I’ve always thought that the lifestyle I’ve lived has always been a rather chill one. I hang out at local breweries with my dad, I make small talk with random strangers, I like exploring coffee shops on my own, and am constantly taking random classes on my own. A few months before, I was taking French lessons at the OC Lingual Institute, after work. Before class, I would stop by the French bistro, Moulin, in Newport Beach. There I would practice my French with the workers, enjoy French cuisine for dinner, and a glass of red wine all while I was doing some last minute studying or getting ahead of lessons. At the time I was dating a Frenchie and I remember he looked me in the eye and asked, “you just know how to enjoy life, don’t you?”
Fast forward to when I was in Europe and I felt that they took it up a notch. On Sundays, the French take a rest day and all the shops are closed (worst day to fly in btw). The Spanish start and end their days late. Both cultures enjoy glasses of wine during the middle of the day, no big deal. In Malaga, I went exploring in the morning and at lunch, I had vegan tapas accompanied by a large glass of sangria at The Green Iguana. I chatted up my bartender/cook while I ate and learned how he prepared my food. During ciesta, I walked back to my hostel and took a nap. I would then wake up at 8 PM to get ready for dinner at 9:30 PM. My experience in Europe is nothing like the life I live in America, where everything is fast paced. People hardly to get to know one another, don’t even greet the barista making their coffee (in France and Spain, you better greet “bonjour” or “hola” for service), they rush while driving (guilty), eat fast food for convenience sake, swipe right for a quick fling, support the fast fashion industry – just to do it all over again the next day.
So take a minute or an hour out your busy day to do something you enjoy – whether that includes doing some sun salutations, enjoy a long walk around the neighborhood,
Netflix & Chill, faire du lèche-vitrines (literlly to go “window licking”), learn to knit or sew, whatever your heart desires!
Here in the States we just celebrated Thanksgiving. Though I am thankful for my family to come home to, I am thankful for the solo trip I just finished. It was my frst time exploring Europe, first time traveling alone, first time in hostels – and I have honestly learned so much about myself. I honestly feel like I have come home a different person and my thirst for adventure time has grown even stronger.
Here are three key skills that pushed my travels to the limit…
Social prowess – you are as social as you want or need to be. Have nothing planned and want to hang out with someone? Sign up for the hostel dinner + pub crawl. Ask your roommate to dinner in the city, even if they speak Spanish and very little English (pushed me to practice Spanish). I have met so many awesome people on my trip and they have made the experience that much better. But then there were days when I would just want to lay in bed all day and not do anything or talk to anyone. I was able to go at my own speed and socialize whenever I wanted to.
A keen sense of direction – I picked this up very easily. I took the Metro everywhere and was running through the city like a boss. Once I got to a new destination, the first thing I would do is walk around the hostel to ensure I was familiar with the area.
The ability to adapt to change and uncomfortable situations – this was a bit challenging, but being a project manager, it is something I deal with everyday. On my first day in France, I was hungry and jetlagged. I landed and went to exchange for euros but no one was at the desk. I instead decided to go find some food and just pay with credit card. I ended up wanting to pay one euro with a credit card and basically was cussed out in French. Instead of walking away defeated, I insisted they add coffee and a sandwich to my bill so I could pay with card. I got to enjoy a late lunch and mitigated the situation.
I honestly recommend everyone to travel solo once in their life. It is such an amazing experience in which you not only learn of another culture, but you learn so much of yourself.
Ten days ago, I had a YOLO moment to book a flight somewhere, anywhere. I searched Google for different destinations and price ranges – until I came across Paris for $420. LIT! After a push from a friend, I booked the flight and tomorrow, I fly to the City of Lights! It’s gonna be lit, literally.
This really has been a spur of the moment and I’m not sure how I feel about planning a week before an international trip. In all honesty, I have the flights and accomodations booked (just finished last night). I want to just show up and figure out what to do once I’m there. However, if you do have any recommendations, feel free to let me know!