One week in Barcelona. One week of daily adventuring. One week of figuring out how to use the metro. One week of wandering the small, crowded streets downtown while admiring captivating architecture. One week of meeting new people and building new relationships. One week of trying new foods. One week of getting lost.
One week of moving in and out of hotels and finding a place to live. One week of speaking only Spanish. One week of daily cafè con leche and lingering around in foreign restaurants. One week of being submersed in a new culture.
As I am surrounded by a hundred unfamiliar faces in the city, I try to soak it all in. I am here, I made it. The lifestyle is different here. I am not accustomed to city life. I am not accustomed to public transportation or being enveloped by clumps of human beings at a time. My social anxiety starts to unfold, but this time I don’t let it. I find my way around. I embrace the unfamiliarity and the new faces. I embrace the change. I think that the hardest thing for people to let go of is their sense of comfort. But traveling gives you a feeling of uncertainty that is far more electrifying than being complacent in your own amenities. And I can get used to that.
Earlier this week, I was looking through old e-mails and I found some dated around this time two years back. In these messages I was reaching out to people, some that I knew and others that I found on the internet: travelers, world trekkers, adventurers, photographers. I was almost desperately inquisitive about their way of life and I asked them to help me. I remember two years ago and my desire to escape, my thirst for freedom. I remember feeling like I was stuck in that monotonous cycle of working at multiple different jobs which I hated, to pay for bills that I didn’t understand for things that I didn’t need.
I remember finding myself in other people’s words. I remember writing, “I would pack my bags and leave tonight if I could” to a blogger I met online. And sitting on that wine stained queen-sized mattress in my Florida apartment. Restless yet awfully still, trying to find an escape within myself that at times it became unhealthy. I felt stuck. Remembering that feeling sits so still in the pit of my stomach and I can count the number of times I’ve felt that way. I remember doing a lot of research, trying to come up with a realistic way to enliven my wandering, broken soul and mend it.
A few weeks later I decided I would teach abroad in Spain. After ending some relationships that no longer served me and making a few other life-changing decisions, I became enveloped in a relationship that I didn’t want to end at all, and all of a sudden I felt like I was living in a house with no doors and leaving felt almost fleeting and unattainable. I had almost completely lost track of my ambition and in a way, of myself. When that fell apart, I knew I had to manifest opportunity. I planned my move to Barcelona. I let more relationships build around me but knew that this is intrinsically what I need to do right now, and that whoever loves me will understand that, and that sometimes leaving allows for more openness and honesty than if it did not exist at all.
And so here I am, my first time trekking the world alone and not alone at the same time. Making connections with people who are different from me and the same from me. Watching the world emerge, slowly, and looking at it through different eyes, and being present in it.