A Refreshing Solo Getaway to Newcastle
Growing up, my parents seemed to present me with two options for summer holidays - either summer school or a trip to London or the US of A - specifically Maryland, New York or Texas. Whenever it was the latter, the trip was characterized with a few days of visiting tourist attractions, staying with cousins and going out with my mum to carry shopping bags.
Truth be told: although I enjoyed traveling out of Nigeria, pushing a shopping cart and eating McDonald’s regularly, I couldn't help but get bored of the routine as I as I grew older.
So once I started working and making my own coins, I was determined to travel and explore new places. And so unlike our typical London and America loving parents, it makes me so excited to see the new wave of adventurous young Nigerians exploring countries and cities way outside our typical radar.
A few months ago, I noticed I was constantly on the edge. I started breaking out really badly and was extremely cranky for weeks unending. This was totally against my 2018 happiness journey. I craved serenity and wanted to be far away from Lagos. I proceeded to book my leave - a lot of which I'd piled up (use your holiday entitlement people - even if you only stay at home to calm your nerves. It's your right!) and go on a well deserved vacation which was to include some me time.
I knew I wanted to explore other cities in England and it had to be done alone. I researched a couple cities I had not visited in England, matched it up with the atmosphere I wanted and weighed my options. I spent a good amount of time reading travel blogs too.
Voila! I settled on Newcastle.
When I mentioned this to a friend, her first reaction was “who do you know there?”. Certainly not the reaction she expected - but this only made me more pumped. I wanted a place I knew no one and I could be free.
Instantly, I booked my train ticket and made a hotel reservation. As a bargain hunter, I scored some good deals. Finally, I had something to look forward too and instantly started a mental countdown.
And so in the spirit of living my best life, off I went to Newcastle!
For the three hours train ride from London Kings Cross station I armed myself with drinks, snacks and Shonda Rhimes' book, Year of Yes - which I'd seen Kachee reading on Instagram - the title fit in nicely with my living my best life goal. I spent the train ride reading and soaking up the different places we passed.
As I walked out of the Newcastle central train station, I instantly fell in love with the city. It had a old town twist with a modern vibe. I was surrounded by historic buildings with pubs and restaurants on the ground floor.
I jumped in my Uber and arrived at my hotel which was by the Quay. So, guess who was offered a free upgrade from the standard room to a Suite! Yes, me. I was so pumped and headed straight to the ‘grand room’. My room had a view of the Quay, huge windows and a super comfortable bed. I have a fetish for good hotels with a good ambience and lighting in the room. I often feel like I could just stay there forever.
Newcastle was serene! I felt revitalized. Taking walks by the river had such a therapeutic effect. The city was perfect for walking. The city center was bubbly with an array of restaurants. I spent 4 days in Newcastle most of which were filled with lounging in bed, binge watching TV shows, reflecting, eating and walking around town. I even got to do things I had not done in a while - like going to the hotel spa in my for a deep tissue massage and facials.
It was all incredibly worth it - I felt super calm and relaxed. Now, I'm definitely excited to discover other cities in England and Scotland and it’s on my to do list for the upcoming year. Sometimes all you really need is to unplug, reset and recharge in a place without distractions or familiar faces.
And here's my tip when in a new city: Ditch taxis or public transport as much as you can. Walk a lot to discover the hidden gems of the city, explore the local environment and also to save money!
Have you tried taking some time away on your own? Where did you go and how did it feel?