Traveling Solo in Madrid

Intro

On November 8, I went to Madrid on my own to visit IE University for an open day. I was in Madrid for less than 5 hours, less than I had spent on the train ride there and back (I spent 5 hours and 20 minutes on the train), but I still learned some valuable lessons. This was my first solo trip in Europe. I had taken flights on my own in the states, but it is not the same experience. At all.

Train Rides

I had 5 hours of train ride ahead of me, so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try something: not downloading any movies for the train rides. Now, this was my first time, so I did download a documentary, but the goal was to learn/be productive for 5 hours straight where I had limited access to the internet. Apart from writing this blog, I did not do much that was productive, but I will try this again on my next flight and write about my experience!

IE University open day

During the open day we were treated to a lecture by one of IE’s professors. Here he is teaching us about Deep Work.

IE University is one of my top choices for university. They advertise innovation and the encouragement of entrepreneurial thinking, and the open day proved it. I showed up 15 minutes late because I had poorly timed my train rides, but they were still showing the marketing presentation that I had already seen twice, so I did not miss much. After I got there, they had some former students talk about their experience with IE university. Right when I had chalked this up to yet another marketing session, a professor said he was going to give us the first lecture on focus and concentration; he had my attention. A lot of it was about social media and its negative effects on us. I already knew most of what he said, but I did learn a lot as well. The open day really was an interesting and educational experience and totally worth the trip.

Walk to the Train Station

Here is a photo of me outside Madrid Atocha train station

The open day finished at 6:30 pm and my train was not leaving for almost 3 hours. Naturally, I did what anyone would do with three hours in Madrid: walked to Tim Hortons for donuts. I then walked back to the train station, taking a longer way to walk through Retiro Park. I had heard a lot about Retiro Park, mostly from my mom, and decided since I had time, I walked through it. I mostly walked within eyeshot of the fence so I wouldn’t get lost, but it was a nice experience. Although it was a little scary, the walk through the park was worth it!

Lessons Learned

As I said in my intro, this was my first time traveling alone in Europe, and here are some lessons, most of which can be applied to travel in general, I learned:

  • Bring a pair of sweatpants in your bag. This will definitely make your train/plane rides more comfortable
  • Always double and triple check times of events if you are doing a trip for the sole purpose of going to said event
  • You never know what you are going to learn, so always be open to new experiences and listen to what people are telling you
  • Watching the Minimalism:  Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix is a good use of an hour and a half
  • Charge your phone before going on a trip, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR TICKETS IS ON YOUR PHONE
  • Even if you charge your phone, bring a portable charger

Conclusion

While it was only a short trip, this journey was definitely life changing. I am grateful for the opportunity to take the trip and I am excited for my next solo trip!

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