Top 3 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Hiking the Havasupai Trail

Havasupai is an oasis in the desert. Located in Arizona, it has become a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurists. Getting a permit to hike the Havasupai Trail is a feat all on its own. The permits go on sale once a year (this year they went on sale on February 1st) and dates sell out quickly. I was lucky enough to get a permit for three days and two nights, which cost $171.11. At this price, you’re paying roughly $86 a night to camp in the Havasupai campgrounds.

The Supai village is located about eight miles from the start of the trailhead. There are only three ways in: on foot, by horse, or by helicopter. You have to stop in the village and check-in, then continue roughly two more miles to the campgrounds.

I’ll write another post about some specific experiences during my time in Havasupai, but here are the main things I wish I’d known before I set out on the trail. If you’re reading this, maybe you’re getting ready to trek into the desert or are thinking about applying for permits for next year. Good luck, and I hope my tips can help you be more prepared than I was!

1 – Squirrels are ruthless and will steal all your food

The squirrels at Havasupai are the fastest, sneakiest, and fattest squirrels I have ever seen. It’s truly a sight to behold when you see something so plump sprint so quickly with tons of snacks stuffed in its mouth. We often forget that squirrels are rodents, and that means that they are really really good at chewing through just about anything. This includes bags, backpacks, tents, and boxes. On my first day at Havasupai, a squirrel chewed through my tent and then through multiple bags and ate three days worth of homemade granola bars. I only saved the rest of my food because I came back to my tent in time to find the squirrel trapped inside still eating.

How do people protect their food? There are really sturdy buckets with super strong lids floating around the campgrounds for people to use. If you don’t see any unoccupied, walk around and ask people if they have any extras nearby or see if someone is about to leave and take their bucket. Nobody hikes in with buckets so they definitely belong to the campgrounds and you don’t need to feel weird about just taking one for your campsite.

Another squirrel chewed through my friend’s heavy-duty backpacking backpack and ate a bunch of Clif bars. If you take any food out to the waterfalls, make sure you don’t leave it in your backpack lying around unattended.

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Squirrel damage to my tent – hand for size comparison

2 – Helicoptering out seems like an easy fix but is really more of a hassle

Most people do a pretty good job of hiking into the campgrounds and surviving, but the hike in really takes a toll on your body if you’re not fully prepared and in shape. Your days in Havasupai will also probably include more hiking and some climbing to get around to the waterfalls. During this time, you may develop some blisters or injuries and decide that hiking ten miles back out of the canyon just isn’t in your future. Not to worry! You can ride a helicopter out. It costs $85 and the entire helicopter ride lasts somewhere between 4 and 5 minutes. It seems like a really good deal and an easy way to cop out of the uphill hike, and if you truly can’t make the hike out then this is the way for you.

However, getting on this helicopter is not as easy as some people would have you believe. I racked up tons of blisters on my feet hiking in and around Havasupai and then tried to take the helicopter out of the canyon. Some tour guides in the campground informed us that the first helicopter that takes tourists out leaves at 10 am and to get on that helicopter, you have to be in line at the helipad around 4 am. They also said that for each group of 20 people in line in front of you, you can expect to wait one hour.

We got to the helipad, which is located in the village (so you still have to hike two miles from the campground to the village), at roughly 4:30 am and there were a handful of people already there in front of us. We then sat around and waited for hours as more people started trickling in. Around 8:30, a man came out with the helicopter sign-up sheet. He didn’t announce himself or anything, so half of the people waiting didn’t even notice him, and it was a mad dash to the little fold up table set up in front of the helipad. Forget the lines and forget the order of arrival- everyone pushed their way to the sign-up sheet and it was chaos. I pushed everyone as well and cut the line to my actual place, and I was the fourth person on the sign-up sheet. Helicopters started coming in and out around 9:15, but the Supai locals get priority and only six people fit in the helicopter at a time. I was the fourth person on the list and I didn’t get on the helicopter until 12:30.

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Views from inside the helicopter

3 – Getting to the waterfalls is scary as fuck

Sorry, not sorry for the language, but it’s true. Mooney Falls, which is considered the best Havasupai waterfall, is about one mile from the start of the campgrounds. You start at the top of the waterfall and have to take a trail down. The trail starts off normally, rocky and sloped but not too bad, and then it gets progressively worse. You have to crawl through two very narrow caves and then start climbing down the cliff face, frantically holding on to jutting rocks at first until you get to the metal chains. At the bottom, there are wooden stairs that are muddy and slippery because of the waterfall spray and mud from people’s shoes. I’m not saying don’t go to the waterfall because of how scary it is to get down, but just be prepared. Hold on with both hands and keep your body as close to the cliff/stairs as possible.

