I’m sure you’re sitting on the edge of your seats, wondering: one, if I’m still alive, and two, how my trip went.

Because I’m posting this, I can assure you that I was not kidnapped, like in Taken, or murdered like in Hostel. I’ve never seen Hostel, but I’ve been told that it’s one of the goriest movies people have ever seen… I’ll take their word for it.

Anyway… my trip was FABULOUS! I loved the entire experience, even though there were some rough spots here and there. But those down moments were the ones that helped strengthen me and help me grow while on the trip. Overall, I am so immensely glad I took the trip– and took it alone. A lot of people, especially women, have told me they could never travel by themselves but I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I could possibly see a desire for constant/reliable companionship that comes with traveling with a friend/significant other, but even that can be fixed by staying in hostels where there are dozens of solo travelers wanting to meet new people as well.

My new friends in my Barcelona hostel

I learned a TON on my trip. When talking to my counselor about what I had learned, I listed three lessons I had learned:

1) There is no right answer to everything;

2) There is always an alternative solution to a problem; and

3) The only thing holding me back is me.

Of the three lessons, the first one is the one that has stuck out the most in my head– and will continue to have an impact on my life from here on out.

I strive to be “perfect” and always do everything right. I act as though it’s my purpose in life to be the “perfect girlfriend,” “perfect sister,” “perfect friend,” and “perfect daughter.” The way I see it, there is always a right way to be, right things to do, and right ways to live life (and alternately, clear wrong ways to do all of the above as well).

This trip helped me strip that mentality from my thought process. Going on this trip and being able to plan and do what I wanted, when I wanted helped me embrace “what do I want?” There was no one there to tell me that what I wanted to do was boring, stupid, a waste of time/money. I could do things just because I wanted to.

This idea finally solidified itself in my mind on my second day in Barcelona. I had just spent my morning wandering around the Picasso Museum– a “must-see” according to my guide-book. [It was definitely worth it, so if you’re ever in Barcelona, I highly recommend it] However, just a couple blocks up the road was a Chocolate Museum (Museu de la Xocolata). Rick Steve’s gave it a less-than-enthusiastic description and I had never heard anyone mention it’s existence when talking about what to see in Barcelona.

Chocolate Museum, Barcelona

But I love chocolate. And I wanted to go. So I went.

Simple as that. I went because I wanted to, and because I could. It ended up being not very interesting, but I didn’t really care because I wanted to see for myself what was in the museum dedicated to one of my favorite things on the planet. Plus, I had delicious chocolate at end of it while people-watching in the cafe. It was such a tangible example in my head, even as I sat, drinking my chocolate, that this is what I needed to do more of in my life.

I need to do what I want to do, and more importantly, not care what others think about those decisions. Going to some cheesy Chocolate Museum in Spain is very low on the “must-sees” of Barcelona, and I could have worried about what people would say about me having gone there, but I didn’t. I held my head high, paid for my ticket, and walked around learning the history of chocolate and marveling at chocolate sculptures.

There was no right answer as to whether or not I should go to that museum. There was no right answer about anything I went and saw in Spain. It was my trip, and I could see what I wanted to see, and what other people said or thought didn’t matter.

The desire to do “right” will probably always be a struggle, but I now have an experience to hold on to that shows me that it doesn’t matter what choices I make– they’re my choices and desires; and other people’s choices, desires, or opinions of my choices/desires are none of my concern. I need to live my life the way I want to live it.

And just because I want to share another picture, I will share a picture from my tour of the Alhambra in Granada. It was pouring rain my entire time in Granada, but the Alhambra was one of my favorite experiences of my entire trip!

The Alhambra, Granada