As sad as I was to end my time in Salamanca, I couldn't help but be excited to start my week traveling through Portugal. While my mom was set to meet me to travel for the week, I got to spend a day and a half alone in Lisbon before she arrived. I was unbelievably excited to be so independent, in a country I have yet to become familiar with. While I came to Lisbon for part of a day several weeks ago, I didn't have free reign to wander where I pleased when I wanted to. This time was different.
After arriving at the airport and catching a taxi, I checked into my hotel and immediately fell in love. I could've stayed in my hotel all day and been completely content. Here's why:
Luckily, I knew I'd regret staying in my room one second longer than I needed to, so I quickly showered and hit the Lisbon streets. After wandering the busy roads and stopping in several shops that I was already familiar with from the time I was here a few weeks ago, I decided to adventure off into the unknown. I went up and down smaller streets, walked ways I had never been before, and asked people along the way what around there was interesting.
The part I was the most nervous, yet excited, about my time alone was eating dinner by myself. Breakfast and lunch alone seem more normal to me, but I'd never taken myself out to eat dinner at a restaurant without others to enjoy the meal with. I knew I wanted to do it, if not for the pleasure of being alone with my own thoughts, but for the independent feeling that would come along with it.
So I took myself out to eat. I sat outside at a restaurant alone in the middle of a busy street. I ordered a drink and my meal. I ate slowly, watching others at their tables and appreciating the diversity of the mix of people who walked past. At first, I felt like people were staring at me... almost out of pity. I quickly changed my perception of the looks and decided, no matter what others could be thinking as they passed by, I was independent and there was absolutely nothing wrong with treating myself.
After my meal, I decided to go on a romantic stroll (still alone) down by the water and sit and watch the sun disappear from the sky. It was truly beautiful.
After wandering a little more, I noticed the crowds on the streets were changing and I wasn't prepared to go clubbing alone (I'm definitely not at that level of bravery or independence yet). So, I headed back to my hotel and listened to the busy of the street below my window as I fell asleep.
Being alone wasn't lonely, it was rewarding.