Solo Traveling Thoughts IN Lisbon

21 March 2015 Lisbon, Portugal

Solo female traveling in lisbon portugal

*Pops a champagne bottle!*

Striking of number 1 which was to travel alone to a country where english isn't their first language. If you don't already know, I lived in Paris for 3 months during my summer internship, but since I had a house, and 3G, and had to work almost everyday, I didn't really consider myself as a tourist. It was more of like a part tourist part inhabitant kind of deal. Traveling to Portugal alone for 4 days was my way of experiencing what it is like to be on the get go alone, navigating from place to place (I really suck with directions! But I think I'm getting better?), and experiencing a foreign place by myself! Also, it was a prelude to a probably longer solo-trip i'll be taking during the spring. 2015, is indeed a year for me to just go for it, live life to the fullest - with some restrictions, but y'know as full as I can!

When I travel alone within France and on some day trips around England, I realised I've developed the ability to talk to myself: See 3 Interesting Abilities You Gain When You Travel Alone. So I decided to put a little twist on this post, and take you through a conversation with myself on the first day of my travel in Lisbon (I wrote the paragraph whilst in Lisbon, so pardon the raw-ness of it)!

colours of lisbon portugal streets

1. My gosh this is so exciting! I hope I have an awesome time!
2. Successfully made it to the hostel without getting lost *pats self on back*. I'm gonna conquer Lisbon! 

Lisbon architectureThe arch in lisbon

3. Oh how I've missed the sea, waters the sunshine!  *stares at buildings and sky and everything* This is Amaaazi-... F***!
4. Omg how did I trip on a step that is 1 cm in height. SHOULDN'T HAVE WORN MY ANKLE BOOTS. 

lisbon portugal river

6. Where on earth is the castle?! Ok let me walk the other way. oh!! Nice Graffiti! 
Graffiti and street art in lisbon portugalColours of the walls in lisbon portugallanscape and streets of lisbon

7. Love all colorful houses and patterned tiled walls. This old town is not that touristy but cool!!
8. There is nobody here.. Maybe I should attempt to take an outfit photo!

outfit and colourful houses in lisbon
outfit of the day in lisbon
striped top and denim jeans outfit in lisbon
Striped Top - H&M / Jeans - Primark / Shoes - Ecco / Coat -
7. But really.. How do on earth do I get myself to the castle. Stupid map you're not leading me the right way. 
8. Where are the stairs to the castle? There should be a staircase here!
9. Urgh!! Shit where am I...Oh my gosh!!!! Who cares where I am! THIS VIEW. THIS IS INCREDIBLE. Getting lost isn't that bad after all!

landscape view of lisbon
panoramic view of lisbonview of the sea from above in lisbon

10. So much feels! Lemme try and sneakily get the singing old man into the shot!
11. Watching as the sun sets is amaaaazingggg!!

lisbon aerial view
view of lisbon from the top

12. My feet hurt. I feel like I should just take a tram or a bus. But I don't even know where to head. Oh man, this is the result of "Just go and wing it"!
13. Where is the castle...Should i give up finding the castle?

public transport in lisbon

14. Wait. Wait. I've walked by this place haven't I? Oh no I haven't..
Wish Jerald was here to help me navigate. I'm taking far to long to get to one destination.
Where is the damn castle entrance?! Why does this road go down. The castle is up there!

structures in lisbon
streets and walkways of lisbon

15. OH MORE PRETTY GRAFFITI!! I love such things! Hmm..This route looks nice. You know what, I'm going to walk down and see where I end up! 
16. What is this sorcery. Why am I suddenly so near my hostel. Oh forget it. C'est la vie. Let me explore the area of Rossio then!

Rossio square lisbon
rossio square fountain

17. -Got approached by a student making a video and he asked me for some help, and how he hasn't been able to get to interview tourists for his video- Poor guy, nobody seems to be helping him. I shall be nice and be one of his Interviewees. After answering some questions on video, we started talking and he said I was "crazy to be traveling alone" until I told him I was actually 21. And then he suggested a couple of places for me to visit in Lisbon. 

market in rossio square lisbon portugal

18. Definitely have to go to Belem tomorrow (the guy said it was beautiful!)
19. I'm hungry... Oooh egg tarts! 
20. It tastes like there is coconut... Hmmm.. Are these egg tarts?? 

bakery in lisbon

21. The night scene is so chill, and relaxed, people just walking around, enjoying dinner.
22. There are a couple of weird people hanging around this street... Should I walk through it? The other street looks scarier... K Just do it. Please nobody talk to me.

street band in chiado lisbonelevador castelo lisbon chiado portugal

24. Why am I so hungry?! When was the last time I ate? Omg I NEED DINNER. 
25. Back to hostel.

That night, I had a lovely meal at Home Lisbon Hostel, which was cooked by a wonderful Portuguese grandmother (who, by the way, speaks 4 languages fluently and switches between them with EASE -it put me to shame). The hostel was a family run business and it was just the perfect ending to my night. For 10Euros, I got a 3 course meal, free flow of drinks - red wine/white wine/sangria you name it, and to end of the meal, everyone in the dining hall would toast with a shot. I met so many other solo female travellers and I was so surprised at how extremely common it is for solo-female traveling, and just intrigued by their stories and life experiences.

I think traveling alone can sometimes be a little intimidating for girls, especially Asians like myself, who have grown up in a decent, safe, and relatively sheltered environment like Singapore. My mum wasn't very agreeable when i first told her, but I has already booked my tickets before telling her, and she was cool about everything, so she just said "Stay safe, I'll pray for you!" An asian girl I met had to write a long letter to her father explaining her reasons for traveling alone before she was granted the permission to. However, I think it is important to take the leap of faith, and just go for it. Sure safety is always something to be worried about, but if you plan your trip well, and do sufficient research before hand, practice safe traveling habits (and pray!), everything will typically go smoothly, and you'll learn so much from the trip.
Traveling anywhere alone is such an eye opener be it for a day or a month. Not only do you get the freedom to plan your own schedule and do what you want, you are able to grow in terms of confidence, you become truly independent, and you learn how to be resourceful! Living alone, traveling alone, doing anything alone, gets you out of your comfort zone. For the first half a day, or first few moments going around alone, you'll think "CRAP, what did I just get myself into!" But after that initial mild panic, you start to enjoy every little bit of the journey. And it is nice to put yourself in a foreign environment and appreciate the culture, see how you deal with being by yourself, and who you meet along the way. It is an experience I highly recommend for everyone!

After spending 4 days traveling alone in Portugal, I'm now excited for my next solo trip to Scandinavia.
10 days of Scandinavian air! Wish me luck ;)

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