TagTraveling

Solo Traveling – Santander, Cantabria

This was the very first time I traveled by myself, a mixture of boredom and seek of adventure led me to the decision of booking the cheapest flights I could find to somewhere random.

The first thing I noticed about traveling alone is the sense of freedom you get from knowing that you don`t have to wait for fo anyone and that when you arrive at your destination there will be no one waiting for you either. It is kind of weird but you get used to the feeling.

This time, the chosen destination was Santander, Cantabria, a little city of Spain. The first thing you notice when you get there is how small the size of the city is, the airport is the first indicative of that.

I landed mid-day around 12, so I had the rest of the day for some sightseen. First, I went to my AirBnB (in the city center, 10 min drive from the airport, yes, Santander is that small) to leave my luggage, then I went for a walk along the beach side, 30 min walking and I was already at the end of the city, “El Palacio De La Magdalena”.

Santaner

The Palace of La Magdalena is the most emblematic building of the city of Santander and one of the most prominent examples of civil architecture in northern Spain. With a majestic landscape, it is situated at the highest point of the Peninsula bearing the same name. Its construction, between 1908 and 1912, following the plans of Gonzalo Bringas and Javier González de Riancho, resulted from a municipal initiative: the Town Council wanted to present Kings Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia with a summer residence to consolidate the summer tradition that was taking root in the city and its province. The monarchs and their children spent their summers between 1913 and 1930 in Cantabria. Apparently, it was the Queen, called Ena in the privacy of her family, who especially enjoyed the landscape and the architecture, very close to those of her native England: writers and poets evoked her homesickness for the Isle of Wight and they actually associated it with her stay in Santander and her subsequent exile.

And don´t miss what you get to see by turning 180º:

Santander

After that long walk, I was hungry and tired, so I stopped by a random restaurant and asked for a burger, that was when I realized that Santander wasn’t cheap at all.

The day after, I took the bus and went to Comillas, a little town 40KM away from Santander. The place town was incredibly beautiful, but the sights it offered to the sea, were just unbelievable, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Comillas

The third day in the morning I had my flight back to Barcelona. This was my very first Solo Traveling experience, and I am doing it again for sure. During this little time, I forced myself to go outside my social box where I am always surrounded by people, and spent some quality time with myself, I went through mental conversations about what was next for me in my life and I got to know ME a little better, and I loved it.




How traveling can fix these three problems of the Millennials

A few weeks ago I foud this interview to Simon Sinek in which he perfectly defines what a millennial is, the problems we have to adapt to the real world and the reasons why it is like this. Honestly, I haven’t grown up in the same environment as most of you guys did, but still, I feel Identified with some of the points Simon addresses in the interview. And I have come with one simple solution to our problems, Traveling.

How Traveling can help us to build our confidence back?

The first problem Simon Sinek says we millennials have, is low self-esteem, which he links to “failed parenting strategies”. Ever since we were born, we were told that we are special, that we can have whatever we want just because we want it, and our parents made sure that we had it.
One thing that really surprised me when I moved to the western world (I am originally Ethiopian and moved to Spain when I was nine) was that the kids in my class got presents from their parents just because they had passed a subject, it didn’t matter if the grade was a C or an A. If I did get a C on any subject by then I could say goodbye to all my privileges at home at least for a month.
And we could find thousands of examples like that one. That is bad parenting, don’t get it wrong, parents do that seeking the best for their children and to make them happy. But at the end of the day, when the kid has to walk by himself out in the real world, he finds out that a C is not enough, that he is not special, he is just like everyone else around, and all this happens in an instant and we don’t really know hoe to deal with it, and it builds up into a low self-esteem.

How traveling help us with this problem?

When we are traveling we are not self-absorbed in ourselves and our problems, we get to higher our sights and see different realities than the ones we are used to, we meet wonderful, special people that humble us, and make us see things differently. For example, when I am traveling to my country I can only think of how tiny I am compared to that 7-8 years old kid making some money by cleaning people’s shoes just to bring money home, to help his mom, to feed his little brothers, that makes me realise that I am not as half a man as he is, that I am lucky to have had this life, that there is a long way to go for me to earn the respect my family and friends, that sometimes I drown into a glass of water and fail to see the bigger picture. That keeps me moving, working.
Knowing that there are different realities out there makes you see that every day you wake up and go do whatever it is that you are doing, you are choosing to do exactly that, that you are the manager of your time and your life. This is how self-confidence is built.

How Traveling can help us to deal with stress in a much healthier way

In the video, Simon Sinek defines the second big handicap we millennials have, and that is the fact that we don’t have the appropriate mechanisms to deal with stress. Stress is the major source of lots of health problems as well as addictions.




Most addictions are produced when we are still teenagers, that is a stage of life in which we suffer a lot of stress, it is the stage when we say “hello” to the world for the first time standing on our own feet. And we have to be accepted for our fellows and we suffer a lot of insecurities and anxieties. That lead us to stress and the search fo dopamine to handle that stress, when we drink alcohol, for instance, that frees some dopamine into our brain and makes us feel better, happier, we forget about our problems for a moment, and when we repeat that process over and over again is when the addiction is produced. Now, alcohol is not the only substance that frees dopamine into our brains, text notifications in our phones can produce it too, and that is why there can be cases in which we get addicted to our smartphones.




