Thursday, 12 October 2017

A Room Of One's Own | Solo Travel Experience

Friends and family looked at me as though I were mad when I told them I’d booked it. “It done! Next month, me, myself & I, will be trotting off to Barcelona for four days. I want to go, so I’m going,” I announced.

To be honest, it did feel weird to admit that I was choosing to holiday alone. So many people do it, but I suppose most of the time it’s an experience reserved for gap year students or round-the-clock travellers; perhaps a stranger choice to make when you’re a twenty-eight years old in full-time job, with a boyfriend and friends who probably wouldn’t say “no” to a City break.

James was going away on tour for six weeks. Initially, I was going to join him for a week or so in the US, it’s what we normally do, but it was getting hard to make a visit fit around his travel itinerary and my own work commitments, so we put that idea to bed.

However, by that point, the travel niggle had already implanted itself in my brain. I just wanted to go SOMEWHERE. I wanted to do something. I was feeling creatively uninspired, and finding it difficult to focus in on getting stuff done amid the hustle and bustle of every day life.

Virginia Woolf said that all every woman needs is a room of her own. I recently read a piece by Caitlin Moran, who believes that Woolf meant: "how any woman who wishes to write needs to be able to close the door, be alone, in a space, and to think."

Woolf wrote that in 1929. I wonder if she was writing that essay today what kind of emphasis she would put on the same point? It’s been a bit of a theme for me this year, I’ve written about it before – about how we’re all so “switched on” 24/7 and the plethora of information that slaps us in the face every five seconds, the endless distractions, and the speed in which things advance and change, forcing us into these exhausting and relentless ‘keeping up the Jones’ scenarios.

So, in the same way that people book themselves a trip to a spa, or a well-earned big night-out, I booked myself a holiday and it was bliss.

I took myself somewhere that I’d wanted to visit since the age of 14. I knocked off places on my travel wish list. I read. I wrote. I walked miles across the City. I ordered room service dinner and desert. I sat in Gaudi’s Park G├╝ell and drew. I ate good food whilst watching the world pass by. I slept for ten hours straight after a long soak in the tub.

I came home refreshed, thinking clearer and ready to throw myself into new challenges. I came home and hugged my loved ones a little tighter, because giving yourself time to think makes you realise that as much as you can enjoy your own company, you'd be nothing without the love and support of your teammates. Gushy, but true.

It was only four days outside of my normal bubble, but I came home paying more attention to the important things, and able to channel out most of the trivial distractions of modern life.

I’m a little late to the #SelfCareSeptember party, but I guess you could say I started practising it in January and if there’s anything I’m proud of myself for this year, it’s learning that it’s okay to do something just for yourself from time to time.

After all, don’t they say you’re better prepared to help others when you look after number one?

Much love,
L x

Liked this? Read: How to spend 72 hours in Barcelona.
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