I find pure joy when I’m about to embark on an exciting bucket list adventure that scares the daylights out of me – travelling to a foreign country for one month. Alone. Not knowing the language.
It is shameful that I have reached the mature age of 72 without being able to speak a second language! Yes, I enrolled in classes in high school and fulfilled the language requirements in college, but could never converse beyond, Hello, my name is Tamera. How are you today?
So, I bit the bullet and enrolled in a four-week language program in Valencia, Spain.
Spain has been on my bucket list. Valencia should be heavenly in January (compared to New England). It is a walkable city. I can travel weekends to Barcelona – high on my bucket list – and Seville or wherever it is warm.
Room and board in the language schools is very affordable. During the winter, I have a good chance of meeting others my age since summers are for the young on school vacations. Low season means no lines for the museums and historical sites.
Theoretically, it is a perfect trip!
As my departure date gets closer, reality is nerve wracking.
Although I have travelled a great deal, it has usually been in an organized group. Fellow travellers. Comfort in numbers. Or within an English-speaking country where I can easily read signs and ask questions.
But never longer than two weeks.
I know all the rational arguments: many people will be able to speak English; locals will appreciate my efforts to speak their language. Map and travel guide in hand, I will be able to find my way. Millions of people have been travelling like this forever! I will learn.
It doesn’t make me any less anxious.
I am going to school in a beautiful, historic city – almost like going away to college. And my fears, 50+ years later, are almost the same as that summer before my freshman year.
Will I make new friends? Will I eat dinner alone every night? Will this trip be as magical as I want it to be?
I lasted only one semester when I went away to college. I was too lonely and too homesick. I did not make new friends. I went home and finished my studies while living with my folks. The next time I moved away was after I married and moved halfway across the country.
About 40 years later when I was divorced, I stayed in the same New England town with my friends and job. This trip to Spain is my second truly solo venture – the first in 50 years!
I need to make this trip. I need to prove some things to myself:
I can depend on myself. I am not too old to learn a language. Solo travel is exciting and comfortable. Dreams can come true at any age.
If I cancel the trip, I will be terribly disappointed in myself. I don’t want to live with that feeling. So, I will push forward. Camera and journal in hand to document my experience. Fully loaded Kindle for those times I need to be by myself. Hola, Spain!
What is your ultimate bucket list travel destination? What advice would you give me as I set out on my next big adventure? Have you ever been to Spain? Please join the conversation.
Tags Solo Travel
Planning my trip to Rome, Spain and Portugal.
Explore Spain to the fullest and be bold and brave.
WHERE ARE YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY?
Answer: I probably have _________ days left ! Let’s all get going !!! Do take this as a positive, a motivator and a reality check to ‘get up, get dressed & get out !!!’. GET BOOKING THOSE HOLIDAYS EVERYONE !!!
You’ll have a great time! I did french immersion in Nice, France with Apple Languages in a class of seniors; it was so much fun and I did improve my french. My ultimate bucket list is a round the world trip but, although I have travelled solo extensively, I’d like to do it as part of a small group guided tour (at 77 yrs of age and as the world seems more chaotic I no longer want to travel solo).
I am so very, very proud of you, I traveled solo (tour bus) and saw Switzerland, Austria, Germany and loved it. The adventures are worth the nerves.
Hola ! I admire your courage to have your exciting adventure! Spain is on my bucket list too and I haven’t gone only because I am tired of traveling alone . Your commitment to your freedom is awesome !