Traveling solo is a unique experience, and one that I’ve grown to absolutely love. I appreciate beauty more deeply, savor every bite of food and sip of wine, and take a “wandering” approach to traveling.
There’s something about walking a city to sink into its culture, getting lost in the sights and sounds and just following my curiosity.
As an introvert, part of the beauty of a solo trip is to retreat into my head and limit interaction with others as much as possible, but over the years I’ve met some fascinating people. This trip was no exception.
Australians, Portuguese & A Latina
I had one day alone in Barcelona before my girlfriend arrived, and ended up joining a lovely retired Australian couple near the end of my lunch. I was hesitant at first, as I enjoy dining alone, but they were entertaining and I had so much fun hearing stories of their travels.
My next stop was Lisbon, and this was the official start to the solo portion of my trip. I discovered at the end of one of my dinners that the restaurant was cash only and I had none. It was a small place, with only the owner and one other server taking care of the tables, and the owner was so trusting he initially told me I could come back the next day to pay.
My train was leaving before the restaurant opened in the morning, so he insisted that his only server accompany me to the ATM to make sure I was safe as I got the cash I needed. Another guest ended up joining us. She happened to live in LA but is from Mexico, so the conversation was a mix of Portuguese, Spanish, and English. I learned about their cultures through their animated stories, and the three of us felt like friends by the time we returned.
How An Israeli’s Dog Stole My Heart
In The Algarve, I was walking along the cliffs when a little white dog with brown spots began walking along side me. I gave him a few scratches, he decided I was his new best friend and wouldn’t leave my side. His owner was finally able to call him away, but when I sat down in a rocky area set back from the beach and looked up, the little dog was bounding toward me at full steam.
He scurried up the rocks, hopped into my lap and promptly began taking a bath. I’ve never been a huge dog person and this little guy was getting my dress quite sandy, but when he curled up in my lap and fell asleep I melted.
The sun was going down and he began shivering, officially stealing my heart.
I chatted with his owner while he slept, and discovered that he’d found the dog in Spain and now they travel the world together. I never found out the owners name but did discover that he’s from Israel and it sounds like he’s a full time backpacker. He is in Lagos for a few months living in a small tent hidden away in the foliage near the cliffs. That’s how he travels, following the warm weather to places where he can find a spot to live outside.
A Wanderer’s Perspective
I have no idea how or if he makes a living, but meeting someone who chooses to live his life this way, so simply, really got me thinking. He never has anywhere to be. He spends his days wandering the beach and the evenings with whatever friends he encounters during the day.
This lifestyle choice is on the extreme side of things and I’m sure it has its challenges, but I can see the value in its simplicity.
After six slow and wonderful days spent wandering amidst some of the most intense beauty I’ve ever experienced, with the luxury of having nowhere to be, I know it’s time to introduce much more of this into my everyday life.