When traveling alone, I tend to pick a busy city with lots to do and easy public transportation. For most of the trip, I’m energetically taking in the sights and exploring the local culture, but as the end of my travels near and my to do list grows shorter, I can’t help but wonder what there is to find just outside the city bounds. Despite the curiosity, it can be hard to muster up the will to go out past the city. So much of your energy and courage is already expended walking into restaurants alone, navigating unfamiliar streets, and struggling through conversations with strangers in another language, that the thought of venturing further can feel like too far of a stretch.
Though organized group travel isn’t usually my cup of tea, this is when I find myself scrambling for a guided tour. Spending a day with a local foodie, for example, has changed my perspective on entire cities, taking me through neighborhoods and cuisines I’d have never found on my own. In Spain, I booked a last minute spot with a small group taking a day trip out of the city, and quickly made friends with some of the other travelers. We spent a morning exploring the vineyards at Torres Winery, then headed for Montserrat where we hiked around the mountains, visited a monastery, and sampled lots of the locally made chocolates and liqueurs.
When the sun finally began to set, the group made our way to the tiny seaside city of Sitges, exploring all the glittering shops, and watching the town and the sea glow a rosy pink as the sun dipped down over the Mediterranean.