It was the very first time that I traveled solo when I finally found myself.
It is true that I had traveled before through Europe, the UK, France… Always with family or friends, but this time I was about to do it all by myself. And to be honest that scared me a bit.
Why? I had never flown solo before. So, I had to pick up my game and just go for it. Book it, pack it, go!
I had always wanted to go to Scotland but never was able to, due to work or not having a companion. The actual plan this time was to visit Edinburgh with friends for 4-5 days. For some reason none of my friends was able to make it, so I told myself “I’ll go, even if that means going alone”, and this is how my adventure started.
Traveling solo is not that bad. People around you will always freak out when you tell them you are going to do it alone and will try to put you in the worst scenario, but believe me, traveling solo is GREAT!
You’ll always make friends on the way, for example: I met a very nice Scottish couple on the plane who gave me some tips and suggestions on what to visit in the city, they even told me which bus to take to get to Edinburgh center.
Back then I didn’t speak as much English as I do now, so I found the Scottish accent a bit tricky. I felt proud that I could understand everything they were telling me all the time.
Once at the airport, picked my bag and went to find the bus to the city center. The bus driver’s accent was so hard, I hardly understood him at the beginning. Luckily, I got safe and sound to the city center and went to my hostel.
That was also my first time at a hostel. Before that I could not understand how people could share a bedroom with strangers, (I guess my mom still doesn’t get it). Nowadays, it depends on where I travel to, but most times I stay at hostels.
The hostel I had booked was amazing. It was in the street right below the castle and it was like a medieval castle itself.
Castle Rock Hostel.
I was speechless. It was huge, and it literally looked like a castle; decorations, pictures on the wall, the staircase, armours…
The common area was very big, and it was full of people from all over the world. At this point, I just wanted to drop my bag in the room and go meet new people.
I booked my bed in a 12 bed room. So, once I got the key and got to the room I wasn’t sure how it worked or what was going on (first time in a hostel). So, I chose a bed and introduced myself to some of my new roommates from Ecuador, Korea and Australia.
Through the dorm window you could the see the Grassmarket and a bit further, the George Heriot’s School. The school that inspired J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter books. It looked just like Hogwarts. Actually, the kids attending that school are separated by houses and different colors for each house.
Back to the hostel, I went to the main salon with the girls I met back in the dorm, where I met a few more people. Some were on their phones or laptops, others were playing guitar and others were just chatting. I found it a very interesting and positive ambient. I loved it, and it helped me understand a lot of things from that moment onwards.
I made friends there with whom I still have contact today and we talk from time to time. Like Jordan from Manhattan (NYC), with whom I, along with a couple more friends, went to a bar and spent the evening drinking and chatting until the bar closed.
It was then when I discovered one of my favorites beers, it was the local beer: the CALEDONIAN, which I haven’t been able to find anywhere else but in Scotland.
Next day when I went for breakfast, I met one of my roommates on the way and she decided to join me in my daytrip to visit a bit of the Old Town, Calton’s Hill and try to get to the top of Arthur’s Seat.
And it was there, at the very top of the rock, with the city of Edinburgh at my feet, the cool wind embracing me, when a thought invaded me “This is what I want”. I guess that’s why Scotland, Edinburgh and Arthur’s Seat became so special for me.
Not just the view but the feelings I was experiencing were way beyond beautiful.
At the top of Arthur’s Seat, I could say I felt many things, but I’d say freedom, pride and happiness would sum it up.
I was able to turn to the people who always told me “You can’t do it” and say “WATCH ME!”.
Scotland switched on something inside me and for that reason it will always be one of my favorite places in the world.
I went back to Edinburgh a couple of times after that and loved it every time. I tried haggis for Robert Burns’ day, visited the Loch Ness and the Highlands… There’s just so much to do in this amazing country.
Here are some videos of my trips if you wish to know more about Edinburgh and Scotland.
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Mundo Mahalo’s creator.
Outgoing with a passion for travel and share it with the rest of the World.
Turtle, language and insanity lover.