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From the bottom of Mooney Falls looking back up – Can you see the trail?

Beaver Falls is about 3 miles from Mooney Falls. You have to first climb down to the bottom of Mooney Falls, then embark on a trail through mostly forested areas and a lot of creek crossings. Beaver Falls has two points of entry, and one of them is less scary than the other, but they are both still scary. I descended into Beaver Falls from the less scary entry point which just consisted of wooden stairs. I left Beaver Falls through the other entry point, and I had to do actual rock climbing (unattached) to get to the wooden stairs at the top. I consider myself to be an okay rock climber and the rock climbing I did to get out of Beaver Falls was similar to a V3/V4 in terms of bouldering. It wouldn’t have been bad if there had been a crash pad below me, but falling here was not an option.

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Beaver Falls

 

 

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Is Andorra a Country?

When I’m planning out my trips, I always check Viator to see what the must-see tourist spots are and I usually book some day tours so I can explore with a guide. Last year when I was planning my Spain trip, I saw a day tour that went from Barcelona to France to Andorra, and it was advertised as something like “Three Countries in One Day!” The name definitely caught my attention and I booked the tour even though I had no idea what Andorra even was.

 

Where is Andorra?

Andorra is sandwiched between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountain range.

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How big is Andorra?

Andorra is 468 square km (180 square miles). For a comparison, the smallest U.S. state is Rhode Island at 4,002 square km (1,545 square miles).

Is Andorra a country?

Yes it is! The constitution was adopted in 1993. Before then, it was ruled by France and Spain.

How do I get to Andorra?

Be creative. Andorra does not have an airport. You can fly in through Spain or France and then cross the border by car, train, or bus. If you have loads of money or friends who have loads of money, you can fly in by helicopter.

Do I need a VISA or any special documents?

You don’t need anything to go into Andorra, but your documents will be checked when you leave Andorra since you’ll be entering either Spain or France. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation to get into Spain or France.

Why should I go to Andorra?

Good question. The Andorran tourism sites highlight the beauty of the mountains, skiing, and relaxation. But here’s why you’ll really want to go here- Andorra has really relaxed tax laws. The capital of this tiny country has a surprising amount of stores, many of which have a wide selection of alcohol to choose from. According to my guide, people love going to Andorra to buy tax-free alcohol. There’s even a restriction at the border when you’re leaving Andorra- you can’t cross back into Spain with too much alcohol. I can’t remember if the rule is one bottle per person or two, but it’s a low enough number that bar owners in Spain have the habit of taking all their friends with them to Andorra just to be able to cross back into Spain with more alcohol. These relaxed tax laws apply to banking as well, and Andorra is well-known for being a tax haven where people can hide a lot of money. So I guess if you’re looking to open an off-shore bank account, this would be the place to do it.

 

 

Andorra in the winter is truly a winter wonderland. As a Brazilian who grew up in Texas, I have very little experience with real winters and snow. The first views of Andorra were a total shock for me.

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I was with a small tour (5 people total) and we stopped here to take some pictures. Ironically enough, there was a group of Brazilians already here and they were running around like children having their first snowball fight.

 

The capital of Andorra is called Andorra la Vella, and it is situated in a valley so it doesn’t stay as snowy as other parts of the country. About 23,000 people live in the city. You can walk around almost the whole city pretty easily. The streets are clean and feel pretty safe, and there are amazing mountain views everywhere you look.

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I don’t really drink alcohol or ski or have enough money for an off-shore bank account, but I could be convinced to come back just to hang out and enjoy the mountains. The buildings around the city are a mix of modern and historic. There are also two mountain streams that go through the city, so you get a constant relaxing water sound as you walk around.

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Besides the mountains, my favorite thing in the city was this sculpture. Salvador Dalí’s Nobility of Time stands tall in the main plaza in Andorra la Vella. The description of this piece taken directly from the Dalí Universe website reads:

“Dalí’s soft watch is both draped against and supported by the remains of a tree whose trunks sprout new life and whose roots entwine a stone. The terminology, “the crown of a watch” usually indicates a mechanical device which allows us to set the hands and wind the timepiece.  Time, however, according to a Dalínian watch, is changeless and cannot be set, and the watch itself has no internal power or motion.  Given this absence of movement, the crown in this case is interpreted by the artist as a royal crown which adorns the watch, identifies time’s mastery over human beings rather than its utility to him. His majesty is attended by two reoccurring, fantastical Dalínian symbols: a contemplative angel, and a woman draped in shawls look on.  Time reigns supreme over both art and reality.”

