I’d like to paint a picture for you all in which I am always a carefree traveler, my possessions light on my back and my feet light on the ground, dashing across this fair world of ours with nary a worry or obstacle in my way. Huzzah!
In a reality that will surprise approximately no one, that’s not always how it goes.
While we’re making confessions, there’s something else you should know about me. I’m…kind of a city person.
This doesn’t mean I refuse to set foot in any place without at least six Starbucks and 500,000 people complaining about public transit. One of the best summers of my life was spent in Kaikoura, a teensy-weensy coastal town in New Zealand. My parents started taking me and my sister camping all over the United States before we could walk. Hell, I spent twelve weeks in the Australian outback, chasing cows in a helicopter and showering in water our host wouldn’t use to clean his car. I am no stranger to dirt, isolation, or small-town life.
I’m a bit of an imposter when it comes to this whole “outdoor flea market” thing – it’s time I just came out and said it.
In my dreams, I stroll through such markets at a leisurely pace, lovingly eyeing old rotary phones and vinyl records, chatting to the stallkeepers who have worked there for decades, and then magically discover something breathtaking that I will cherish forever (/sell to someone else for 100x what I paid).
I’m fairly certain we didn’t plan on visiting Montjuïc at sunset.
After all, Simon and I had just arrived in the northern hemisphere for the first time in two years via three planes and more than thirty hours of traveling. We didn’t even know what season we were in, let alone what time the sun would set.
After living in the US, New Zealand, and Australia, moving to Europe takes some adjustment.
I mean, I’m used to space. I’m used to great distances, usually made of water, in between me and other people. When I move from one country to another, I’m used to grand trips, long immigation lines, annoying customs forms, and habitually ridding myself of half of my possessions so I can fit everything I own into one suitcase. For four years, this was normal life.