Hello people. So, remember how I mentioned at the end of my last post that I hadn’t been on holiday in five years? Well I am happy to announce that this has now changed! On Saturday 18th November, in the early hours of the morning, I left England for the first time since October 2012.
You see, I was speaking to my friend Carol a few months ago about how much I wanted to go on holiday, but that I had a lot of friends that would say they wanted to go but we would just never get around to actually doing it. The thing is, I’m the type of person that if we make plans to go somewhere a few months from now, I will be sure to save money for it and actually make plans to go if we are serious about it. If I don’t think this will be possible, then I will let you know from the beginning. However most of my friends unfortunately do not seem to have this same habit. To be fair, times are hard and I know that a lot of them intend to do these things, but other stuff will crop up at the last minute which makes it financially impossible. I also have a couple of friends with kids, so if they can’t organise the childcare then there isn’t much they can do. Often there will be a combination of the two: they have children but think they can make it work, and then they will have to pay for a school trip or some new football boots or something else at the very last minute. These are legitimate reasons, all of which are completely understandable. But unfortunately I do seem to also have a couple of friends that will constantly make plans with you but will never follow through. Not only that, but they will rarely even extend the courtesy of making you aware that they can no longer do those things as planned. They would much rather allow you to constantly chase them, most likely all the while knowing this is not something they intend to actually do. I say they but I only really have one friend that is as bad as this, who I don’t really bother with anymore.
When I was speaking to Carol about all this I was pretty much fed up. I had spent so many days I’d booked as holiday for a simple “stay-cation”, which do not get me wrong, I did always enjoy. But for once, I wanted to use my holidays for an actual holiday this time. However it didn’t look like my friend would ever get back to me to confirm what days would work best, and it didn’t seem to be the right time to book a holiday for most of my other friends. So what was a girl to do? “Go by yourself,” Carol suggested. She went on to tell me how she had gone to Tenerife alone for a few days, and that she had still had so much fun. I contemplated this for a while. It was certainly true that I could always enjoy myself relaxing in the sun, regardless of whether or not I had a companion. Sometimes in life you can only really rely on yourself, and it appeared that this was one of those times.
So I did just that. I booked a holiday in Majorca for a few days, on a website called On The Beach, which was also a suggestion from Carol. On The Beach is great because you only had to pay a small deposit to secure your holiday and you don’t get charged the remaining amount until a couple weeks before the arrival date. Even then, I only had to pay the balance in two separate increments over the course of two weeks. I flew out on Saturday 18th November, but I’ve been a little preoccupied doing absolutely nothing, so I am now only writing this in the comfort of my hotel suite on Tuesday 21st November, late at night. It has been an amazing few days here; I literally do not know how I can possibly express how much just a few days away in a hot country has done for me. But I would say that the time I have chosen to go away has also made a lot of difference.
You see, I work in the London Reservations Office for Soho House. More specifically, I work as a Reservations Agent for The Ned, a hotel that has just opened in Bank in May this year. The Ned is the latest establishment for Soho House, and probably their biggest yet. It’s a 252 bedroom hotel complete with nine restaurants as well, and my job is to book the room and restaurant reservations, as well as oversee the email correspondence and the many tasks that come with the job. Needless to say, it has taken a great deal of effort and hard work from each and every member of our team over the past seven months. I didn’t even really notice how stressed I really was until now. For weeks, I’ve been wondering why I’ve been coming out with more and more spots. As in on a weekly basis. I am prone to getting spots occasionally of course, as we all are unfortunately. But it’s usually only for two reasons; around my dear TOM (Time of The Month) or because I’ve been using a new product as part of my skincare regime which clearly doesn’t agree with me. As I mentioned, this seemed to be happening every week now, so it wasn’t the usual hormonal breakout. It did seem to be a new product at first, as I had just started using Vitamin C Glow Boosting Microdermabrasion, a facial exfoliator I had bought from The Body Shop. Funnily enough, I did actually purchase it by accident, confusing it with my daily face wash which is packaged in an identical tube. I had already opened it before I realised this, so returning it was not an option. Not wanting to waste £18, I decided to use it and see how it went, as the Vitamin C Range in The Body Shop is good anyway. However it became apparent after a couple of weeks that my skin did not react well to it. Every time I used it, a couple of spots would pop up either on the day or the day after. I decided to stop using it, and just stick with my original exfoliator, which seemed to be working very well. But for some reason, every week I would still keep coming out with two or three spots, in the most annoying and obvious places. Painful ones too, the ones that you cannot really squeeze no matter how much you try. (I know you shouldn’t do this, but if you could have seen my face, you would understand that I had no choice). By the next week, these spots will have gone down but will also have been replaced by those horrible black marks which I’m sure all black women are familiar with. I could not understand it; it had been a few weeks since I had gone back to my original regime, but these spots would not quit.