 

Floating in San Juan

Puerto Rico has so much to offer. There are beautiful beaches everywhere, caves full of bats, rainforests, castles, and bioluminescent bays- all of which I’ll write about in other posts. I spent about 10 days in Puerto Rico vigorously exploring the main island and some of the smaller ones, but one of the most peaceful things I found was right in San Juan.

Hidden away behind some highways and the bridge that connects Old San Juan to the main island is a little lagoon, Laguna del Condado. This lagoon connects with the Atlantic Ocean and is oftentimes overlooked by tourists who don’t take a closer look at what it has to offer. Since water features can be plentiful in and around Puerto Rico, a small lagoon can seem like nothing special.

I found the Laguna del Condado by accident when I was walking through a park and ended up at the water. There were kayaks and stand-up paddle boards available to rent, but there was absolutely no one in the water. I dropped a pin on Google Maps on my phone and made a mental note to come back later with a swimsuit and my GoPro.

It cost me $15 to rent out a paddle board for an hour and a half. There was a little table where I could leave my belongings, and I was equipped with a life vest and helped into the water.

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The view from the lagoon is really unique because there’s a lot of greenery with all the taller buildings rising up behind the trees. It’s a nice integration of nature and civilization without the feeling of being too close to the urban center.

What’s nice about lagoons is that they don’t get waves, so if you’re a really inexperienced stand-up paddle boarder, then this would be a great place for you to start out and gain some confidence.

Now here’s why you’ll really want to come here. The special thing about this lagoon is that the manatees come here to feed and rest. Most of the locals know, but tourists are woefully unaware since there are no day tours or little flyers advertising manatees here. The manatees aren’t in the lagoon all the time, but the man who runs the stand-up paddle board kiosk told me that there’s about a 50/50 chance of seeing a manatee on any given day. Those sound like pretty good odds to me. And if we consider how much I paid to rent the equipment ($15 for 1.5 hours), then this just got a whole lot better.

I searched the whole lagoon for manatees but if they were there, they were really well hidden. Maybe it was the weather (it had been raining on and off all day) or maybe it was the time of day that I went (3 pm), but I did not get to see any beautiful marine mammals.

Here’s what I did get out of it- a peaceful escape away from other tourists. The entire time I was out floating in the lagoon, I only saw one other family. It was quiet, peaceful, clean, and refreshing. I also got some good exercise, core from balancing on the paddle board and shoulders from rowing. When I got tired I took a floating nap- imagine the feeling of sleeping in a hammock, but better.

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In conclusion, the lagoon is a nice place to go even on a cloudy day with no manatees. Traveling can be exhausting, but this was exactly what I needed to find my peaceful center again.

Next time your travels take you to Puerto Rico, check out the lagoon and let me know if you happen to come across any manatees!

My First Goat Yoga Class!

How did goat yoga become a thing and why didn’t we think of it sooner?

So maybe this post is less about travel and more about unique experiences. Goat yoga is catching on fast and I see goat yoga places opening up all over the U.S. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I needed to try it. I love yoga and I love goats, so I figured I would love anything that combined them.

I did a little digging on the internet trying to find a place that offered goat yoga near me that was also not too expensive. There were multiple classes, but they were all pretty expensive (I thought), even for a specialty yoga class. Prices ranged from $25 all the way up to $50. I understand the costs of maintaining a goat yoga business will be different because you have to take care of goats, but I didn’t want to spend that much for a one-hour yoga class. After some more searching, I found a goat yoga class on EventBrite for $16 and I signed up and told everyone I knew that I was going to play with goats.

I had very few expectations before my class. I got an email reminder a few days before that said to bring my own mat, wear bug spray if I wanted to, and have my camera (phone) charged to take some cool pictures.

The day arrived and I drove to the address listed. It was in a residential neighborhood in someone’s backyard. I followed the signs into the yard and checked in at a little table where someone handed me a tiny cup filled with little food pellets to feed the goats. I was also handed a towel to put over my mat. There were some baby goats and some adult goats and they were all just freely roaming the backyard. I set my mat down and my towel on top of it and tried feeding some of my pellets to any goats that walked by. They were super eager to eat and tried to steal my whole cup of pellets.

