Solo Travel: Why I Love Going Solo

Over the last year and a half, I have become very fond of solo travel. I have been on many solo trips to Paris, London, Munich, Vienna, Italy (Rome, Florence, Naples, Scotland, and more. As female solo traveler, I find power and freedom in going to places by myself. It is a rewarding feeling to know that I planned and put a holiday together by myself. This gives me confidence in believing that I can do anything in life that I want to accomplish.  Solo traveling makes me a stronger human.

I love going on trips by myself because I can promote more personal growth. Plus, allow myself to discover the world without other people affection my views on life. During my holidays, I don’t feel alone on my trips ever.  Because no matter where I have gone by myself, I have always met many people on my trips. When traveling by yourself, you are never truly alone. Some way you meet other fellow travellers on the road.

Safety is very important to me. When traveling alone, I always put my safety and well being at the top of my list. It’s all about using common sense. Bottom line is don’t leave your common sense  at home. I don’t put myself in unsafe situations. I take care of myself because I can on depend on myself while I am traveling by myself.

I love how I can focus on what I want to spend my time on in a city. If I want to go slow, I can take my time and enjoy what I want to see. There are times that I want to move fast and have an action packed day. When I was in Paris, during the November 2015 attacks, I had one day see what I could in Paris. I got up early and went out to see the major attractions of Paris. Plus, I saw the Eiffel Tower twice in that day. It was amazing. I hope to go back to Paris next spring, so I give the city of lights a proper chance. I enjoy creating the pace of how I will move and see things during my holiday.

I am hoping to spend another year in Spain and then move to Korea. I am running out on places to see in Europe. Don’t get me wrong I love Europe and living here. However, I want to see other parts of the world and allow myself time to see new cultures and learn a new language.  While I am in Korea, I want to go to Japan, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and more a few other places.  For places like India, China, and Thailand I will go on a group tour so I can be safe.  I want to experience life, be happy, and travel.

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Update 19/2/16

At the start of February, I went on a weekend trip to Romania and Transylvanian. Other than traveling, I have started walking 3-4 times a week with a friend. My back is doing a lot better compared to a year ago, but three weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my back and was home for over a week. I was nervous about my back causing me to go back to my back doctor. All that matters is that I can go to work, walk, and live a normal life.

On the 15th, I got news that I had been waitlisted for a master’s programme in Madrid. I am hoping to be back in Madrid next school year. I am having to wait till May to find out if I will be in Galicia or Madrid. So nerve wrecking at times because I want to know where I will call home next school year. I want to stay in Madrid. I recently booked everything for Semana Santa. I plan to visit Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Prague, and Poland during the break. I still need to plan a trip for the long weekend at the end of April. Also, I planned a weekend trip to Barcelona. I am looking forward to experiencing Barcelona in the late spring. This is everything going on in my world. I can’t believe March will be here soon. I only have 4 months left till I fly home for the summer. Time is flying by too fast here.

Update: Start of 2016

I had an amazing holiday during my two and half week winter break. I went to Munich, Vienna, Naples, Florence, Rome, and Vatican. The beer and classical music was enjoyable in Germany and Austria. In Italy, I enjoyed fine art, history, and Italian food. After my holiday ended, I had to return Madrid and work. The first week back from holiday I had to start applying to teaching programmes for next school year. I will hopeful be back in Madrid for another school year. I will have a better idea of where I will be in April/May. At the start of February, I will be going to Romania and spending time in Bucharest and Transylvania. Other than trying to figure out next year’s plans and traveling, I am trying to come up with my travel plans for the rest of the school year, planning my summer, and studying for the GRE. 10374943_10153530299689024_6683189955234436784_n

Travels for the Spring: I am thinking about going to Berlin, Budapest, Poland, and Prague for my long spring holiday. Then, one more major trip out of Spain to possibly Amsterdam or Oporto. In May, I will have friends visiting Spain and will more than likely go back up to Barcelona for a 3 day weekend. =)

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Summer Plans: This year I will be staying in Madrid till the end of June. Then, I plan to return home to Texas for a couple of months. I hope to go out to California and Washington State during July. Go visit family all over the place and just enjoy being home. I am looking forward to getting my favourite coffee, Tex-Mex, and other amazing things I can only find in Texas. Then, return to Spain in September for another school year.

2016: Making the Impossible Happen

There are about 18 days left of 2015 and it’s time for me to start thinking about what I want accomplish and do in the coming new year. In the new year, I want to apply to some doctoral programmes back in the U.S. I want to specialise in international education. Also,  I need to take the GRE this coming year. Most applications are due in early December of 2016.  Applying to doctoral programmes is the biggest item on the docket for 2016. As long as I apply myself, I can accomplish this goal without any issue.

In 2016, I want finish my travel list for Europe. I am applying to some different auxiliary programmes, so I can continue to stay in Madrid for another year or two.  This year I will be turning 30rd years old and I really don’t have anything special planned for this milestone birthday. I believe if I get into a doctoral programme, travel and live in Europe, and just live a happy life. I think I am doing well for someone being 30rd years old.

