5 Lessons Learned From My First Trip to Spain

Before leaving for Spain I didn’t know quite what to expect. What would a big solo trip like this actually be like? Would it be an absolute disaster and turn me off of the idea of traveling forever? Would it be a life-changing experience that I could one day turn into a best-selling memoir?

I assumed, and I was right, that my actual experience would lie somewhere in the middle. It didn’t turn me off traveling (exactly the opposite), and I don’t think I came back a completely new person. Still, I did learn some important lessons while traveling by myself, so I thought I’d share them today.

The five lessons I learned while traveling solo for the first time

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My Favorite Views From Spain

Spain is full of amazing scenery and views. It felt like every day I would come across something that would leave me going wow wow wow and I don’t ever have to leave, right? 

I have SO MANY pictures from Spain but I feel like they barely do the place justice! Still, I wanted to share some of my favorite scenery from my trip. Hopefully these photos inspire you to add some of these places to your travel wish list!

The view overlooking Segovia

Segovia is a delightful town about an hour northwest of Madrid. As you walk along the main street leading from the Aqueduct to Plaza Mayor, there’s this little area where you can look out over the tops of all the buildings and see the mountains and hills off in the distance.

The mountains over Segovia

What I liked about this was that I wasn’t even looking for a scenic place to take a picture. I just rounded a bend in the road and there it was.


Unfortunately, I got sick while I was in Segovia and spent a lot of time in bed. I’m hoping that I will be able to go back there someday so I can really explore the town more and see all that it has to offer.

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In Which I Introduce Myself

So guess who’s four posts in and hasn’t even given a proper introduction yet?

Oh yeah it’s me.

My first post was going to be an introduction post, I swear…then my second….then my third…. you get the idea.

The thing is, I really, really, really, really hate introducing myself. Icebreaker games in new classes were always a nightmare, and don’t even get me started on “about me” sections on social media. I’d rather do just about anything else besides try to answer the question of who I am. In fact, as I try and write this post I keep finding other things to do to procrastinate. Just one more YouTube video…

I don’t know why I hate introductions so much. Maybe it’s because I think I’m not very interesting, or because I’m so anxious that I worry too much about what I’m going to say.

But I figure if I’m going to keep up this blogging thing, y’all might want to know who I am.

So. Hi. I’m Gracie.

The only somewhat decent picture of myself from Spain.

I started this blog because I love to write. I’m a freelancer and I’m always coming up with story ideas.(Which I usually start and then abandon halfway through. I have some commitment issues.) I’ve also always wanted to travel. Earlier this month I got back from a three-week trip to Spain, and I am already looking ahead to where I might go next.

Another hobby of mine is photography. I recently took a photography class and got excited about photography again after not really being into it since high school. I’m interested in travel photography and improving my skills in that area, and I’ll be sharing my pictures here as well as on my Instagram.

From the Alhambra in Granada, Spain

I also plan to use this space to sometimes talk about how mental health affects travel, as I’ve dealt with anxiety and other mental health issues over the years and I think it’s really important to talk about. My anxiety is one of the big reasons why I haven’t done much traveling before now, and I want to talk about these struggles so that other people who may be dealing with a mental illness and who feel like they can’t do things like travel will know that are not alone.

Segovia, Spain

So why am I calling my blog “The Traveling Book Lady”? I’ve always really loved books and reading. A lot of the places I want to travel to come from reading about them in a book somewhere, and I like visiting bookstores and other literary sites.

I’d originally planned to focus some of my travels specifically on seeking out different literary sites, interesting bookstores, and the like. I sort of dropped the ball on this one in Spain, though, as I got a major case of Biting Off More Than I Can Chew and ended up not fitting in a lot of what I had planned. Still, I like the idea of “literary tourism” and I’ll probably seek out those experiences in the future.

I hope you’ll choose to follow along as I talk about my past and future trips, take photos, and have a lot of anxiety about the whole thing. You can subscribe to updates by putting your e-mail in over on the right. You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and tumblr.

If you made it through this whole thing, great! Introduce yourself in the comments below (unless introductions also make you anxious, in which case I understand). I’d love to know how you came upon my blog, too. Thanks!

What it’s Like to Take a Tapas Tour with Devour Madrid

Recently, I got back from my first solo trip, a 3-week backpacking excursion around Spain. And, guys? It. Was. AWESOME. I definitely have the travel bug now, and I’m already dreaming about when I can get back to Spain.

Luckily, I made sure to rub my feet on point zero, which is supposed to guarantee a safe return to Madrid.

My trip began in Madrid, and, if I had to pick, it was probably my favorite city (But please don’t make me pick). So I thought today I’d talk about one of my favorite things that I did while I was in Spain: going on Devour Madrid’s Tapas, Taverns, and History Tour.

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