“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin
On September 21st, I leave the comforts of St. Pete and start a new adventure. I’ve kept it quiet this time, not to exclude or alienate, but to wait until I received the coveted visa. The tiny piece of paper that has eluded my grasp two years prior and caused me great shame is now securely in my new 52-paged passport, this time it is for Spain, and not the UK. I won a teaching fellowship and for the next eight-months I will be living, studying, and working in A Coruna, Galicia Spain.
The glorious bit about this opportunity is that it will undoubtedly beget another adventure. Beyond proximity to the rest of Europe, the UK, and Africa, I plan on traveling all over Spain this year, for sure. I could stay on and teach summer school and/or continue for another year. I might work for the grant next year. I could go to another country and teach or continue my education. I may return home next summer, and then again, I may not. I really cannot say what the future will bring and that’s the way I want it. Endless possibilities for travel and exploration.
A year ago I left on my first big solo adventure. I backpacked and befriended. I stumbled and fell. I cried tears of joy. I sprained my ankle by just walking ancient streets. I cried tears of frustration. I was lost, cold, and wet. I was found again and again. The slings and arrows of exploration were to be expected and anticipated. I never thought those months would leave such an indelible mark until I shared my journey via two personal essay series Euro Stories and Travelogues.
There, in black and white, it sunk in: I’m a traveller.
I’ve always had wanderlust yet for some reason the idea of vacations domestically and abroad seemed beyond my budget. When I have managed to save a pittance, a family emergency would suddenly crop up. No wonder I was so unhappy for so long. I was trapped in a lifestyle that never suited me. I could never sit at a desk, perform clerical tasks for a corporation, and feel satisfied. I could barely sit still. But I wedged myself into that role and weathered the worst recession of my lifetime. I survived but at a high emotional cost.
I put myself back together and emerged vastly different. Through therapy, the past is happily in the past free of guilt and shame. I’m no longer a victim with a distorted view. Turns out I was the architect of my misfortune. Misery was in the design from the start. But now, I am untethered and free of all of the baggage I was carrying around. I feel lighter than air and my skin is covered with a tingling exuberance like nicotine high without the cigarette. My anxiety and nervousness has been reduced to a low hum.
Is this how “normal” people feel?
As I pack up my life, I notice that I have held onto a lot of miscellaneous stuff that no longer belongs in my new life. I have purged clothing, electronics, and artifacts of the past. I have saved some things, of course, my jewelry, books, records, and Simon, a fat tuxedo, kitty cat will all reside with my dad until further notice. No telling when that will be, but at least, I know that the remnants of my tangible life is in good hands.
In the meantime, I’m taking a carry-on and mailing a few items (a few sweaters, a heavy coat, and boots) since it will get cold in Northern Spain during winter. I’ve learned to keep it simple, avoid over-thinking, and embrace a new culture, language, and country.
This blog will continue on as a single thread continuing from my former life. Keep an eye out for post and pictures of my new Spanish Life.