It wasn’t until I had been here in Majorca for a few days that I noticed this was the first week in a while that no new spots had erupted. I still had one that was already on my face unfortunately, but no new ones at all. I also realised just how much tension I had in my back when I went to the spa yesterday morning and lay down for a massage. I mean, I had known that I was in desperate need of a massage for weeks, but this was something else. That was when it dawned on me just how stressed I have been these past couple of months, and it was finally showing up all over my face. I have had this kind of stress from work before; about three years ago when I was being bullied by my psychopath of a manager. That was a bad time for my poor face, and I even started getting spots on my back as well.
Sorry for this gross description, but the point is a few days away in the sun had worked wonders on me. It was a pretty quiet time of year, as Majorca is of course a tourist spot, and most people don’t tend to go away towards the end of November. The weather wasn’t at it’s hottest either, but it was still very warm, about 18 to 20 degrees. I don’t have to tell you fellow Londoners that it definitely surpasses the weather out here anyway. I spent most of the time in my hotel; swimming and visiting the sauna, getting a pedicure at the spa, listening to my audiobooks and reading out on my balcony and of course, drinking cocktails in the hotel bar every night. But I also went for walks on the beach from time to time, and went to the little city centre that was about 5 minutes away. Most of the shops were closed due to it being such a quiet period, but there was still enough open to have a little browse. I did plan on laying on the beach, but it wasn’t really that tidy. There was not a single person on the beach, so I guess they didn’t bother to clean it up properly. It wasn’t filled with rubbish or anything; mainly loads of residue from some kind of strange plant, but it was just everywhere. It just didn’t leave any room for a nice spot to lay on, but I didn’t really mind. I had only planned on reading my book there, so that was when I vacated to my balcony instead.
Everything about my stay at the hotel was amazing, and I highly recommend it. It’s called Iberostar Cala Millor, and the only downside is that it is about an hour’s drive away from the airport, which means that the transfer will be pricier than you want, but it is honestly worth it. The hotel is adults only; that’s right, no screaming kids or families around. This was actually the primary reason that I booked it, not to mention that it was a very reasonably priced 4 star hotel. I ended up being upgraded to a suite on arrival, making the whole trip even more worth the money. I booked under a Half Board plan as well, so both breakfast and dinner were included. This was all I needed, however it would have been nice if there were an all inclusive deal so that I didn’t have to pay for drinks, because I had a lot!
This brings me to the incredibly attentive and amazing hotel staff. I literally cannot say a bad word about any of them; they all went out of their way to make sure that I had the best stay possible. However the bartender Rafael definitely stood out amongst them all. I met him on the second night, and he was so lovely and friendly. He didn’t speak much English, but I was using my trusty Translator app all night so that we could communicate. Despite the fact that the bar was busy, he was always ready with my next drink in minutes whenever I ordered. He also generously gave me a mojito that I ordered for free, and two free shots of this chocolate liquor thing. I have no idea what kind of liquor was in it, but it tasted just like pure chocolate but with a kick. Genius! I headed up to my room later on and started playing some pretty loud music. So when I heard a knock on my door, I was so sure that it was somebody to tell me to turn the music down. But no, it was Rafael and he’d brought me up a complimentary bottle of Spanish rosé along with a plate of chocolates! I mean, this was a very kind gesture, one that I very really appreciated. I thanked Rafael numerous times, and even went downstairs later that night to thank him properly. I had done absolutely nothing outside of being myself and ordering a few drinks, something I’m sure that every guest does. But he had gone out of his way to show me incredibly hospitality and genuine kindness, and that’s not something you see very often anymore. Definitely not in London anyway. I was sure to leave him a 5 euro tip when I checked out yesterday. I know 5 euros doesn’t sound like much, but I never tip anyone so this was a lot for me! If I hadn’t spent so much money on my trip than I intended to, I would have definitely left him more though. He deserved it. Two of the bartenders on my last night were also very kind and attentive; I believe their names were Vanessa and Sofia. They gave me two free shots of whisky sour, which were also delicious.
