Seven Years After Solo Travel

An account of what happens seven years after solo travel. The good, the bad and the truth.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for,” the ticket agent said to me before we hung up the phone on that winter night in Atlanta in 2010.

Pure joy shot through my veins after we disconnected. Sitting in my apartment in the 100-year-old house, listening to the cars pass my house on their way home from work in the bustling city, there was more excitement pumping through me than I’ve ever felt before.

I’m going to travel the world. Solo. 

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What is Home?

What is home to you?Home, by definition, is the “place where one lives.”

As a former corporate-world-woman, long-term traveler, and now a serial expat, home has been many places and continues to morph into new and different places where I wake up.

It was where I grew up, with my family, in the middle-class suburbs of Washington, DC. It was where I spent three semesters trying to fit in and find myself in Bowling Green, Ohio. It was three years in Towson where I finished my degree and then didn’t leave because I was in an emotionally abusive — and addictive — relationship. It was Las Vegas, where I spent the bulk of my mid- and late-20s. Then, it was Atlanta, where I attempted to have a more normal (and less glitzy) existence for a year.

After that, is was the road. Hostels, hotels, trains, airports, were my home as I navigated the world doing some solo female travel. When I returned to the States, home was again (albeit briefly) with my parents, and then back to Vegas.

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The Night of 10,000 Candles: Inside Pedraza’s La Noche de las Velas

A look at the Night of 10,000 Candles in Pedraza, Spain, also known as La Noche de las Velas
The Spanish countryside unfolds before me, vibrant greens, golden hills and that blue twilight sky that forever sears itself into memory.

Holding a glass of chilled white wine in my hand, I lean against the ancient stone wall of Pedraza, taking it all in.

It’s July 4th, Independence Day. Only, I’m thousands of miles from the fireworks.

However, the walled medieval city of Pedraza has its own fire on this sultry summer evening.

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The Best Place to Watch the Sunset in Madrid

Looking for the best place to watch the sunset in Madrid? Try the Temple of Debod:
Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year, in terms of sunlight, and also the first day of summer. I’ve never celebrated it before, because, really, it’s just never been important to me. But, I wake up Sunday morning and feel empty. It’s one of the side effects of starting a new life and just getting going. It’s an uphill battle to feel acclimated, and one I’m really not used to climbing.

I just need to do something for me.

For the past month, I have been overwhelmed. Filled with stress over acquiring my student visa for Spain, importing my cats from Thailand, feeling utterly lost and a myriad of other things. I’ve been hauled up in my flat, motionless as I try to sort out who I am, where I am and what the hell I am doing with my life.

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Daily Wanderlust: Alhambra, Granada

Somewhere between the sweet hookah smell drifting through the market and the quaint streets, I fell in love with the magical Andalusian town of Granada.

In the rain, my friend and I hike up the hill to explore the historic remains of the Alhambra. Originally constructed as a fortress in 889 and rebuilt in the 11th century, today it is easy to get lost in the touches that make it feel like time has been left to a standstill here.

Courtyards overflowing with flowers, tiny pathways leading visitors to spectacular views and buildings that have withstood the spinning of the world. It’s breathtaking and overwhelming at the same time. And, most definitely, absolutely gorgeous.

The majestic Alhambra in Granada, Spain



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Daily Wanderlust: Tio Pepe in Madrid

One of the first sights after emerging from the Madrid Metro into the heart of the city is the Tio Pepe sign in Puerta del Sol. Perched atop the city’s City Hall, the famous sign has stood since 1936.

Sadly, this past summer the historic sign was taken down to make way for a new Apple store in Madrid.

I’m so glad I was able to spend time in one of my favorite cities (and one I would be happy to call “home“) in the world and was able to see the larger-than-life Tio Pepe before it was removed.

Tio Pepe


Escape of the Week: La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by travel blogger Nic Freeman.

Strolling through the bustling La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona is a bit like falling down a Spanish rabbit hole into a vibrant, food-filled wonderland: once there, your senses become saturated and you are led on a journey of delights, adventures, bizarre encounters and cultural quirks.

La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

Also known as Mercat St Josep and The Boqueria Market, this produce-laden labyrinth is tucked just off Barcelona’s vibrant pedestrian vein, La Ramblas, offering an insight to the joys of Catalan food, language and culture. With roots dating back to the Middle Ages, La Boqueria has a long history of local trade and quality produce that has contributed to the dynamic, interactive and award-winning market that attracts local food experts, Barcelona residents and tourists today.

Meat for sale at  La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

Meat for sale at La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

As you weave along the tightly packed isles you’ll find bright, freshly-cut fruits buried in ice and legs of pork dangling overhead.

 Chocolate delights at La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

Chocolate delights at La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

You’ll see wheels of cheese stacked tall, and piles of chocolates, sweets and nutty nougat concoctions that bring out the child in everyone.

Fish vendors at  La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

Fish vendors at La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

There are rows of fish vendors touting their sales with fluid Catalan tongues, and crooked little nannas pulling produce-stacked trolleys through the thick crowd.

Fresh produce at La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

Fresh produce at La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona

I was so delighted with this market that I found myself drawn back three times over the three days I was in Barcelona, seeking out morning coffee, picnic supplies and a evening snack before the late 10pm Spanish dinner sitting.

Getting there:

La Boqueria is part way along La Ramblas in central Barcelona and an easy walking distance from the metro hub, Catalunya. Starting from Catalunya, just walk down La Ramblas, past the tourist stalls, florists and street performers, towards the Barceloneta seaside (by graeter). Mid way along La Ramblas, you will see the entrance arch to the undercover market on your right side.

The market is live and ready for you to visit between Monday and Saturday, from 8am to 8.30pm. It makes a great first stop along the Barcelona tourist trail, with espresso and vino for €1.10, picnic and sightseeing-appropriate snacks and plenty of opportunities to practice your Spanish pleases and thank you.

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