I was 23 years old when I planned my first solo trip in July 2001, and that was just four months after mom passed away!
All I wanted is to be by myself and far from home because It wasn't easy to go through the despairing experience where every place at home reminded me of her. So I decided to go for a trip far from home and I choose Algarve, south of Portugal!
Why I picked south of Portugal? First of all, because of its location being close to Morocco where I used to live. Secondly, for their good food and third, I did hear that Portuguese are friendly which was absolutely true. In addition, a friend of mine who'd been there many times had recommended it to me and said it'd do me good. So I opt for Algarve and spent twenty-two days between Albufeira, Vilamora and Faro trying to heal my wounds!
Everything was stunning about that region. Beautiful sceneries, friendly people, fresh seafood, outdoor entertainments, nice beaches and overall it was inexpensive. I didn’t enjoy it much due to my circumstances at that time but I had enough time to be by myself to gather my strength and learn how I could face my life alone and thank God I succeeded.
In this post, I'm not trying to recommend the must-dos and sees of the region, rather than share my own experience and how I decided at a younger age to choose traveling to heal my wounds. I choose strength and face the facts as they came rather than being sad all the time and bury my life at home crying for my loss which wouldn't bring my mother back. Well, I didn't have many choices except facing life as it came and I knew that my mother wouldn't be happy if I gave up. Having said that, it doesn't mean that I never get those sorrowful moments when everything felt embittered but I understood that losing my mother is part of life, so I would cry anytime I need to, but I would go around the world and keep exploring as long as I can because she would be happy to know that I'm continuing to wander and I'm strong as she always wanted me to be.
This post is addressed to everyone who's been through a deep loss, a breakup or any sad life experience that makes you think, this is it!!. This is the end of life. No, no, it is not!!! Remember that at the end of each experience, there is another one starting. A Turkish proverb says: "There is good in every evil. No one knows except God". Well, we can't replace a mother or a father or beloved ones, but we can keep them in our memories, live their legacies and make them proud of us.
That trip was the key to my strength after my deep loss and the destination helped me a lot. That was the beginning of many solo travels that empowered me and taught me a lot about life than sitting on a couch crying.
I had the chance to meet many people, locals and travelers from all around the world. The Portuguese are so friendly and welcoming and they never make you feel like you are a stranger. On the contrary, they like to know about you, your culture and what brought you to their country. This is why Portugal will always have a precious place in my ♥️ 🇵🇹 .
In 2001, I didn't have a good mobile phone to take good photos and post them, but I took a camera and still have many pictures in my album in Morocco. When I get the chance to visit my home country, I'll share some photos with you.
Later, I had the chance to go and visit other regions of the country. So a few years later, I went to Lisbon many times and Porto and these photos are from recent trips to Portugal. I'll be sharing a post about Lisbon as soon as I can.
All I can assure you that whenever you decide to go and visit this beautiful warm European country, and no matter the length of your trip, I assure you that it'll be fun and you'll enjoy each moment of it.
Don't give up and remember that being a solo traveler doesn’t mean you are lonely. It means you are strong, independent and free😍. I'm not a solo traveler anymore, but I always loved the saying: "If you don't enjoy your life alone, you can't enjoy it with somebody else!".
🌞Lovely day travelers ☕️