When We Travel

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When we travel, when we force ourselves to step outside the cage our routine creates, when we escape our securities and for a while allow ourselves to revel in our lack of knowledge, to become a stranger, to feel the unknown and embrace it, things begin to happen.

The world becomes new again.  The earth, the only place we ever called home is suddenly a mystery that we never really knew.  All of the ideas we were so set on become confused.  Our knowledge, once armor, is only a barrier keeping us attached to a way of thinking that no longer applies and we find ourselves lost.  Our spirits, the master adapters, are stripped bare of their securities and become as new and exposed as the new land ahead of us, and we realize we’d never really been introduced.  We find that, just as we do not know the world, we do not know ourselves, and with realization we are presented with the opportunity to discover the people we really are.

It’s weird at first.  It’s uncomfortable to look at yourself in the mirror and only recognize the shell.  You will make thousands of mistakes.  You will take countless wrong turns or find yourself looking for a person that doesn’t exist.  You will be forced to rely on a place within your soul that you didn’t know existed, a part of yourself that had been missing your whole life.

And once we find that person, once we hear that whisper and find that we’ve had all the answers this whole time, we can never go back.  The world becomes small and our potential immeasurable and we realize that we are responsible for defining our purpose.  Once that voice begins to speak we have an obligation to listen, to follow our hearts and see our dreams through.  Sometimes you have to travel a long way to discover the secret you’ve had your whole life, but once you do, you can never go back.  So, leap into the unknown.  Like Alexander Dumas says, “It’s only the first step that’s the hardest.”

Fact: You Can Have a Bad Day Abroad

Bad days happen no matter where you are so it’s important to remember that you may encounter a bad day while on your adventure abroad.  I’m currently in Madrid, and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been redefining my original definition of “do less, leisure more.”  I’ve been sleeping in, exploring the cities, writing more articles, reading more books, taking full advantage of the siesta, and partying like a real Spaniard.  My biggest complaint is that I can’t find Siracha at the supermarket. 

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Toledo, Spain – a City in a Castle

 

February 2, 2014

{The sad part was that I woke up homesick because I was going to be missing my brother’s birthday and Superbowl Sunday.  I didn’t really care about the game, to be honest.  I mean, I wanted the Broncos to beat the Seahawks, but I sort of checked out two weeks ago when the Niners lost.  Regardless, I was homesick.  My family always has a party and I was missing all my cousins and brother and sister.  I woke up exhausted, and still feeling the effects of the WORST DAY EVER (link), but I was excited because there were people down to explore TOLEDO!}

To give you some background, Toledo is this cool suburb of Madrid and former capitol of Spain.  It’s this architecturally beautiful city because it’s a melting pot of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish culture. During the medieval times, Toledo was known for it’s handcrafted swords and daggers and became the leading distributor for weapons to the crown.  The city is surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River, which really helped them out in the medieval times when everyone was trying to conquer everyone else.  This allowed Toledo to become a haven for religious freedom during a time when tolerance was uncommon.

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La Rambla and La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

 

IMG_1283We all overslept on the Saturday following our first night out in Barcelona.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m a brat about sleep and hostiles definitely take some getting used to.   When we all finally woke up and ate our massive American style hangover breakfasts, we went straight to La Rambla.

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DO Date a Girl Who Travels

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(a response to https://medium.com/better-humans/802c49b9141c)

She’s the one who doesn’t think twice about hair straighteners and curling irons.  She’s content with her waves and braids.  It’s one less thing to not think about when she’s not planning her next day.  While others are getting ready for the night, she’s off seizing the day.

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How to Score a Sandwich in Barcelona

(If you don’t want to know, don’t read it.)

Step by Step.

1.)  Go to La Rambla.  It’s located right off of Plaza Catalunya.  You can’t miss it.

2.)  Identify someone selling beer.  They sell more than beer.

3.)  Approach and inquire.  They will tell you to meet them off the main street.

4.)  Find the nearest bushes in the alley where they told you to meet.  Walk to them.

5.)  Search the bushes.  Have you ever played Zelda?  Link has to go cut bushes to find rupees.  This is the same.

6.)  Locate the sandwiches.  They will be hidden

7.)  GTFO.  Bounce before the guy gets there. 

8.)  Enjoy your sandwich.  Watch out for sandwich haters.

My experience.

I was walking back with Sora around 4am.  I desperately needed water, so we decided to combine my search for water with a hunt for sandwiches.  In our drunken states, we went up to a few people and asked if they knew where we could find any, to no avail.  Finally, some sketchy little round man came up and said he could help us.  He told us to meet us in the alley off the main street.  We watched him walk towards a potted plant in the alley square and looked around in the bushes.  Eventually, he came up on a small bag of sandwich.  We made the trade and GTFO.  In the future I’m just going to the giving bush and finding it myself.

It is much easier in Madrid.