8 days, 1 hour, 2 minutes, 34 seconds. That’s how much time has elapsed since I arrived back home at Pensacola International Airport on Friday evening, the 29thof June at approximately 4:30pm. It’s only been a little over a week; yet, feels like forever ago. How much my life has changed over the course of 8 days, 1 hour, 2 minutes, and 34 seconds.
As much as I would like to say that 8 days, 1 hour, 2 min… after leaving Madrid, Spain, I am still thinking, reading, typing, more importantly, speaking Spanish, I am not. In fact, I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop where I ordered in English, read the menu in English, am listening to American music, and had to drive myself 30 minutes to get here (no easy access to public transportation here!). Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about living in America and I love being home. I’m just observing some cultural differences between my home, Pensacola, Florida, and my was-home-for-a-month, Madrid, Spain.
For the past month, I felt like I was living a dream, except I really was there. As often is the case when I travel, I fall in love with the uniqueness of a destination. It was no different with Madrid. I remember telling my family before I went on my trip that I wanted to move to Madrid when I finished college. After living there for a month, it still holds true, more so than ever before. I could definitely envision myself living in a small apartment in a historic yet modern Spanish building on a small, narrow street, close in proximity to restaurants, bars, stores, and churro stands and a few steps away from a metro stop and one of Madrid’s big public parks. I just need to graduate college, find a job, and move there. But until then, I’m stuck with sitting in this café reminiscing and dreaming of being there on a night like tonight.
THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS! I get excited, plan my trip, go on my trip, sight-see, eat good food, explore the city, live in the present moment, and experience all that my destination has to offer. THEN, I get home and wish I wasn’t home, wishing I was back at my destination. How come this happens every time? If I totally take in the present moment and enjoy being there, then when I get back home I should be satisfied and be present in the moment here too, right? I guess that’s just the traveling spirit and wanderlust inside of me – always wanting to be on a trip, or planning the next one.
When writing this article, I glanced back through the notes app on my phone – where I would jot down spur-of-the-moment thoughts during my trip. On Tuesday afternoon, June 26th, I typed something that still perfectly encapsulates my feelings over a week later: “it’s crazy to think that by the time I go to bed Friday night, I will be back home, in a totally different country, different time zone, surrounded by different people speaking a different language. I guess that’s the beauty of traveling.”
So, if I want to become a world traveler, I better start enjoying all parts and perks of traveling – even the part where I return home and it all comes to an end.