Spain 2015,  Travel

Flying Solo…quite literally

Mallorca marked my first ever solo trip. I don’t really count Madrid because though I wandered on my own — I was still there with a group. Here, from start to end it was up to me; and I loved it. 

Originally, I was trying to meet up with a friend studying abroad elsewhere in Europe in Mallorca but flights were too expensive and had too long of layovers to really make it worth it. I thought about not coming then, but the island looked to beautiful to pass up. And after a short pep talk from my go to ace-in-the-hole of a sister, I pressed pay and booked both flight here and hostel to stay in. I wasn’t too sure of what I had gotten myself into, and I definitely had some nerves as I got on my plane in Sevilla, but now on the other side I couldn’t be more thrilled with the weekend I just had. (And yes, like most places I’d love to come back).

Honestly, I feel like I didn’t do too much while I was here: I saw the cathedral and castle, I went what I’m now calling “rock jumping” (more on this later), saw a picturesque village in the mountains, and relaxed on the beach. But I think that’s exactly what I needed. 

Of course there were some downsides to traveling alone — some things I did have no pictures of me in them/ doing them. But I have the concrete memories and I almost think that’s better. I’ve gotten so used to trying to capture pictures of everything to hold on to the memories, that I’d almost forgotten how nice it is just to put down technology and remember things through sight, smell, and the amazing infrastructure that is the brain and mind. So there’s no proof of me going rock jumping or me standing at some of the cutest streets in Valldemossa that I’ve ever seen but I’m okay with that.

Before I explain my rock jumping story, I want to talk about some of the other benefits of solo travel as I’ve experienced them in this trip. 

1. Surprisingly I used far more Spanish. Without others around and with the exception of my hostel at night I talked entirely in Spanish. I even had someone ask me if I was from here or Spain. (Still patting myself on the back for that one)

2. Everything was a chance to meet someone new. Whether it was walking in the center, stopping for lunch, or just on the bus. I just got to talk to anyone and most of them I probably would never had spoken to had I had someone with me. Which leads to my next point:

3. You see the true good of humanity and human nature. The first couple of hours of exploring I was on high alert. I was watching all movements, sounds, and even thinking of different self-defense moves I knew. Now, this is not to say that that is not important. But I was all eyes and ears open that I forgot momentarily to have an open heart and an open mind. Looking back, any of the numerous people who took a picture for me could have run off with my phone–but they didn’t. The man who saw me struggling with my self timer and offered to help me could have just grabbed my stuff and ran–but he didn’t. We live in a world where we are always on high alert for bad things to happen, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but traveling this weekend has reminded me there are far more people out here in the world trying to help you than there are trying to hurt you. 

4. Your gut instinct is there for a reason. Listen to it. So this is where rock jumping comes in. Last weekend 3 girls from my program came to Mallorca, interestingly enough they stayed in the same hostel I am staying at now. They all recommended asking one of the workers to show me the place for cliff jumping. Me, being in a relaxed travel mood immediately wanted to do it. So I asked Olly if he’d show me. Now usually he goes with people but I was the only one who wanted to go (of the people I met at the hostel) and he was busy checking people in (i.e. doing his job) so he told me how to get there. I followed his directions and I think I ended up at the right spot. However, I’m not entirely sure. Either way I was alone, in this cove area with a maybe 8km high rock/cliff. Having walked all the way there I knew I was at least going to go in and swim but I couldn’t really tell how deep the water was/if it was safe. My gut immediately reacted. So there was a semi smaller rock/cliff that was closer to the water that had deeper blue water around it (usually signifying more depth) and I opted to jump from there. So I’m calling it rock jumping because I’m not sure if it was the right cliff or not but I still had a blast. Plus following my gut seemed to be the better idea, than jumping and it being too shallow. Though I am a lifeguard I can’t really save myself and there was no one around. (Downside of traveling alone) This being said, there was this awesome cave right by where I jumped that I got to swim through and I wish I could have had a waterproof case for that. And once I was done that, I crossed off two other things on my bucket list besides the rock/cliff jumping and swimming in the Mediterranean. So all in all I’m still pretty please and sans broken bones. 

5. Sometimes you have to worry about the money later. The memories are generally worth more than the price tag. This is something I’m slowly trying to understand but something I’ve been taught my whole life by my parents and sister. I love traveling but of course it isn’t cheap so sacrifices have to be made, but even then sometimes the best thing to do is go, experience it, do it, eat it, whatever it may be. I wasn’t going to go to the Castillo Bellver because it was expensive to get there but again my ace (aka Olivia) talked me into it and I was happy I went as the view was stunning. Side note: as far as getting the perks of being the little sister, I think I win because having a older sibling so well traveled she’s got lots of advice and it’s free (for the most part it payment generally comes in shared meals which will soon be accompanied with glasses of wine upon return)

6. There’s nothing better than being alone sometimes. Honestly this weekend was exactly what I needed. Last week was quite stressful with my computer dying and trying to deal with all of that in Spanish. Plus, as much as I love the people in my program and my roommate here — it’s been nice to have space to recharge and relax. 

7. I am capable of far more than I give myself credit for….(part 1) This has been the theme so far of my time abroad. I consistently have surprised my self with what I am able to do, if I need to or want to. And while I still try to remain humble and don’t want it to get to my head, I’m going to have to say that by myself I’m pretty awesome. (When you’re feeling yourself it’s okay to say so sometimes)

8. ….But I never have to do it alone. (Part 2). Even being here alone and doing everything I’ve wanted to by myself and feeling completely okay in that. I know that I have a village that I can always fall back on. And it’s because of this village that I can do it on my own in the first place. 

Finally, thank you Mallorca for a fun filled yet relaxing weekend. Here’s to the first of many times I hope to fly solo…quite literally. I already have a couple more planned for this semester. 

 (Travel solo checked off the bucket list) ✔️