September 25, 2016 Jameela 36Comment
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I just got back from a trip to Cuba. I traveled there alone. What?! Alone? Yes, all by myself.

You may be asking. Jameela why did you decide to travel to Cuba alone? There are a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to go to Cuba before all the Americans got there and spoiled the country. Those pesky capitalists with their market-economy. I envisioned a Starbucks and McDonalds on every corner in Havana by the time the American consumer culture crept into every facet of Cuban life.

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Second, I booked this flight at the height of my sleep deprivation. I was breastfeeding and I woke up every night at 1AM, 3AM, 5AM and 7AM. It was horrible! I decided I needed a break. I gave a few hints that I would be going away. Then, one day, I got up and booked my flight! I posted my itinerary on the fridge and happily announced that I was leaving.

As the days crept closer I seriously considered canceling. I started questioning what kind of mother I was. How could I leave the babies behind for 7 whole days?! When I stepped onto the plane I thought to myself “Omg Jameela, you are doing this. OMG. OMG!” I haven’t been anywhere alone, ever. For the past 4 years, I have always had a little human or husband by my side. But now I was FREE.

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Traveling to Cuba Alone As a Mother/Woman

Traveling alone as a mother is liberating. You wake up when you want. Do what you want. Eat what you want. Wear what you want. The list goes on.

The evening I got to Cuba I walked around in Varadero by myself just taking photos. No one bothered me at all! I was wearing super short shorts and a tank top. I got the occasional “Hola” by some guy, but all I had to do was say “Hola” and walk away. I walked around with my Nikon camera until well after the sunset and only one person asked me for money (I’m not 100% sure if he was a vagrant/homeless/mentally ill or any of the above, but he had tattered clothing and was searching through the garbage can) asked me for money. I felt super safe. I felt so safe that I want to tell you a little story.

I met a couple on the plane ride to Cuba, and they invited me out to the Beatles Bar (a super Canadian/tourist bar in Varadero) the next night. In Varadero, there is a very well planned (thanks, communism) tourist network to connect all the government-owned resorts. There is a bus that costs 5CUC that will take you into town. It stops running a 9PM. Of course, at around 10PM, I start heading into town. In Ghana, the taxis try and rip you off if they see you coming out of a hotel.  I also was told by my aunt that she jumped on the local buses when she traveled to Cuba. I thought to myself, I am going to go to the main road to catch a cab or a bus. I am sure it will be a reasonable price and a good experience.

I walk in the dark to the main road and proceed to flag down a cab. I try for what I feel like is a while, but all the cabs all full. I see no buses either. Crap! What am I going to do? Thinking back to my research on Cuba, I remember reading that hitchhiking is a thing. Perfect. I start flagging down random cars. After about three one stops! YAY!

I get in and inside is a guy from Spain who works in Cuba. I immediately ask how much he is going to charge me since I don’t want any misunderstandings when I get to my destination. He says it won’t be anything. Sweet. I just scored a free ride. I love free stuff!

Walking Alone at Night in Cuba

I roamed around and finally found my “friends”. Drinks were only 2CUC (like 3CAD), so we drank a few until it was time to go home. They went their way and I went mine and I safely found transportation back to the resort (20CUC – a 30-minute ride).

Anyway, the moral of the story is that it is super safe to be in Cuba alone. I am here to tell the tale. I made it there and back after all.

Hopefully, the next time I post, I can share some other things about being on a resort alone and traveling to Havana from the resort. For now here are some Varadero photos!

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36 thoughts on “Traveling to Cuba Alone When You are a Young Mother

  1. First of all, I give you credit for traveling without your kids! I am working on the whole “me time” thing and your story is very inspiring! Cuba looks beautiful, as well! I think the fact that you went into the experience with a positive attitude made a huge difference!

    1. Thanks! I did. At day 2 I was like “aaaawe I miss my babies. They would really like the water” BY day 5 I was kind of ready to go home. I think what made it worse was that I didn’t have easy access to internet. I had a nightmare one night that my youngest started talking in the time I was away! lol

  2. When my son was small, I traveled for work one or two nights a week. I enjoyed the time to myself. I usually took my scrapbooking stuff with me and worked on it in the hotel. No hitchhiking for me! I guess I’m boring 😉

  3. as much as I’d love to do it I’m so scared to travel anywhere alone…I really want to visit Cuba and its always been one of my dream vacations

    1. It is! In parts of Canada hitchhiking is illegal! It is interesting how the well-being/transportation needs of individuals in society is placed into law in Cuba.

  4. Travelling Cuba sounds great but yes, the real trick is travelling as a mother. I am a mother and I know how difficult it is managing it with kids.

  5. As a mom, sometimes you just really need a break and some time for yourself too to rejuvenate. I think it’s awesome that you went on this trip alone, you got to spend some me-time and relax without anyone asking for you to take care of them first!

    1. Thanks Mai! You are right: a lot of times mothers take care of everyone around them and never themselves. I liked just looking after me for a week 🙂

  6. Sounds like a fabulous trip! You are so brave traveling alone. I don’t think I could do it. Well I probably could but I don’t think I would want to 🙂

  7. I am so glad that you got to experience it before it became consumed by consumerism. Even Madeira where my parents are from, a little island is full of Maccy D’s and Burger Kings, I hate it. You deserved this trip away for sure xx

    1. Thanks so much. Ugh! I am sorry to hear about your parent’s island. It is sad that we like to overtake other cultures and impose our own. There are so many times I hear “OMG, I went to Mexico and they didn’t speak English!” I think those who like their burgers and fries need to stay home!

  8. It is a wonderful idea to go off by yourself from time to time! Especially if you’re a mom, I think mothers needs some alone time away from husbands and kids. Mothers are humans, too after all! They get tired!

  9. Cuba is such a beautiful place we visited there with the family a few years back. I loved seeing the locals and appreciating how they live

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