The exciting thing about traveling solo is the sense of adventure, but to have an adventure you have to have an element of unknown. The unknown means sometimes it’s amazing, and other times your day ends with you in a sweaty mess, tangled hair to the point where you want to cut it, and mascara down to your chin.
I just had seriously the worst day topped off with a total meltdown in the streets of Lisbon. You know, the general actions of a mature 28 year old. But! After spending two hysterical hours thinking I was going to sleep on the cobbled streets, I’m safe!
And this is my unbelievable hostel room:
I know – I just posted about how I’m flat broke. I booked this trip back in November, though. I brought 30 Euros for food for two days. It sounds like a stretch, but I get free breakfast and I can get market food to cook in the awesome kitchen. I can’t get over how insanely nice, cozy and friendly this hostel is. It’s small, and they describe it as a place to chill, not party. My private room cost me about $30 per night, tax and breakfast included.
-I had to go alone because my guy ended up not being able to come, which obviously was sad for us both.
-He booked the tickets, not knowing I legally changed my name from when I was married, so although my name in the UK, on my visa, at work, on Facebook is one thing, on my US passport it’s something else. This has happened before, twice (one time I forgot as well because I don’t use that name), but the airlines were cool and simply let me through because my visa is valid and it’s obviously me. EasyJet, however, is always looking to make a dime so they were rude to me to the point where it was comical, and it took me a full hour to get the name change for free. They wanted £200, when the original ticket cost only £60!
-In all the confusion the woman took all my papers, including my maps for the hostel, confirmations, etc. So I arrive in Lisbon with nothing and no wifi. Luckily I’d taken back up screenshots of maps, so I was able to get in the area but I quickly realized I was very lost. Both McDonalds and Starbucks didn’t have wifi I could successfully connect to, and at this point I started freaking out.
-Stupid me didn’t learn a word of Portuguese, because my travel bud was learning it for something else so I didn’t bother, then forgot to print off words and phrases. Totally my fault. I was at tears-in-my-chocolate-muffin point now, because no one spoke English, and no one could understand my maps.
-I turned into a walking waaaaambulance.
-I tried finding the place based off horrible directions, and wound up in deserted streets that were really scary so I ended up putting my iPhone in my bra. I always figure if you’re going to get mugged they’ll force you to empty your pockets and hand over your purse, but have you ever heard of someone saying, “Oi! And the bra too!”
-I freaking finally see a cab. I pull my iPhone out of my bra to show him the crappy screenshot map because he doesn’t speak English, but I’ve been hysterical and the weather is WAY warmer in Portugal, so it’s dripping in disgusting sweat. And I smell like a dude.
-He is unsure but drops me off on what street he thinks it is (a couple blocks) and only charges me the minimum. I give him more because he was kind, even though at the loss of more Euros I was thinking, “Well, there goes another sandwich.”
-Still couldn’t find it. At this point I was trying to decide who I could call back home that could help me with the address or visual clues. I finally find an older gentleman who speaks English, points to the right and says, “It’s behind that tiny car. There’s no sign.”
-I get here, and it’s even lovelier than the pictures. Super friendly and chilled, and I could not be more relieved.
Here’s to hoping the rest of the adventure won’t be scary!