A huge lesson I have learned so far in Barcelona is to plan less and to go with the flow more. Obviously, if you want to see sights or certain places, you should take the initiative to venture out, but sometimes just strolling on the street and discovering new parts of the city is also just as fun. There have been many times I took on a solo or group adventure to explore new streets, plazas, and parks, and have been surprised with so many cool findings. If I did not act on my spontaneity, I could have missed out on the amazing hidden gems I encountered.
For one, my roommates and I were walking to the beach and decided to take a couple detours because the streets looked really interesting. We then ran into the Barcelona Cathedral and were able to tour around a bit. After taking our time to admire the Cathedral, we then headed back towards our route to the beach. Although the Barcelona Cathedral had been on my Barcelona bucket list for a while, it was more enjoyable to be spontaneous and spot it through our random stroll.
Another instance was when I decided to take another route home back to my apartment. I ended up discovering this awesome street full of so much to do. This busy street had about 3 blocks full of cafes, restaurants, shops, and included mini parks as well. This area was so lively, and was such a pleasant surprise since I live in a family-friendly neighborhood and usually had to venture out to the main city areas to grab a bite. Because I decided to go outside my comfort zone even more, I now have found my go-to spot for dinner, dessert, or coffee nearby my apartment.
Not to mention, traveling alone through a new city can be challenging at first, but I got the hang of it really quick. I had to learn the complex Barcelona public transportation system. There’s no doubt I did not get lost a handful of times, but I was able to solve all my problems by using quick thinking and communicating with locals for help if needed. I have grown to be much more independent in Barcelona this way, and I am able to get to where I need and visit all the restaurants and sites on my own, so definitely a huge accomplishment for me!
I definitely have adapted to be more accepting of going with the flow and the unpredictable sequence of events and with solo adventures. I catch myself dedicating a day to just roam around the city, with no specific agenda. I absolutely love it. I discover hidden gems and truly experience Barcelona as a local this way. I also learn a lot about how to maneuver through difficult situations when alone or even with people, because again, none of this was planned. It was all spontaneous, and it helped me improve so many of my personal skills that help me be more independent.