When I was twenty, my sister and I spontaneously decided to book a trip to Spain. We had absolutely no idea what there was to do, where to eat, what to see… but all I can say is, it was a trip of a lifetime. Both of us were single at the time, which made it even better since we had no restrictions. It was also the first time the both of us got to travel to Europe without our parents, so we were especially ecstatic about having total freedom. Honestly, looking back on this trip, we probably should have ended up like the movie “Taken,” but to this day I do not regret absolutely any of my choices.
A month before we booked this trip, I had ended a seriously abusive relationship with my ex boyfriend. At the time, no one had known what had happened with us, as I was in a bit of rejection myself. I went into the trip with zero expectations, and came home with my heart healed. As crazy as the trip was, I learned two huge lessons from two different guys I met. One made me feel valued and beautiful, while the other made me feel strong and confident. While both of them had interactions polar opposite of each other, I pretty much gained a ton of self respect for myself.
First part of the trip: Barcelona, Spain. While I could get into how beautiful of a city Barcelona is, I really want to focus on my nights there. In Barcelona, there were three major clubs all right next to each other. The cool part about the clubs were they were all right along the beach, so it was super easy to go between dancing and walking in the sand. It sounds weird, but trust me, it was seriously cool. Each night, my sister and I made it a mission to go into all of them at different nights, and we met a ton of interesting people from all over the world.
Standing at the bar, my sister was approached by a handsome gentleman. He asked her if I was interested in his friend, and I definitely was. As the night went on, me and Sebastian not only got to know each other on a physical level, but on an emotional one as well. For the first time in a long time, I felt beautiful and safe. I had no idea who this guy was, but it was refreshing to talk to someone who had life goals. He had told me he was in Barcelona for the weekend from Madrid, as he was studying abroad for his Law School class. My previous boyfriends didn’t have the brightest of minds, and I felt like I could finally relate to someone when it came to school and accomplishing those specific goals. When the night came to an end, my sister and I met back up and went to get a cab. I heard Sebastion chase after me, begging to get my Facebook because his phone did not work internationally. I did not really think much of it, and we became Facebook friends. I really never thought we’d see each other again, until I woke up the next morning with a message. Sebastion had asked me what our plans were for later that night, and if we were going to be at the same club. I explained that we were going with the flow, and I would let him know my plans later on. To make a long story short, we had met up later that night per his request. This was new for me, as I had not had someone pursuing me in a very, very long time. It was a change for me to have someone want to get to know me in person, look me in the eyes and be fascinated by my life. Once our few days together had finished, the thought of never seeing him again was exciting for me. I knew I had learned so much about myself in that rendez vous, and I had never felt so happy to get back into the dating scene once I got back home.
Next up: Ibiza. Ibiza is just as they describe it, the best party and beach scene in the world. We had no idea what to expect from Ibiza, and we were both fairly young. Our first night of partying was quite the night. We had gone to the biggest club in Ibiza, which was conveniently walking distance from our hotel. Once inside, we situated ourselves by the bar nearest the dance floor. My sister had a plan – get the group of guys next to us to buy us shots. Again, we really should have ended up like the movie “Taken,” and it is a miracle we are alive. Nevertheless, not only did we get shots from the guys next to us, we actually met the entire national German soccer team. My sister definitely claimed the cute one in the group, however I on the other hand could not have chosen someone more different than my taste. Skinny, lanky, tall, and blonde. I have always known I was into darker features, and since we were on vacation, might as well explore my horizons.
After a few hours, and a lot of alcohol, my sister and I were separated and were left alone with the men of our choice. I knew there was one thing on this guy’s mind, get me into his bed as soon as possible. After a long night of dancing, I looked at him and told him, “there are hundreds of girls here, if you want to sleep with me I’m sorry I will not be that girl. You are more than welcome to keep hanging out with me or find someone else.” Right there and then, he just left without a word. Intoxicated, I got insanely emotional; it struck a huge nerve in me. For one, it reminded me of how my ex used to constantly tormented me on how prude I was because I never wanted to be intimate with him, and also it reminded me on how I tolerated guys who left me behind if they did not get what they wanted. This led me to crying all the way back to my hotel, and the next day, I opened up to my sister about the abuse I endured for six months.
From both the guys I had met on my trip, I learned some pretty deep lessons. Sebastion taught me that I am beautiful, smart, capable and that one day I will find someone who values those things about me. That one day, I will be able to be loved unconditionally, and that even though I am not the most beautiful girl in the world, I will be in someone else’s eyes. He cherished the time we had together, and I did as well. Yet, as much as I want to say the German guy taught me to never take abuse from anyone, he also taught me something else. I found my voice. I stood up for myself, and took pride in my body, my mind, my soul and myself as a person. He did not care to know me, we didn’t even speak the same language. I do thank him though, for helping me realize what I’m worth, and how I would not just settle for anyone in my life. At that point, I felt as though I had been settling. Just because you find a connection with someone, no matter if it is for the night or for a lifetime, never settle for less. Remember your worth.
Once I got back home to Los Angeles three days later, I remember being ready to get back into the dating scene again. I was scared, but I knew what I was looking for, and I knew that I would eventually find someone who thought I was worth something.
Have you ever had rendez vous abroad that taught you some lessons?