Hidden away in the Atlantic Ocean is a Portuguese archipelago known as the Azores islands. Still untouched by tourism, this place is a dream come true.
I decided to do my first solo trip to the Azores and explored the island of Sao Miguel, also known as the ‘Green Island’ – and for good reason! I was lucky enough to travel during low season and had the island to myself along with the welcoming locals. A short five-hour plane ride from Canada, I arrived to the island in perfect time to witness an extraordinary sunrise from the gods. Immediately, awe-struck by the natural, rugged beauty this island has to offer as the pastel colors welcomed me to my new adventure.
I laugh now that in the beginning, I was nervous to be travelling to a new continent, all alone. There is a motto that backpackers have when travelling solo – “alone but never truly alone” – as you will always meet people along the way. This quote stayed true as within the first hour, I met two wonderful solo female travellers – Betty from Poland and Rebecca from Switzerland. Having an immediate connection, we stuck together sharing the pure joys of travel. Renting a car gave ease to explore the island without limits.
There are two things I swear by when travelling – first, never buy a return ticket, only one-way and second, never book past your first nights’ accommodation. This way, you have much more freedom and can go with the flow. This was perfect as I completely fell in love with the island and kept extending my stay each night until I absolutely had to leave to begin my travelling internship.
Surrounded by the rugged landscape, I enjoyed my favorite pastime each and every day…hiking! Feeling free and at complete peace as the dramatic elements moved wildly around each corner.
I calmly stood at the cliff’s edge, overlooking the lush green landscape as the wind whipped my hair in every direction and the ocean tides rushed below my feet.
There is something special about the Azores – something that richens soul and frees the spirit – something wild and free. I gained inspiration and clarity in life and strengthened the bond between my soul and mother earth.
I couldn’t have asked for a better first solo experience and beginning to a new backpacking adventure!