I looked around and it seemed like everyone had already given away all their goat food even though class hadn’t even started yet. That’s when I had the most brilliant idea. I dumped all the pellets onto my mat but underneath my towel. The goats stayed near me the entire time I was there!

The actual yoga was really weak. We did some breathing exercises and even some laughing, which I had never done before. Then we got into some really basic flows, like the sun salutation. The goats all did their own thing, coming near people whenever they wanted and peeing and pooping wherever they wanted too (including on someone’s mat). Two of the goats realized my mat smelled like food and stayed glued to me. At the end of the class, the instructor helped everyone get into some photo ops by placing goats on everyone’s backs while they were in tabletop pose.

Overall, it was a fun and unique experience.

Would I do it again? Probably.

Would I do it often? No.

Was it worth the $16? Yes.

Is it a good place to seriously practice yoga? No.

Were the goats magnificent and amazing and cuddly? Yes.

Antelope Canyon (No Actual Antelopes)

I started my travel Instagram account about a year and a half ago and I followed a bunch of other travel accounts so that I could use them for inspiration. Almost everyone I followed in the travel niche had pictures of this magnificent canyon with these curved walls and gorgeous red/orange tint. I had never seen this place before and I thought it was somewhere really far away, most likely outside of the U.S. As a girl who grew up in the states but usually traveled internationally, I had this weird misconception that everything really weird and unique had to be really far away from me. I had also just spent some time in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan, and I thought that this beautiful red canyon was probably somewhere near that. I was shocked when I found out the canyon was actually in Arizona.

Antelope Canyon is a dream. I planned a trip to Arizona and then spent about six months imagining how magical it would be to walk between the canyon’s walls. If you’re ever in Arizona, you have to visit this place.

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon in Page, Arizona. Slot canyons are really narrow canyons, and there are quite a few of them in Arizona and Utah. Slot canyons can also be really dangerous, especially if it rains. Since the canyons are so narrow, water levels can rise insanely quickly. Drowning is quite possible and a group of tourists drowned in a flash flood in the canyon in 1997. There are more safety measures in place nowadays, but tourists should still monitor the weather very closely before entering the canyon.

It’s not possible to access the canyon without a tour guide. Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land, and I booked a tour with a Navajo guide. He explained to me that the Navajo people actually call themselves the Diné, not Navajo. My Diné tour guide was awesome. He led a group of about twenty of us and gave everyone so much individual attention. He also showed us the best way to get good pictures of the canyon.

Here are some of my best shots:

Would you believe that all these pictures were taken with my iPhone 7? Antelope Canyon is the place to go if you want to feel like the world’s greatest photographer. Every picture I took was amazing and the other people on the tour were so nice and would step out of my pictures before I ever even had to ask them to.

Now about the name- I am always the girl on the tour who asks a million questions, especially about nature. One of my first questions was about how Antelope Canyon came to be called Antelope Canyon.

I had two theories:

  • Antelope Canyon is shaped like an antelope somehow. This would make sense because some nearby attractions are named for their shapes. For example, Horseshoe Bend is shaped like a horseshoe.
  • Antelopes used to roam the region. This seemed less likely because I was pretty sure that antelope could only be found in Africa and connecting countries.

Apparently the canyon was named for the pronghorn, which kind of looks like an antelope. Pronghorn are not related to antelope family, but the males have similar-looking horns and they all have hooves so I can definitely see the resemblance. Pronghorn used to be common around the canyon. Mystery solved.

Here are some things to know before you visit Antelope Canyon:

  1. Make sure you book your tour in advance. You can do this online. I booked mine online and then paid for it the day of and it worked out wonderfully.
  2. Videos are not allowed inside the canyon. I didn’t ask why. I took my GoPro into the canyon with me but I even had to show the guide that it was in picture mode.
  3. Be polite and everyone else will be polite to you too. People will walk slowly and they will stop to take pictures every few steps. Let them. Get out of their shots. They’ll get out of your way when you find a picture perfect spot too.
  4. If you get a Diné tour guide, make sure you don’t call them Navajo. Leave a nice tip.
  5. Don’t forget to be amazed.
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This is what the canyon looks like from above

TWV – Traveling While Vegan

My friend said something surprising to me the other day when we were talking in the car. He was telling me about the trips he’d been on before he went vegan when he said “I’m kinda scared to travel out of the country now that I’m vegan.”

