I’m no stranger to European travel. I’ve lived in Latvia, Poland, and England (in addition to Canada) and travelled through many other countries besides. But never by myself. I’ve always had a family member with me (a parent, sibling, or cousin) and most of the planning was done by them.
I’m also no stranger to adventures, though most of them are in BC, the city, my neighbourhood, or in my own head.
Now it’s time to take the plunge and have my own big adventure in a faraway place. Ladies and gentleman, for the month of October, NiftyNotCool will be coming to you from Portugal and Spain. And I will be ALL BY MYSELF.
(Ironically, my Travelling Companion, TC, will be unable to accompany me on this journey. Such is the life of a freelancer.)
My mom and I were talking on the phone the other day about my preparations for my upcoming big adventure. My mom said, “Are you getting excited or are you just scared?” I said, “I’m scared.” And I am.
I’ve bought all sorts of gear for the trip (expensive travel backpack, Lonely Planets, etc.), likely a few things I don’t need, and I think somehow I feel comforted by having done this. As in, look at me. I’m ready for this. Look at my Money Belt. Look at my Not-too-heavy Jacket That Will Keep Out The Wind. Look at my Quick Drying Underpants For Easy On The Go Laundering. I’m capital “P” Prepared. I even remembered to get my tetanus booster.
But in actual fact I am capital “P” Petrified. When I see myself in my Keep Out The Wind Jacket and my Walking Sandals and my Hat With A Brim I see an impostor. “Hey there Girl With a Hat,” I think, “what makes YOU think you’re ready for this? Who are YOU to presume you can be an adventurer and go on a caper all by yourself?”
Portugal will be lovely. Spain will be beautiful. I will meet people in hostels, drink port (that’s the plan, anyways), immerse myself in Moorish architecture and natural wonders, take trains, and look at art. I will visit places whose names whisper like a sand-worn dream: Porto, Faro, Seville, Granada. I will probably get mixed up somewhere along the line, or lost, freak out, and wonder why I possibly thought I could do this.
And that’s why I’m going. Less than 24 hours now. I’m ready. I’m prepared. I can do this. Even if I have to stroke my expensive backpack and Quick Drying Underpants for assurance.