NaturalArtMaven Travels :: Miami
This post is really late in being written and posted. For my birthday this year, I decided to do something I had wanted to do for one of my “big” birthdays that had already passed. For the big 3-0, a friend had suggested a trip to Miami and I thought it was a great idea, but alas, it did not come to pass. So, two years later, I decided to travel to Miami, South Beach in particular for my 32nd birthday back in April.
For the past couple of years, I have felt like I have been on a path of self discovery in figuring out who I am, what I want for myself and what I want to achieve. Often times, I feel we allow ourselves to be influenced by outside forces as to what we believe about ourselves and the world. This can be in the form of media, friends, co-workers and family. Society gives us a cookie cutter roadmap for our lives. We have to grow up, get married, have 2.5 kids, buy a home, etc and it has to be done in a certain way and a preferable time frame. I have now decided what I want for myself and not what OTHERS think I should want or do.
Now, back to the subject…because I am often not able to find a travel companion who’s finances will allow them to go on a trip when I want to or who’s schedule does not allow it, I decided to take this trip by myself. I figured, I do a lot of things by myself any way, so this should not be that different. By going alone, it would allow me to set my schedule and do things in my own time without any pressure to leave before I am ready or stay longer than I want doing something because someone else or the group is not ready. I saw it as a big adventure and the first step in my becoming a globe trotter (I have secret dreams of backpacking around the world).
For my adventure, I decided to try staying in a hostel in a shared room and that really worked out pretty well for me. It allowed me to stay in a prime location right across the street from the beach and Lummus Park. I had some really nice runs…er, jogs (I run really slow) along the boardwalk that ran along the beach. The first morning, I stopped at a café on my jog back to the hostel to have breakfast on the deck. Very relaxing! By the time I returned back to my room, my roommates were awake and moving around and most had already showered so I was able to get right into the bathroom to get clean.
One of the benefits in staying in a hostel when traveling alone is the feeling of community that you get. Everyone seemed pretty friendly and because I am the queen of making random friends, I made a lot of instant connections and friends, even if it was only for my stay there. I was able to get ideas on the best places to check out, the cheapest places to grocery shop and the latest gossip from a long time older female resident. One of my roommates that was from Spain, even gave me information for some good places to stay in Madrid when I go, hopefully in 2014.
For my hair, I wore it loose and free and received a lot of compliments and I was stopped by a lot of people who wanted to tell me it was beautiful or that I looked like Jill Scott. I wanted to experiment with packing light to prepare me for my future backpacking adventures that I plan to have by only taking one bag…that could be carried-on. I bought a Tortuga backpack which is supposed to be the ultimate backpackers backpack. I have to say that I really like it and have used it for some road trips that I have taken. The longest trip that I have used the back for was for five days. I rolled up all of my clothes like I learned to do when I was young in my camping days (Pathfinders anyone?) and I took toiletry items that could stretch for a long time and be used for my body and hair. I took some olive oil and combined it with some coconut oil and used that for my “lotion” and if needed my hair (this was before I stopped using oil in my hair). I also only packed a few pairs of bottoms that could be mixed and matched with my tops, to keep the number of clothes down. I took a brown pair or shoes, black pair of shoes and my Vibram “Bikila” LS running shoes. The Bikila’s are so slim and small (they are like feet gloves) that they hardly took up any space at all. The Tortuga backpack has two large sections that you are able to lock so that no one can get in, unless they cut the bag up, so I felt secure with living my belongings in my room.
All in all, it was a great trip! I spent four days of laying on the beach, eating, going to museums, galleries and making new friends. There’s nothing like having a full 30 minute conversation with someone that speaks only Spanish. You can get pretty far with broken Spanish and hand gestures! When we would come to a point of no explanation, we would just shrug our shoulders and laugh. I will definitely be doing this again and I plan to head back to Miami for my birthday next year. I’m thinking about making it an annual thing. Once I reach my goal of getting my car note paid off, I want to travel a lot more than I currently do. Now that I know that I can travel alone and survive and have a good time…I think I will be traveling solo dolo more often.
What about you guys, any solo travelers out there?
Here are a few pics from my trip: