills of London life,womp womp wooommmppp!
I thought it best to give you an update on my trip away alone, before I discuss anything else.
First off, it was AMAZING! I loved every bit of it, including getting lost. I have always wanted to travel and be incognito, live as the locals do. It’s great exploring a place with tourist eyes but to do so through a native’s eye is even better in my opinion. I wanted to be submerged in their culture without the privilege of being a British national (let’s not pretend that there aren’t some advantages accosted to the British).
There were many observations I was able to make as a result of being alone, things I would not have noticed if I had a companion.
One of the highlights for me, believe it or not, was commuting. Now for those that know me, commuting on London transport doesn’t make any of my highlights and for good reason. I enjoyed studying the faces of the commuters and deciphering what they paid attention to. As a visitor, I hadn’t a clue about what stood out or what was okay to do or not, so it really gave me the opportunity to learn the people, like they say when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I found it really easy to get around and I think I blended in very well, bar my Pharrell looking hat, that occasionally granted me side way glances and a few compliments too!
Another significant benefit was the FREEDOM to do whatever I wanted. I went there with no concrete plan but to simply enjoy being in a different environment and I would do whatever took my fancy. If I felt like having a quick drink in Seventy Eight (a bar in El Poble Sec), that I stumbled across on route back to my apartment, I did, if I wanted to go into the museum that I just walked past (Erotic Museum, don’t ask, I was feeling erh curious, listen I’m grown lol) I did, if I wanted to hop on the Metro and go to the beach (didn’t quite make the beach but took the cable car to Montjuic Hill) I did. There were no hesitations or debating, just doing! Which can sometimes be counter-productive when with others, too many cooks spoil the broth.
You get to learn an immense amount because you have no one else to rely on but yourself. You discover more about the city, the language, the culture, and the general idiosyncrasies. You are forced to ask questions, otherwise how else will you learn? It is a great way to open up dialogue and mingle with the locals.
So here are a few tips on travelling alone:
- Don’t be shy, ask questions! You’ll meet new people and save yourself a lot of hassle! Always cross check the information they provide as sometimes they may not be well informed themselves. Believe and rely in your abilities.
- Whatever you wouldn’t do at home, consider not doing abroad. It’s not restricted to this and it does require research, common sense and intuition. On the first day I made enquires at the hotel on if it was safe to travel to the city after 7 pm. I really didn’t know how things operated and didn’t want to leave the area if it wasn’t ideal to do so. They told me it was but to be aware of pickpockets, I think that goes for most places in the world. On another occasion, I was buying sweets from a stall and a dubious looking character stood next to me, attempting to engage in conversation. He spoke to me in Spanish and French and I told him English only. The lady, serving me felt the same way I did, and moved to another point to finish the transaction. I instantly knew it was because she didn’t want me bringing out my money next to where he stood. Right as she gave me my change, in a sweet but concerned voice, whilst looking me straight in the eye said ‘Be very careful, okay?’ as her eyes fleeted across to the questionable man. I thanked her and told her I will. I was gone with the wind, she did not have to tell me twice! Thank you nice lady!
- Keep the important things nearby- (I preferred on my body, slightly paranoid, slightly controlling) and or in a safe and secure place.
- Explore, Explore, Explore! (with caution)
- Practice your selfie skills.
Will I be travelling alone again? ABSOLUTELY!