I chose to take a chance on myself once more — and I’m so glad that I did.
I used to be someone that couldn’t walk to their locker by themselves in primary school. In high school, if I was meeting someone, I sat in my car until they arrived. Even in college, I looked for a friend for every activity from gym classes to the library.
I was never good at doing things alone. I always knew this about myself but I chose to embrace it rather than cower over it. It made me who I was.
I used to consider myself a shy person, the type of person that will look down if you’re trying to make eye contact in the hallway and avoids confrontation at all cost. The type of person that’s hard to get to know until I let you — but once I do, I’m happy to let all of my walls down.
I always thought of myself as inhibited and reserved but somewhere along the line, I grew out of it. I wasn’t as afraid of my own company as I used to be. I found that I had more confidence and was brave enough to take the world on my own.
This year I traveled alone for the first time. I was going to Europe with my family and I opted for a two-day solo trip to Lisbon, Portugal on my way back to the States.
The first thing I did when I arrived in Portugal shocked me: I took the bus. I didn’t take a cab like I did in New York City, where I was afraid of the subways. I decided to save the 15 Euro for something better and took my chances. I found my way to my first hostel experience that morning, safe and sound.
MM’s dream travel destinations for 2016:
I made friends just one hour after checking in. I was intrigued by the idea of a hostel and thankfully, it nothing like the horror movie of the same name. I quickly got myself together to start my adventure. I wandered without a map until while watching the Portuguese navy set up from the Praca do Comercio.
It was that afternoon that I ate alone at a real restaurant for the first time. I chose it because it had WiFi, but the Wi-Fi didn’t work.
So instead, I enjoyed my food slowly and killed a mini bottle of wine myself. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I patted myself on the back as I left wander into the hills of Alfama, sans map. (I later learned that everything was a straight shot from my hostel but I felt lost and that was the important part.)