Time Well Spent

I thought that while traveling I’d have so much to say that this blog would be jam-packed with posts and photos and whatnot.

But here I am, away from home, surrounded by novelty, and coming up blank when it’s time to write. So I set the timer and made myself sit down and go.

Stuck. When I’m stuck in one place, physically, my mind races about, and writing soothes it. But here, my body is racing about. No, just walking about. And my mind is so entertained it’s kind of sleeping, in a way. Math is harder. I spend hours and hours without making a bit of sound. Perhaps I’m just more on the right side of my brain, taking in all the visual input.

Despite my studies of the language, I really can’t understand most of what people are saying. And many of the people I’ve been near speak other languages – mostly French with some Italian and Spanish. English speaking tourists here seem to be rare. So without language, and presented with so much beauty and novelty, I feel I’ve slipped into another way of thinking. Forcing myself to write takes much more effort.

I really didn’t expect this.

Add that to the list of things I didn’t expect.

What else didn’t I expect?

This hostel is full of unexpected bits. I thought it would be more crowded, less echoey. I thought it would be less posh – so glad to be wrong about that! I didn’t expect the lovely view. I thought I’d spend evenings in a living room full of other travelers eager to meet one another and share stories, but it’s mostly empty.


Really, it’s like having two vacations. The one I planned and thought about, and the one I’m living. They’re both great. I’m glad I planned so much, or at least thought about it so much, but the reality is richer and more solo and less scary.

I’m also really, really glad that I walked so much back home. Even with all that walking, my legs are super-sore from all the hills and stairs. I’m glad to not be gasping for breath when I get to the top of whatever tower.

IMG_2565 IMG_2591

The first day here I climbed up to the Moorish Castle and walked all over that place. Lots of stairs and trails and views that went on forever. When texting my daughter I said that solo travel was awesome, and she asked why? The answer, that day, came clear to me when I was at the very top of the castle complex. I was sitting on a wall, happily enjoying the height, the view, the gentle ache in my legs from the long climb. A few people were sharing this space, taking photos of one another against the vista. Most looked around, snapped a few pics, rested a moment, then walked on, back down the hill.


An American family arrived, a couple with a teenaged boy. The woman headed towards the wall and I scooted a little to make room for her, and she gratefully smiled and sat down, looking around. Within seconds, really, her husband said, “Let’s go. Time’s wasting!”

She sighed and got up, and they walked on.

I sat quietly, looking at the view, the people, the world.

This was what I meant by solo travel being awesome: when I’m home, I work, and there’s expectations of my time – where I’m supposed to be and when. Even on the weekend there are constraints because there’s only so much time to get chores done, and the work week is looming. Traveling with other people is really fun, and I look forward to doing that again. But solo travel is introducing me to this sense of my time as completely my own, and it’s novel.


I love it.

From here on out, unless I’m filled with inspiration to write I plan to post little bits of words with photos. I think this trip is about taking information in, not necessarily disseminating it. That will come later.


7 thoughts on “Time Well Spent

  1. Loved your post. What’s that for a writer’s block? You knocked it out of the ring with mastery.
    Trips most often, fortunately,never happen as we imagined , and that makes all the difference.
    Have fun!


  2. That American family you met on the wall … that could be us. Even as I’m dragging my butt from the day’s activities, Gilles is already talking about setting the alarm for painfully early the next morning … rush, rush, rush, giddy-up-cowboy!!

    The unexpected discoveries when travelling are the moments that we seem to remember most … and it’s best when the discovery is a happy one!

    Liked by 1 person

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