Welcome to Part. II of “How I survived my impulsive solo adventure” (“No, your basic Spanish won’t help in Portugal”)
This series will detail my personal experiences while traveling solo in the hopes of encouraging my fellow solo travelers! I also want to explain the side effects of making impulsive decisions (when you rush into a trip without planning it right).
So, cheers to more careless mistakes I’ve made that snowballed into the best experience of my life!
Comfort zones are overrated
I really want to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone(s) and experience something or someplace new even if it’s just once…a year.
Even if the adventure doesn’t go exactly how you planned, the trip is still worth a shot; you don’t know what’s out there in the world until you get off your butt and see it for yourself!
Not everything (travel wise) will be perfect but, hey, it’s all about your perspective and you should be determined to take the good with the bad in any “fail” or “bust” as I’ve learned to do!
I’ve met so many people who are satisfied with where they are in life and who feel at ease dwelling in the same city blocks of their hometown.
I’ve always wondered about the people who are OK existing in a world where they’ve only traveled around >10% of it.
As if traveling somewhere new isn’t attainable or is so much of a farfetched idea (maybe this is just out of fear); I’m here to share that this big ole world is yours and it’s time to get out and explore it!
You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn about yourself when you’re in a brand new place.
American Privilege: Imagine That
Imagine: standing in long customs’ lines, being questioned about your history, whereabouts, and intentions in a country you are trying to enter then receiving the ultimate prize: entry across the border!
Imagine saying “I’m just traveling for fun!” and getting the response “oh, I see you’re on holiday.”
This was only the beginning of my experiences last week and I melted inside at every accent I encountered, every smile, and every frown!
If you’re American, like me, all of this may be a new experience for you, with your American privilege and all…you really don’t get how foreign you are until someone is pissed at you or impatient because you don’t know the language or if you take time to examine each coin before paying for your food.
Originally my trip to Lisbon was only supposed to be a fourteen hour layover but since I was no longer going to Africa I figured why waste the $50 ticket? Maybe I could still go to Portugal and experience a really cool day trip.
I was determined to see the best of Lisboa (in turn, this was also a bust but a beautiful learning experience nonetheless).
After spending two hours in the customs line and spending the next two getting drenched by the rain and trying to make it to Castelo de Muros just to get there and find everything shut down I was so disappointed and declared it another BUST!
I waited for a bus that never came, I walked up a steep hill-ed street to another bus stop just to find out I needed the bus going in the opposite direction, and it was just a bad experience.
Picture this: you’re wandering around in a country where YOU are the foreigner.
It may seem scary at first but the more you explore the more you see yourself in other people; humanity becomes more than just a word, it becomes a realization.
There are people on the of side of this world living their lives, and they’re so much like you but so different at the same time.
To all of the people (who love to make impulsive decisions as I do), I would first like to say learning everything possible about the places you want travel PRIOR to booking the flights is key. One thing I regret is not taking the time to learn Portuguese.
*Take time to learn the language (No your basic Spanish won’t help in Portugal) and trying to sound out places with your American accent will be frustrating.
“Este Rios” is NOT pronounced how it looks…I found that out the hard way.
PLEASE, I can’t stress enough, even if it’s just the basics, take the time to learn the official language of the places you’re traveling and don’t rely so much on a translator because most times they won’t work as they should…
This was a huge inconvenience for me in Portugal and one of the reasons it was my least favorite stop along my travels. I couldn’t understand anyone and they couldn’t understand me so it made traveling via their public transit system.
I fried my brain trying to decipher these maps but I pride myself in finally figuring them out…my mission was to get to Sinatra to see the Castle of the Moors, I needed to take the 427 bus from my location, get off at “Este Rios” catch a train to Sinatra and I’d be set.
By the time I got there everything was shutdown so I had to turn right back around and head back to my hostel.
The moon was absolutely beautiful at night and I came across this massive church that I admired for a bit.
Hostel Stay (Corujinha Hostel in Portugal)
To be honest the best part of this trip was the view of the moon and my hostel stay.
Being cheap once again, I decided that instead of spending a ton of hotels I would stay in hostels.
Why pay money for hotels that I would hardly spend any time? Also, Air BNB got a bit pricey and all required prepayments!
I did so much research on hostels and read hundreds of reviews (thank you Trip Advisor, Booking.com & Reddit).
I went to college so the idea of sharing a room with a stranger didn’t scare me at all.
I stayed at the Corujinha Hostel in Portugal and I give them ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ five stars. It was extremely clean, had an awesome common room full of musical instruments and TVs! Very homely compared to so of the other hostels I encountered (I’ll do a separate blog post rating the others so stay tuned).
I’ll see you next time!
I will most likely give myself five years to learn Portuguese and go back five years after that but I WILL go back not let this experience be the only memories I make in Lisbon.
For more on my impulsive solo adventures, and to see what other countries I actually ended up in after this second FAIL, continue on in this series!
I PROMISE IT ISN’T ALL BAD PLANNING & FAILS! IT ONLY GETS BETTER FROM HERE!!!!!!!!
Click here to visit Part III of “Four countries in one week: How I survived my impulsive solo adventures”