This is something I’ve never given much thought to. I grew up in Texas and studied at a hyper conservative university where veganism was shunned. I never leave the house without enough food to keep me going at least until the next day. Maybe this is something he has never had to deal with- being prepared. So let’s address the concerns people have about being vegan and going abroad.

 

#1. There will be nothing for me to eat. I will starve.

There is always something to eat. You might have to do a little bit of searching, but you will find something and it will be delicious. Veganism is on the rise, and vegan restaurants are popping up all over the world. Everywhere I’ve been in the last two years has had multiple vegan restaurants. Check out Yelp, TripAdvisor, and HappyCow for recommendations before your trip and always travel prepared. Before I go abroad, I always stock up on vegan protein bars. Take the number of days that you’ll be out of the house and multiply by two- this is the number of bars I usually take for myself. If all else fails and I simply cannot find any vegan food, I can survive a pretty long time on just the food I brought along. If you happen to be staying somewhere where you have access to a kitchen, hit up the nearest convenience store and buy yourself something to cook: grains, fresh vegetables, beans- these staples can be found anywhere.

 

#2. They won’t know what vegan means and I’ll end up eating animal products accidentally.

This is a totally understandable concern. As a vegan, one of the worst things is accidentally consuming something that came from an animal. Last year I accidentally ate something that had milk fat in it and I felt horribly ashamed for weeks, even though it had been unintentional. So what should you do if you go somewhere and nobody understands what you mean when you say vegan? Learn how to describe it and then start lying about food allergies. Maybe the word “vegan” doesn’t ring a bell, so you’ll have to explain “I don’t eat any kinds of animal meats and I don’t eat cheese or milk or eggs or butter…etc.” Brush up on some key words in whatever the language is of the place you’re going and do your best to list everything you cannot eat. When all else fails, tell everyone you are lactose intolerant and allergic to eggs and pork.

 

#3. I’m traveling with other people who aren’t vegan and they won’t cater to my needs.

Those are some crappy traveling buddies. Leave them and never travel with them again. Seriously.

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An accurate representation of me, a vegan, traveling. The bag is filled with food.

I have had amazing vegan food all over the world. Stay tuned for some reviews in upcoming posts, filled with delicious mouth-watering food pictures. Every time I’ve taken organized tours, the guides have been wonderful at providing snacks I could eat and finding restaurants for the group that included veggie options as well. Be nice to people, know how to explain your diet, always be prepared with extra food on hand, make sure you have a kitchen in your hotel/Airbnb/hostel, and do your research ahead of time on local vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants. Everything will be okay.

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Here’s me, in Turkey, proudly displaying the biggest zucchini I’ve ever seen.

Jet Lag – The Travel Hangover

The human body is an insanely intricate, amazing machine. Our bodies simultaneously do a million things in order to keep us alive and functioning normally. When something happens to disrupt that normalcy, our bodies tend to get a little confused.

Right now it’s 9:48 pm and I’m not too tired but I can already feel my body winding down. In about an hour and a half, I will be fighting to keep my eyelids open. In Sydney, it is 2:48 pm tomorrow. In Athens, it is 5:48 am tomorrow. It weirds me out when I think about how all over the world we are experiencing time differently.

Our bodies are trained to recognize patterns and routines. We are active during the daytime and inactive during the nighttime. This is called the circadian rhythm, which the National Sleep Foundation defines as the “24-hour clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.” Your body sets its circadian rhythm based on patterns in your behaviors (for example- always eating at the same time, always going to sleep at the same time), and it also processes stimuli from the outside (for example- light versus dark/ day versus night). When we travel to faraway places with extreme time differences from where we started, our circadian rhythms suddenly don’t match up with the day/night cycle anymore and we feel jet lagged.

Have you ever been jet lagged? If not, you’re lucky. Most people compare it to being hungover. I think it’s a pretty accurate comparison, but maybe with a little less nausea.

Every travel junkie has their own technique to get over the jet lag quicker. Some people recommend sleeping aids, like melatonin. Some people start trying to gradually switch their sleep schedules days before their trip. Some people opt for sleep deprivation instead. There’s also some much weirder strategies I’ve read about on the internet that I won’t mention here for lack of evidence that it works, but the placebo effect might just be strong enough that anything you do might work.

