“Sometimes you need to get lost to find yourself.”
Anything anyone has ever told you about travelling, is all true.
It definitely changes your perception over a lot of things which were once cloudy and confusing.
It definitely helps you discover a whole new world which you never knew existed.
It definitely helps you unlock different facets of yourself that you weren’t aware of.
All-in-all… traveling is magic.
I took a recent trip to Spain and France to see a few friends over the summer. It was also a gift my parents had given me for my 25th birthday- a chance to see the world. I was grateful as I was thankful and I am not going to lie, I was a little (read: really) scared.
Why? Because this would be the first time I would be travelling outside the continent of Asia. And this would be the first time I would be travelling alone, and not with family. I was on my own, and high time I should be. Everyone needs to travel alone at least once. It’s like a rite of passage of your 20s. My turn came to me now.
So, I did as any first time lone traveler would do. I planned and planned and organized and organized. I made sure I had everything I needed and did all the things required to get my passport renewed, apply for a visa, apply for a traveler’s card, and did a lot of research of where I was going to go and what I was going to do. I wanted this trip to be full-proof and amazing.
I landed in Madrid (where my friends were at) and spent a good number of days there. Since they were busy with finals and Uni exams, I traveled to a lot of the places within the city by myself.
They taught me the basics of how to navigate through the metros otherwise, there was always lots and lots of walking.
By the way, restaurants I would totally recommend would be:
For an amazing Italian experience- Ginos
For sumptuous Greek food- Milos
And for that Spanish flair of Flamenco- Tablao Flamenco La Quimera
After 12 glorious days, we travelled to Paris for Bastille Day! Needless to say the fireworks at the Eiffel tower were the best I have ever seen. The pictures can’t do it justice.
Also restaurants I would totally recommend would be:
For the best crepes ever- La Creperie De Josseline
For excellent quiche and house specialty of salted duck- La Fourmi Ailee
Here is a tip: Book your tickets online to go up the Eiffel Tower in advance and save yourself the 2 hour queues!
And then finally, we went to the gorgeous city of Barcelona.
Where we pretty much made the most of the beautiful beach and ate a lot (read: aaaaalooooottt) of Paella. (Try out Restaurante Salamanca near Barcelonetta beach!)
For the most breathtaking sight of all kinds of food, visit the market in an area called Las Ramblas. I have never seen so many varieties of fruits, meat, chocolates, ice creams, cheeses, oils and preservatives in my entire existence. It was delicious to see and heavenly to eat.
Be sure to sit in one of those bar style restaurants and have as much seafood as you like. The variety is sensational to say the least.
But of course, I know what you must be thinking. Where is the soul searching side of this? It’s all food, exploration and fun. When do you get to the real stuff?
Well, remember when I said I wanted this trip to be perfect? The truth was, it wasn’t.
And that was the best part.
I learned so many things about myself which I would never have in an ordinary scenario. I learned how to cope with certain situations and how handle them when I did not have anyone to support me or help me.
I learned how to deal with things and solve them in my own way. I learned how to make decisions and stick to them despite everything. I learned how not to compromise on my values for the sake of the moment or even drown myself in the expansive freedom that I had the money, youth and time to do anything I wanted.
But I did not.
I learned how to build resolve. Set expectations of myself and not let people take advantage of the fact that I was gullible as much as I was a tourist. I made mistakes, yes, but none which costed me something I will miss.
I learned to be strong, suck it up and be happy with my choices. And if I wasn’t, do something about it.
I learned more about myself in that 1 month of travelling that I have in my life back home.
I taught myself new things and re-discovered traits which I thought were lost in the dust of a mundane life.
I found myself again. And the funny thing was, I wasn’t even looking.
So when they say travel to find yourself, they are asking you to put yourself in a new situation which will benefit you. Seeing new things, exploring new cuisines, meeting people of cultures you have only read about and visiting places you have only dreamed about, will help you bring in that much needed wave of clarity you never knew you wanted in the first place.
But who said you need to travel to exotic locations in Europe or otherwise?
Travelling can also refer to visiting a new side of your own town, which can refresh your mindset with the new space. Or something as simple as visiting the outskirts of the city you live in. Go for a day if time doesn’t permit you for anything more. But just make an effort to go. Get out. Breathe the fresh and unfamiliar air.
It will do you some good without you realizing it.
So the next time you get the opportunity, travel. But not escape, not to run away and leave all your problems behind, but find new and refreshed ways of tackling them once and for all.
Travel to remember who once were, what you can be and what your undiscovered potential is. Go somewhere and prepare yourself, to meet yourself again.
Finally, the most important thing you need to take care of?
Travel with the right people.
Or you are better off traveling alone.
May you travel as often as you like,