Falling For Madrid (Like, Literally)

No big deal or anything, but ya girl just got back from traveling through Spain, France, and Portugal for 40 days. Yup, ya suckers. I was there, traveling all by myself for 40 days.

Also, when I say, “I just got back,” I mean that I got back about a month ago.

I’ve been procrastinating on blogging a little. So what? I needed time to process the whole thing. I’m not the type of person who comes back from a once-in-a-lifetime trip and writes about it willy nilly like that. Come on, guys. Also, I needed time to watch season two of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and all of Lemonade, along with, like, 100 hours worth of Tasty videos…

I’ve been busy.

Four weeks, a scroll through Pinterest, and about ten more Tasty vids later, I’m here to finally tell you about my experience. Here’s the thing about solo travel, dear reader: you can’t really talk about it without sounding like the lady below.

Yeah, jerks. I’m woke as hell now. It was nothing but a trip full of bourgie experiences, during which I rode donkeys. Not really ... but I did take a picture of some cute little lambs in Portugal.

Look at them! They’re so tiny!

Anyway, I’ll stop distracting you with pictures of adorable animals and funny videos and just come out and say it. Traveling on your own is kind of the best. I navigated cities I’ve never been to, met cool people, and ended up staring out into gorgeous views on top of monuments older than dust, wondering, “How did I get here?”

At the same time, traveling alone is full of mishaps and missteps that are sure to make you feel like a f*cking idiot. You'll make wrong turns, say wrong things, and fall on your face. Literally.

This is not a story about those gorgeous views, friendly travelers, or charming medieval hamlets, but rather one of me falling on my face.(I did say literally, didn't I?) Enjoy!

I was scared before I left. The reason I wanted to get into this whole travel game was because many moons ago (okay, fine, it was like a year ago), Kat Armas told me about her own solo adventures in Europe, and I thought, “I could never do that.” Nevertheless, I decided, for the sake of conquering fears and all that, that I should try it. (I know, right? I’m like insane and super brave.)

I booked my ticket, and before I had time to organize a travel plan, my take-off date had come. I tried to keep cool, but as anyone who knows me knows, I have no chill. I have negative chill (which is pretty chilly). It’s the worst. So I tried to sleep on my flight. I even used my inflatable neck pillow and earplugs, but the lady next to me was a mouth breather who kept having to stand up to go pee. Plus, the plane had turbulence and, oh my god, I was on my way to a foreign country all by myself.

So we land and I’m all nervous and sweaty and smell like the breath of the lady sitting next to me. I’m also exhausted and terrified, and did I tell you I smelled like the breath of the lady next to me? So I made the decision to take out cash and drop 30€ on a cab from the airport to the center of town.*

After a seemingly quick ride, the cab driver stopped and said, “this is the place.” So I exited the cab and thought nothing of it. Oh, except one small problem: my hostel was nowhere in sight. I was on the right street, but couldn’t physically find the name of my hostel. Like anywhere. So, I walked up and down the street, trying to spot my hostel. Right as I looked up to see a huge neon sign that read “hostel,” I fell...

over a pole...

the size of my shortest friend...

By the way, this was in Spain, pre-siesta hour, where everyone was on the street before their wine-infused lunch dates, yelling vale at each other. I ate the pavement, backpack on my back and all (my bag was huge, btw. I lovingly dubbed it ‘The Monster,’ after Cheryl Strayed’s backpack in Wild, but also because it was huge). My whole body fell onto the sidewalk. Two guys had to pick me up off the ground and put me on my feet. I didn’t even say thank you. All I said was that I hadn’t seen the huge pole on the ground.†

So my introduction to the whole solo travel game wasn’t exactly cherries and diet cokes. I walked into my hostel all shaky and crazy-eyed because I’d just experienced un tremendo golpeado.√

A few days later, I slipped on the rainy tiles of Lisbon while looking for my hostel, except this time I laughed it off. Also, there were less people on the street, and I was basically a super expert at solo traveler by this point. All it took was a couple of days! Who would have thunk!

So what's the moral of the story? Time heals all wounds? Accept the good with the bad? I don’t really know, dear reader. All I know is that my knees were scabby for a while and then they weren’t.º 

Anyway, I’m now a worldly babe, and you’re the coolest for reading this post. I’ll be back with more soon.∞ Namaste, scoobedobedo and all that. BIIIIIIII!

*Who am I? A big money baller? No, I was just that nervous and crazy that I was willing to drop money on an easy ride than deal with the metro.

† To those fine Spaniard dudes, gracias! You helped a sister out. I was understandably a little preoccupied in the moment because there was a giant travelers backpack crushing me a second before our interaction. You understand, right? Of course you do because you’re Spanish and Spanish people are cool. Bless you.

√For you gringos: a major hit to the head

º No, seriously. I think that’s just the moral of the story.

∞Maybe