Satisfaction. This is the best way to describe what I’m feeling inside as I leave Barcelona. I wouldn’t have done one thing differently in my four day visit and that’s the first time I can say such a thing upon departure from a city. Usually there is some sort of hold up somewhere that is annoying and keeps me from doing what I want to do or there is negotiating with someone I’m traveling with that keeps me from seeing something I want to see or doing something I want to do. Maybe the best thing about traveling alone is that we are responsible for making ourselves happy when we are alone, so if something isn’t working for us, we have the freedom to change that thing quickly. I discovered soon after arriving in Barcelona that while I do crave alone time while traveling, I revel in the camaraderie of strangers and find joy in making new friends. This must be why my inner guide spoke so loudly to me the last time I traveled, telling me to enjoy my friends on our trip together, but to make sure to go alone the next time I plan a trip. Leaving Barcelona, with a handful of new friends, I’m quite grateful that I took heed to her advice.
When you get yourself outside of your comfort zone, you learn a lot of new things about what kind of stuff you’re made of. At least this was the case with me. I didn’t know until I put myself in the unfamiliar, the unknown, that I’m no longer holding resentments against people who get to go to college and get good careers and travel while they’re at it. That resentment was there for a long time. A good ten years at least. But, surrounded by 22-25 year olds on holiday from various Universities around Europe, I learned that I don’t have that resentment anymore. In fact, I like them and I’m quite sure that they like me. The ten year age gap doesn’t matter, nor does the fact that they’re drinking beer and I’m drinking soda or coffee, we are all just enjoying our time together and sharing stories of our travels. I like them all very much and am grateful for their company. Somewhere along the way, I forget that I haven’t known them for more than 24 hrs and am almost shocked at how quickly we’ve bonded. What shocks me the most is how comfortable I am with these new friends of mine I am. Usually around a group of educated people, I feel less than, unworthy, etc. But I feel confidence, self-worth, and acceptance for the decisions that have gotten me to the table full of Paella that we share in Barceloneta. Just thinking of it kind of makes me want to cry. It feels like only yesterday that it required at least three drinks to get me to feel anything that like the confident, capable woman that I’m figuring out I am. I know she’s always been hiding inside. I’m just so grateful she didn’t disappear forever. And I’m grateful for those that have been guiding me to her.
Anyway, it’s obvious that Barcelona was a great success. In reality, I didn’t see very much, but I feel like I saw quite a lot. Yesterday was packed full of adventures, including a free walking tour of the Gothic Area. Lots of neat, interesting things to see on that little tour. I did the tour with two of my new friends, Julian and Dan, and the three of us had lunch at a cafe after the tour was over. I had the most divine salad of my life at that cafe. I pretty much can’t stop thinking about it, it was so good. Fresh tomatoes and olives, with a a slice of creamy goat cheese that was cooked on top, like creme brulee. It had this amazing sweet, crispy crust that was so delicious with the tomatoes and olives. Very unusual and super delicious. After lunch, I met up with another one of my new friends, an American named Cecil. He and I took the bus up to Parc Guel to see some of Gaudi’s work. It was a great way to spend the rest of the daylight hours…great views of the city, lots of neat stuff to look at, good photo ops, and great people watching. I wasn’t really all that impressed by what I saw of Gaudi’s work at the park, I was more impressed by the view of city and too busy trying to warm up. I had planned on following Cecil to La Sagrada Familia after we left the park, but I was too cold and needed to go rest my feet. So glad I chose to do that because I more than likely would not have gone inside the Cathedral today if I had gone with him, and the inside of that Cathedral was the most impressive piece of art I’ve ever seen. I ended up getting the guided tour, which is not something that I usually do, but I’m so glad I did today. I learned a lot of stuff about Gaudi’s life and where he got his inspiration. I felt more connected to him after listening to the guide and I felt a strong bond with what he envisioned with this magical work of art. I wish I could have spent more time there, but I had to rush to catch my train. The idea of seeing it completed would absolutely bring me back to Barcelona. That would be magnificent. It is not projected to be completed until 2023. So crazy.
I’m currently riding a packed train through the Spanish countryside to Seville. The lady in front of me has a baby that won’t stop crying and the lady next to me took my window seat and her phone won’t stop beeping, but nothing is really bothering me that much because there is an outlet so I can charge my Ipad, while I listen to music and get some of these feelings out. What is that thing I heard once? “When you’re full of gratitude, there is no room for resentment”?Yep, it’s true. Not much could ruffle my feathers right now. I’m so excited to get to Seville. I’m going to eat the hell out of some Tapas and see what else comes my way. I know a long bike ride is definitely on the agenda. I’ve been eating whatever comes my way and I’m scared about how I’ll be feeling once I get on the beach in Portugal later this week. Also, my feet will probably enjoy the break. I cannot believe I’m only three nights into this trip. I still have two weeks ahead of me! So rad.