Smartphones could be considered as our alcohol, our way to deal with stress. When we are in a conference room surrounded by a bunch of people, we feel that social anxiety that it produces us and take the easy road and stare at our phones instead of talking to each other, this way we miss the opportunities to engage with other people. Just remember all those times when you got to sit beside the girl or the boy you like, you get nervous, avoid eye contact and check your Instagram feed, rally knowing that it is not what you should be doing, five minutes later he/she goes away, you missed that opportunity to engage with that person.

How traveling help us with this problem?

First of all, we all know how traveling can be a great way to get away from everything that stresses us and chill out a little bit. But it’s not only about the time we are actually traveling but the effect that it has in the long term. Traveling can help us tackle the problem from the root.




When we are on the road, in another city, another country, there are lots of moments when we don’t even have connection to the internet, so we are forced to get over our social anxiety and actually talk to other people, and that teaches our brain that there is nothing wrong about interacting with other people. We also expose ourselves to a lot of different situations, we address unusual problems that we have to solve by ourselves, and we learn how not to drown in a glass of water and how to deal with stress.


How Traveling can help us to build our confidence patience

The third problem Simon states we millennials have to deal with is Impatience. We live in the world of instant gratification, we want to watch a movie? we just need a browser or our phones, we want to flirt with someone? just swipe right. All this technological advancement we were exposed to from a very young age, plus, having our parents do everything for us, has taught us that just by wishing we can have whatever we want.

How traveling help us with this problem?

Do you want to visit the most exotic and beautiful lands? You are gonna have to travel for 12+ hours, it requires the traveling of very long distances to get there, it is exhausting, but the prize at the end of it is totally worth it. Do you want the most amazing views of the place? You are gonna have to hike the biggest mountains or walk the highest hills of the city.

Travelling can really teach us that we have to sweat hard to get the best of what we want.





Jeju Island, South Korea. Unexpected Beauty

Since the very first moment, we arrived in Seoul, whenever we asked anyone to tell us about places worth visiting in the country, they all opened their mouth with the words “Jeju Island”. None of us had heard about it before, so we looked at each other with skeptical eyes while they explained how incredibly beautiful the island is.

Short after classes began and we received the university calendar, we started to plan trips for all the holidays we had during the semester. For Korean Hangul Day (Korean Letters Day) we had three days off, and it was still September, which meant good weather, and a great opportunity to travel through the country, so, we decided we would give Jeju a try and see what all the locals were talking about.

We were so lucky to meet Albertini the first days of class, a Korean guy that took almost all his lessons in English and loved it to hang out with the foreigners, he was born in Jeju and all his family lived there, and since he was also traveling to the island to spend the vacations with his family, he offered to host us at his own home in Jeju, that was so cool of him.

My friends decided to make it a day trip and took a train to the south coast of the country and then a ferry from there to rich the Island, since it was Friday and I had an exam in the morning, I took a plane in the evening and made to Jeju at night. I arrived with almost no expectations about the island, but my friends had already had their first contact with the island and they were already quite impressed.

Seongsan Ilchulbong, Jeju

The next day, we woke up early in the morning to visit the Seongsan Ilchulbong volcano. I remember it was a hot day, but the peak was not that high so, we made it to the top with not much difficulty. The views were Stunning.

That same day, we went to a beach to spend the evening, I don’t even remember asking for its name, we were so stunned by its beauty, that we even forgot to unfold our cameras. Its white sands, its crystal blue water and all the green nature surrounding it…, the colors were just perfect. It definitely falls into the top three beaches I have ever seen. Its name is Hyeopjae Beach in case you want to google it. The very moment we arrived there we felt in love with the Jeju.

Hangul Day Celebrations

After that amazing day we had, we ended it up with a couple of beers in our hands and a nice chat.

The morning after we woke up really early to celebrate Korean Letters day with Albertini and his family, the celebrations started with prayers led by the oldest man in the family and followed with an amazing meal. After that, we left to continue visiting the Island, but normally, the celebrations go on all day long, they spend 3h approx. in every family member’s home who has to prepare a meal just as abundant and delicious as the previous one and they down the food with some Soju.

It definitely was one of the highlights of the trip, and we can’t thank enough all the hospitality received.

Jeongpang Waterfall, Jeju

After that incredible experience with Albertini and his family, we headed to the Jeongpang Waterfall. It was so huge, that I remember feeling small like a peanut when I was underneath it.

Hallasan Volcano, Jeju

This is the highest pick in South Korea (1950m).

After three non-stop days, having less than 5h sleep, the last day, we decide to hike Hallasan, it was exhausting and it seemed like it was never going to end, but we made it a competition to make it to the top, plus, there were plenty of ladies and gentlemen on their 60s hiking like if it was nothing to them, elderly Koreans are really in shape, and if they could we could.

At the end, it was worth it!

Jeju is one of the most beautiful memories I have, and it will always be, the two words that better define that tip is Unexpected Beauty. Learn how to keep your expectations low, and you live in a world of surprises.

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