Here’s what I do to avoid the jet lag:

  • Drink a lot of water. This helps you avoid the headaches.
  • Nap. A lot. If you’re fighting off a 15 hour time change, it would not be wise to sleep a full 7-8 hour during the middle of the day, but it’s also not ideal to be fighting off immense sleepiness all day long either. Take power naps and it will get you through the day and then you’ll sleep like a baby when it’s actually nighttime.
  • Sleep on the plane if it’s an overnight flight, at least a little. I have a hard time sleeping on planes because it’s so uncomfortable, but I can always get in an hour or two.
  • Try to follow through your bedtime routine as closely as you can when you are away from home. If you always drink tea an hour before bed, continue to do so when you’re traveling. Following the routine lets your body recognize that it is time to sleep and puts your circadian rhythm in check faster.
  • Put the electronics away. Bright screens in dark rooms keep your mind active and prevent you from falling asleep sooner.
  • Relax. Do yoga. Meditate.
  • As a last resort, I listen to the Sleep With Me podcast. It has put me to sleep every single time I’ve tried to listen to it. I use it constantly. No more unintentional all nighters.

 

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Sunrise over Brazil

Embracing the “Off-Season”

Winter has just started and I often find myself super cold, wrapped up in a blanket burrito on the couch, daydreaming about the beach. South America is probably nice and warm right now. Before you impulsively book your escape from winter, remember that everyone else is probably doing the same thing and the locals are all there as well, enjoying their nice weather.

Lately I’ve been going against the flow and it has really been paying off. When you travel somewhere during the off-season, chances are that you will spend way less money and get to do way more things. It’s a win-win, right? The only bothersome thing is you might have to still be cold (or wet- if the off-season is the rainy season). Take an extra jacket and a poncho and you’re all set!

I just got back from an off-season solo trip to Barcelona. My flight was not even half as expensive as it usually is, I was able to book an Airbnb in the middle of the city for a lower price than normal, the tours I took were not crowded at all, and I never waited in line for anything. And you know what- Barcelona is not even that cold in the winter. I’m colder at home.

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Pyrenees Mountains – Still just as beautiful in the cold

 

6 Life Lessons Learned From Traveling Alone

Whenever I announce my trips to family or friends, usually their response is “When are you going?” followed closely by “Who are you going with?” I am going with myself, thank you very much.

Nowadays there are lots of solo travelers; it’s not really that hard to find someone traveling alone. So why do my solo adventures still elicit this confusing reaction? People have told me that I’m brave for having the courage to go places by myself. Others have said that I’m stupid and just asking to be robbed, or worse, when I travel alone. Which is it? Am I brave, stupid, or something else entirely?

Here’s the truth: Solo travel isn’t for everyone. If you genuinely don’t know how to be by yourself when you aren’t traveling, then yeah you probably shouldn’t travel by yourself. But does it take a brave person to set out on a solo adventure? – No. Does it take a stupid person to risk going somewhere alone? – No. All it takes is someone who is willing to explore on their own terms, who doesn’t depend on others to have a good time, and who honestly doesn’t want to wait around for other people’s vacation times to sync up with their own.

Solo travel changes the way you do life. Here’s six life lessons I learned since I started traveling by myself.

1. Traveling alone is way less stressful than traveling with anybody else. 

When things go wrong on a solo trip, you have to step up and fix things yourself. No one is there for you to blame or argue with. Eventually, you realize that stressing out won’t help you fix anything, so you get past it and move on.

2. Decisions are much simpler when there’s only one vote.

This one is a no-brainer, right? You want to eat at a gluten-free, all vegan, kosher, zero waste café on top of a mountain during a snowstorm? Go for it.

3. You are the best photographer you will ever know.

And your selfie game will reach new levels of awesome after a few solo excursions.

4. Just because you travel alone, it doesn’t mean that you’re lonely.

At this point I’ve met plenty of other solo travelers all over the world. None of them were sad. How can you be sad when you are actively exploring and doing something that is purely for yourself? Lonely people don’t choose to travel, they join book clubs and sit at home. (No offense to book clubs; I love book clubs).

5. You meet more people when you’re by yourself.

Being alone forces you out of your comfort zone sometimes and you have to interact more with strangers. You got lost and your phone died? Now you have to talk to people in the streets. You booked a tour with twenty other people that you now have to spend all day with? Great, they’ll all be your friends. Not to mention when solo travelers meet other solo travelers- you’ll know more about each other in five minutes than you know about that person you went on eight dates with last year.

6. There are no regrets on solo trips.

This is the best lesson learned. When you travel by yourself, you do all of the things that you wanted to do and none of the things that you didn’t want to do.