On the last morning of my stay, I headed down to the spa for a 45 minute aromatherapy massage as well as an hour and ten minute long facial. Despite the fact that I work for a company that owns several spas, it’s been a while since I have had a treatment and I loved every minute of it. I fell asleep pretty much towards the end of the massage, and was in another world completely by the time the facial started. Seriously, I was knocked out, dreaming and everything. The only thing I would say is that I think I need to book a more intense massage in a couple of weeks, as I do still have a lot of tension in my back. This particular massage was obviously designed to be more gentle and relaxing, but I needed something just a little bit more intense to get all my kinks out. I’m not one of those people who wants it to be more pain than relaxation or anything, but I’m definitely gonna need a nice little balance between the two.
This entire trip was so therapeutic for me, despite the fact that it was at such a random time of the year. It wasn’t just the location and the weather, and each hour that I spent in total relaxation. But it was also the fact that, as cliche as it sounds, it really did feel like I had gotten to know myself all over again. I never thought that I would have the confidence to go away all by myself. Firstly, because of the supposed danger of being vulnerable in a foreign country. My mum was beside herself when I told her I was going alone. She was so worried, that I was sure to text her as soon as I had gotten to the hotel, and daily updates throughout the trip so she wouldn’t worry about me. But I did not feel scared or unsafe once while I was out there. You just need to stick to the same rules you usually would when you’re at home. I also didn’t shout about the fact that I was there by myself. Of course the other hotel residents knew, but if I met anyone outside the hotel I would lie and say that I had come with a friend. I didn’t talk to strangers, you know as we’ve all been taught not to do anyway since primary school days. Basically, just use your common sense and be alert, and you’ll be fine.
Another reason why I thought being alone would hold me back on holiday is because usually we all just automatically regard going away as something to do with someone. A family member, a friend or a partner at least. Most people cannot even fathom the idea of going away to a place like Majorca all by yourself. Women at work asked who I was going with, and when I’d answer “just me” the most common response was always, “Really?” which was always accompanied by a confused, screwed up expression. It was the same in the resort. I was getting a few weird looks from some of the hotel guests, and even though they never said anything I could literally see the words going through their mind: “Did that black girl come here all by herself?” But I didn’t care. I was surprised because I really thought that I might. Even though I was excited, there was a little part of me that was worried that I’d get out here, and be too scared or discouraged to do anything, because I’d be thinking “how could I possibly do that by myself?”. But I didn’t at all. Every single day, I did exactly what I wanted to do and I loved every minute of it. I loved the peace and quiet, and being able to just get away. It made me realise that I can do the same back at home. I can do whatever the hell I want to do whenever I want to do it.
This is what I usually do: I’d see something or somewhere I’d want to go, and then ask my closest friends if they’re up for it. More often than not, no one ever was. They’d have other plans, or they wouldn’t have money etc. A couple of them would barely even get back to me to let me know what they’re excuse was. So then I’d think, “oh well, I can’t do it now” and I just wouldn’t go. I’d sit at home and miss out on something I wanted to go to just because of other people, or go to a friend’s house and do nothing there. How ridiculous is that!? Well no more of that. From now on, if I ask a friend to go to the cinema or to a concert, or wherever it is I want to go, I will be doing it regardless of whether or not they accompany me or not. Of course, some activities such as raving or clubbing, would be more ideal to do with at least one other person. This is just because I tend to be wild when I drink, so you know, safety in numbers. Although a couple of people have recommended that I still do this alone if I feel like it, so maybe I’ll think about it a little and try apply a safe strategy for raving solo.
I would just like to say, once again, that I am so incredibly happy that I took this trip. It was definitely a great way to spend five days and if anyone out there is like me and hasn’t been away in a long time, DO IT. I cannot stress this any more. I didn’t just have an amazing time, but I have also returned with a bit of a different outlook on life and what I would like to do with mine. The most important thing to me for now is to put everything into my writing. It’s been so long since I’ve been writing literally every day, that I’ve gotten kind of rusty. Therefore any advice, criticism or feedback would be much appreciated.
Gracias por leer y buenos noches, mis amigos!!