Sunday, January 6, 2013

Alone, but not lonely

I arrive early to the airport on my way home from Dublin. It's the absolute best place for people-watching, so I tend to sit like a five-year-old by the window, watching planes take-off and land, while eavesdropping on conversations in various languages.

(Is it considered eavesdropping if I can't understand?)

My hair is askew with a mind of it's own, I'm sure. My face is weathered from days of squinting (forgot my glasses) and facing the harsh winds of Ireland. Yet there's still a smile on my face.

It's my first time traveling without a friend or family member by my side. Despite this, I never once feel a tinge of loneliness.

If I had traveled with someone I knew, I think, I wouldn't have met so many fascinating people that live to wander as I do.

The first day in Dublin, I met a lovely person from Brazil. He taught me a hodgepodge of words in Portuguese and how to imitate the Brazilian pronunciation. I blushed and laughed as I botched each and every word. He grinned as he helped me improve my accent.

A few days later, as I sat down to charge my phone in the lobby of my hostel, a group of people from Croatia, Italy, and England joined me within minutes to talk about music, life, school, travel. Though we had little in common, our passion for aimless ambling drives the conversation.

I find out my sweet friend Emily from my hometown in California is visiting family in Dublin at the same time I am vacationing. She had just recently been in Australia, so we had a chance to exchange our crazy study abroad experiences while laughing over a Guinness at the factory.

In terms of meeting people and broadening your cultural viewpoint, staying at a hostel is the most amazing experience a young person can have. For those of you who have never done it, I think it would benefit your travels greatly if you have it a shot. You'll share cross-continental jokes, swap anecdotes of missed trains and crazy people. You'll open up to a person you met two hours before and become emotionally vulnerable without anxiety. If you travel alone, you won't be lonely.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Being away from Madrid for nine days was, for lack of a better word, odd.

Everything in California felt familiar. The smell of my sheets fresh out of the dryer (oh, how I had missed having a dryer). The sound of my dog barking when there's a knock on the door. The hugs from my family members. It all stayed strong in my memory.

However, these memories are now mixed with those from Madrid, my second home. And I really do feel that I've found my niche here. Almost every Monday and Tuesday, my favorite Madrid ladies and I sit outside the school cafeteria to eat lunch, talking about politics, complaining about boys, laughing loudly as we crack jokes like the wise-asses we are. They smoke and I drink coffee after coffee, shaking with a caffeine overload. Ordering cafĂ© con leche has become my own version of smoking cigarettes.

When we have lunch all together, talking about anything that pops up in our heads, I feel as comfortable as I do in my childhood house. I've never had two homes before, but things change as I age.

Upon the arrival of the new year, I've been thinking about where I will call "home" next. I've just signed up to take a TEFL class so I can teach English abroad. My goal is to teach in Brazil, the land of unknown family members and a beautiful language.

Hopefully, I'll be able to find myself a third home.

In love

After all this travel, I have fallen in love with humankind. While there are some individuals that cause me to waver in that love, as a whole, I’m smitten.

I’m in love with the idea of being able to communicate with simple gestures: With a touch to say I'm sorry, two kisses on each cheek to say hello, a hug to say I missed you, a smile to thank someone. All without saying one word.

Because in reality, words are nothing without expression of the face and body. That said, I'm in love with learning new words. There's beauty in language and in the ability to communicate with another person using man-made rules about how you can utilize your voice.

I’m in love with discovering new places. I’ve fallen in love with things I don’t know, I can’t explain, I can’t see.

I have absolutely no idea  what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.
All I know is that I don’t want to know. I’m in love with not knowing.