Spain, you kill me, in the best way.
It’s hot as hell and I do not know what day it is anymore. I’ve lost all sense of time and my calendar no longer runs my life. I stayed up until the sun made an appearance more times than I’ll admit, and have forgotten what eight hours of sleep feels like. I have fully immersed into my temporary stay here in Spain. Schedules around siestas, tapas and sangria add more structure to the day than much else, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I think to myself, “Remember like three weeks ago when schedules, sales reports and work commitments were running your life?” When planning meetings, excessive amounts of caffeine, and long commutes were the highlights of my day. Then…I take a deep breath and smile. Sweet relief overcomes me when I feel the great divide between that world and myself. Can it be this way forever? Probably not, but I plan to milk this travel time for all it is worth.
So far, there have been many bucket list items checked off for me here in Spain (and a few in Portugal) and I’m starting to wonder about making new bucket list checklists. At this rate, I will have nearly everything completed by the end of the year. Time to start dreaming up all that will mean more. What new items shall I add? Perhaps a trip through South Africa or South America? Maybe I will want to work as a tour guide at a museum housing jaw-dropping artwork. Maybe I will try swimming with the sharks and skydiving after all. Things I thought I never could do. Imagine that! What I could accomplish after this year of travel is over. I will be unstoppable. Maybe I already am.
In three weeks I have been to two new countries, stared at works by Picasso and Velasquez, learned (more) Spanish, went to a Royal Palace, witnessed a miracle made by Gaudi called the Sagrada Familia, took over the DJ booth in Lisbon and danced in the middle of circle cheering “Go California!,” rode a motorbike through Porto, skinny dipped in the Mediterranean Sea, and made lifelong friendships. Tuesday I will go Paris and finally see in the real life what was pictured on my walls since I was little girl.
This is life. This is what it was all about when I asked myself that so many times. This is and was the answer. “What is the point?” I would probe my friends and family looking for answers to questions I didn’t fully understand. The rat race had me on all fours asking myself why I bothered. I had the package American society sells us- I had it all. The job, the clothes, the designer this and that, the “status” with society you work to achieve. Everything I set out to do “when I grow up,” I did. I was supposed to be happy according to the rest of the world. I was very lucky- I was told time and again. I didn’t feel lucky though. I felt somewhat fake and shallow, dismissing my true needs and prioritizing things that did not actually matter.
Travel is about so much more than my bucket list and great pictures, though. It’s about a transformative process that is changing the way I see the world and myself. All I have is myself to lean on, without all the materialism to distract me. I see, hear and do things I could never have at home. I see happiness in every color, shape, size and language. I meet people from all around the world who are anxious for more. So many inspiring people have crossed my path. I’m gaining their energy by osmosis. We all just want more…life. And what a difference that sensation is from my life before! More life please!
“You’re so lucky” has turned into “You’re so strong” and “You’re so brave.” I will take those characteristics over materialistic luck any day.