Travelogues is a new series by cutebutsingleforareason where contributors share their stories of a life dedicated to travel. Inspired by my own solo lady adventure Euro Stories, Travelogues is a take on the art of travel writing with the use of several different and compelling voices, mediums, and formats, expanding the definition of what it truly means to free yourself from the ordinary. Be it short or long – travel has a magical way of transforming those brave enough to leave the comforts of home and explore the world abroad. I’ve invited some of the women I’ve met on the road, in addition to, local adventurers to make a densely woven narrative that will be eventually become a ‘zine.
I just accepted Jenny`s invitation to contribute to the blog, cutebutsingleforareason, it’s the same as if I accepted the fact that I`m gonna be awesome and famous from now on. I’m ready! Bring it on world!
My first story for Travelogues is short but cool for many reasons.
When I get to Barcelona, Spain, it’s my second backpacking trip alone and I was thinking, once more, “Why the hell do I keep doing this?” (This is THE question, so remember it for later.) Traveling is scary, it’s far away from my comfort zone, and it’s not cheap (specially in Euros), but still, here I am, again.
I arrive around 10 a.m. and have a few hours to walk around while I wait for the 3 p.m. check-in time. With my luggage secure at the hostel, I start to look for a nearby Starbucks. You see, it’s my way of documenting all the cities I’ve been to: first, I locate a Starbucks since they are everywhere all over the world and ask the barista to write the city’s name on the white cup embossed with the famous green logo, and I take a photo at a landmark representative of each city on my journey with my newly crafted beverage.
Now that I’ve found a Starbucks (right on the corner), I am tasked with finding that special place that would epitomize Barcelona. Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Batllo will do it. His unique architectural style should be easy to find. Three hours later with my specially ordered coffee in tow, reduced to cold droplets at the bottom of a paper cup, I am still looking for Gaudi’s house. Paper maps are a crazy thing, they show us a parallel universe, apparently. The only thing I can locate is a bench (it should be noted, on this exact bench, I found the answer for the above posed question) and I decide to sit and try to look for the bloody house on the map once more. And there is an old man seated right next to me. When I say old, he was more than 70-years-old, not when I was a kid and I thought old was over 40, to which my dad started laughing; hence, why I changed the rate on those considered “old”.
The old man asks in Spanish if I need help. Not exactly Spanish. Catalan. And that I can understand because it’s very close to Portuguese.
“Where am I?” I ask pointing at my map.
“EL MUNDO” the old man replies and I start to laugh as “El Mundo” means “The World”. I immediately think to myself, “Thanks for the help, creep. But where is Casa Batllo?”
Later on, I knew exactly what he meant. It’s why I keep coming back, to better understand this magic world we live in, the people we meet, the things we see, and the feeling that comes to us when we are alone in THE WORLD.
About the author: Tatiana, born in Russia, living in Brazil since 1994. Love traveling and I think Europe is my place to be. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to meet nice people like Jenny. I don’t believe you can define a person by their friends and favorite TV shows. By the way, I love Downton Abbey. Did I mention Jenny is my friend?