My travel list for 2016:

  • Scandinavia: Copenhagen Denmark, Stockholm Sweden, and Oslo Norway,
  • Morocco
  • Italy: Milan and Venice
  • Spain: Canary Islands
  • Multi Country: Istanbul Turkey and Athens Greece
  • Multi Country: Amsterdam Netherlands  and Brussels Belgium

 

Tentative Plan for the Next Year

I am planning to stay in Madrid, Spain, for one more year. During this last year in Spain, my focus will be on seeing the last places on my Europe travel list and applying to different doctoral programmes in the U.S.A. and the U.K. I would like to specialise in International Education.  There are three schools I am interested in applying to.

  1. New York University 
  2. University of Sussex 
  3. Boston College 

I hope to start the application process next fall for the 2017-2018 school year. I am still about a year away from applying. At the moment, I am reviewing for the GRE and plan to take the exam during summer holiday. After I get my GRE scores, I can start focusing on applying for the doctoral programmes.

During my last year in Madrid, I hope to get accepted into a master’s programme through the Universidad de Alcalá. I want to apply to the International Education Programme. I believe this programme would look great on my CV and give me more experience teaching and living overseas.  I would still have health insurance and a monthly pay check. The programme is only a year long. Plus, I would have to work on a thesis to graduate. I believe I could use the thesis as foundation work for my dissertation in my doctoral programme. I think this is a great plan. I want to start working on applying to the Universidad de Alcalá this coming week. Wish me luck!

Visiting Paris During the Terrorist Act

 

On Friday the 13th of November, Paris was attacked by a group of terrorists in the 10th and 11th districts. Before the attacks happened, I was finishing dinner with my tour group. I was 10 minutes walking distance from the restaurants, cafes, and bars where the shootings and bombings took place. I am still in shock about how close I was to the events. This event was a wake up call for me about life and death. This was the first time in my life that I had experienced a close call with death. I could have been caught on the street walking back to my accommodations and shot dead. Thankfully, I took the underground back to my hotel. At the moment, I am still coming to terms with the possible fact that I could have been killed in Paris. This fact still sends chills down my spine. I am thankful I wasn’t killed, but it is still tragic that there were victims from this awful crime against humanity.

I pray ISIS is destroyed, but I do realize another group will come into power. I wish bombings and shooting were not in this world. It’s awful to do such acts against your fellow man. Even though there’s negativity in the world like ISIS, there is still beauty and good in this world. It was amazing to hear and see how citizens of Paris were allowing strangers into their houses and cab drivers were offering free rides home to people. It’s amazing to see the world support France during her time of need. I am sad how this event was highlighted and how other events like this have not been brought to the attention of the world. Events like this are happening in many places around the world that the media chooses not to cover. The world needs to join forces to wipe out this evil and make the world a better place for all of mankind.

I know this event has made some Americans nervous about traveling to France, Europe, and anywhere else. This kind of event could take place in my hometown of Austin, Texas, or anywhere else in the world. This event has not changed my views on traveling and living overseas. Life and bad things happen, but we have to keep on living. I am not trying to sound cold when I say this, but I am trying to make the statement that life moves on and we mustn’t be stuck in the past. Life is meant for living in the present and not in the past. I will continue to work and live in Madrid, Spain, and travel throughout Europe because this is my dream. Nobody is going to keep me from achieving my dreams.

I pray for a better tomorrow where there are no acts of terrorism.

Going for the Big Enchilada (Doctoral Degree)

After much debate, with myself, I am determined to get my doctoral degree in International Education. I have become very fond of NYU’s International Education programme. The programme is fully funded.  That means less student loan debt for me to pay off and at the same time I would be learning how to be a good researcher and educator in the field of international education. Also, there are other benefits to attending NYU for this programme:

  1. tuition remission
  2. conference travel support
  3. a $30,000 stipend during each academic year of the award
  4. Health Benefits

With these benefits, I could attend school without stressing over income to support myself, health insurance coverage, or paying the expensive tuition to attend school. This programme is what I have been looking for a long time. I believe NYU would be a great place for me to attend and get my doctoral degree. I would be living in NYC for few years and get to experience life there. I think NYC is closely related to some major European cities in the aspects of city life, metro system, and the size of the place. Plus, I would be close to major airports for travel, there would be diversity, different cultures, and fine arts.  All of which, I am very fond of at this time in my life.

I believe getting a doctoral degree would be ultimate goal to meet. I have been debating this for the last five years about getting this degree, but I constantly have been questioning my intelligences, if I was worthy of going to school for high degree, and money.  This school to me is a great fit. Over the next two years, I will need to start getting ready for this new chapter. I currently call Madrid, Spain, home and plan to spend two more years living there, teaching ESL, and traveling around Europe. During the coming school year, I need to start reviewing for the GRE.  Then, I can take the exam next summer back home in Texas. I will submit exam scores and other material  to NYU’s admissions for this programme by the of fall 2016. I hope that I can move from Spain to NYC in the late summer of 2017. I hope this comes true.