When an email popped up in my Gmail account ‘9.99 flights from Barcelona’ I clicked on it immediately and booked a random 3 day trip to Porto for the month of April. Ironically enough, merely days before my impending mini holiday arrived.
I had to part ways with my current lover and accept the fact things were going nowhere.
There is no better way to mourn a future you will no longer have than to pack a backpack, leave all your beauty products at home, buy a fresh diary and immerse yourself in a new culture; a new city and a new language. Rocking a messy bun and no make up, eating and drinking your way through the streets, lapping up the kindness of strangers with no particular destination in mind.
That my friends; speeds up any healing process quick smart!
We are SO lucky to live in this lifetime. Thanks to apps like Tripadvisor, Airbnb, booking.com and Ryanair, I had absolutely no problem booking cheap flights, accommodation, and secret hotspots to live like a local (not a tourist). I had 5 days of exceptionally charming views, random train trips, unbelievable food at even more unbelievable prices and most importantly, a lot of valuable time with my own thoughts.
My first day was spent wondering the streets and getting my bearings,. I stumbled upon a cable car that looked over the beautiful picturesque city of Porto (9 euro for a round trip with a free wine tasting at the bottom). I researched some local lunch places with ‘Menu of the Day’ (Soup, A main, and a BIG ASS glass of wine for 5-6 euro) and took myself to one in the backstreets. The owners were so cheerful, playful and made me feel right at home. Afterwards I made my way to one of the beautiful parks and sat with my feelings, I let them take over me as I strolled through the gardens, tears welling up in my eyes. I stopped at a cute wine bar on the way home for a jug of port wine (0.5L for1.55) and wondered back to my Air Bnb DRUNK for a nap.
The next day I jumped on a train (3 euro) to the little Medieval town of Guimaraes. I found a charismatic yet tiny little restaurant that sits no more than 10 people down one of the side streets. I got a soup, an enormous plate of fish + potatoes, a mini jug of wine AND a chocolate mousse for 6 euro. Feeling satisfied I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering the streets with no particular destination in mind. I turned a corner and ran smack bang into a big beautiful castle covered in moss and vines. It took me over 20 minutes to stroll around it, grinning the entire way at the beauty of this city.
That evening I took myself to La Paris Bar with my laptop to work and drink wine. A Jazz band serenaded me in the corner and I’ll admit it…. I cried at the beautiful of it all.
The next day I flew back to Barcelona grinning ear to ear. Solo travel reconnects you with yourself and your purpose. It takes away the daily hustle and bustle of communication and helps shine a light on the things that truly matter to you.
I came to Porto with a broken heart and I left with a soul made of steel.
When you take away daily comforts like straighteners, make up and trendy clothes and wonder around with nothing but coconut oil and 2 euro thermals you remember that behind all the bullshit lies a queen, although a little broken, paranoid and extremely fragile. You are all in all, unstoppable. And no one can take that away from you x
About the Author - Katie Valentine - Travelling DJ, Dreamer and Storyteller
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