Of course you get scared. Traveling alone walking through Barcelona's famous alleyways at night is enough to give me and my family a heart attack. However I was insistent on going to this jazz bar. Meeting and talking to strangers who probably want nothing more from me other than a green card is interesting. Especially when they ask, does your job pay good. Either way, fear aside traveling, alone is an adventure in itself. I can't tell you how to do it mostly because I don't know how. I didn't set aside a budget of how much to spend a day. I basically just set aside a paycheck. I don't have a list of monuments to go see. I pretty much just looked at a map and went. Or as I did in Paris, got off a train and walked.
Of course you want to tell your friends of the stories of how you visited some great temple but truth be told you probably won't remember it. What you will remember is he old lady digging up her butt before you got on the train. Or the many bikes in Amsterdam, Poland, and Brugge which almost ran you over. What I remember most is the horrible tapas food I had at this restaurant but the nice Pakistani man who took me for a drink in some alley who tried to get me to come back to his apartment. No Muhammad, I will not allow you to kiss me, is what I had to keep telling him on his 20 minute break. He told me infinite times that I was beautiful on the inside and the out. That my lips were gorgeous and so on. All this from being my waiter at the sucky restaurant he works at. Needless to say Muhammad as much as I needed to hear your wonderful words I will not be joining you at 0100 tonight for a night cap.
So my tips to traveling alone:
1. Bring a book when you travel, there is nothing like sitting at a restaurant with nothing to do. Especially if you are like me and can't quite gather the concept of people watching.
2. Bring a map: Even if you are clueless reading a map, it will help you to understand if you are a block over or a mile over from your destination.
3. Don't carry a book bag with you everywhere. Also, don't carry your passport, and major credit cards with you. Just ensure you have enough cash to get you through the day.
4. Prepare to be out all day. Meaning, if you leave at 9 in the morning, you will probably be out all day.
5. Invest in a city tour whether it be walking or city bus. It will give you a history of the city and will allow you to choose what places you want to see. This was key in Berlin. Berlin is full of history, Check Point Charlie, a grass patch over Hitler's Bunker, and the Berlin Wall, I would have never known all this stuff without the walking tour.
6. There is no such things as boundaries in Europe, or manners for that matter. They don't believe in personnel space, for the most part they don't use deodorant, and they are rude. So much to the fact that they will push you out the way. So pick your battles.
Random Musings after Watching Eat Love Pray?
Elizabeth Gilber is one of the best writers I have read. She is inspiring, if for nothing else, just being her. The movie, though it was great, did not do the book justice.
For the most part I have found myself, and started forgiving myself for my wrong doings in life. I am working on settling my thoughts, as well as getting closer to God. Somedays it seems as if I am on a verge of a breakthrough in life, pertaining to God and myself. Other days I seem farther and farther away from what my purpose is. Either way, I am trying. The hard part is letting go of the past while trying not to make past mistakes. However, I have come to realize that I am beautiful, even with short hair. And there is no need to limit myself to just black men. Mostly because all skin color is just a color. I find myself daily admiring men of all different ethnicities. I have been toying around with the idea of vegetarianism. Why do you ask. Well, I love meat. I love ham, and bacon, and hamburger. However, I am against killing some animals but not all. Isn't that a little hypocritcal. I think so. Therefore, I am justing going to give it up completely. Not for health reasons, but for moral reason. However, it will have to start tomorrow. Because what is Europe without meat. I am scared that I won't like vegetables, and peas and such, however, no better place to start than my deployment since the food is free.