It’s been a dream of mine to visit Europe since I graduated college. I figured that’s what brave people do. You don a backpack, get a Eurail pass, and a buddy and off you go!
Nearly 30 years have passed. Finally, I am here.
In accord with my youthful dream, I bought a new travel backpack – so proud of my adventuresome self. The first day, I realized that my rolling carryon would have been easier – especially when toting around a bottle of wine and more clothes than necessary. My friend Gina told me yesterday… think about the place you will be staying the longest and bring just enough clothes to change out for those few days. Ahhhh. I like it.
I also discovered that while public transportation is a good idea, its not the easiest when you’ve booked rural stays. I didn’t book every night and lo and behold that made me edgier than my free-falling, rambling road trips. I probably should have brushed up on my Spanish or looked up some phrases in French, but Google has a great translator. Traveling alone I do get to make all the calls, but I miss someone to share it with. That’s a thing I need to remember – when you’re doing something for the first time, you will make mistakes and for once I’m letting mistakes be okay. Perfection is NOT the end all be all. Mistakes are not a bad word.
Ancestry.com says that I’m 33% French, so I came to the town of Perpignan and staying in the most delightful apartment where a neighbor is playing cello and I can delight at the sounds of neighbors. I could stay in this apartment all day or I might take the bus to the beach. The French intimidate me. Would it be so bad if I didn’t go out?
Most of my life I have challenged myself to live by the motto, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – a quote by Neale Donald Walsh. The true blessing of turning 51 is that I can begin to see I don’t need to be that uncomfortable all the time. It’s okay, not lazy, to be cozy. And when my discomfort arises from my own humanity and mistakes I need to let that go.
Tomorrow I return to Barcelona and then the Catalan countryside where I will make more mistakes, but perhaps I can call them adventures or something gentle and sweet. I just hope I make my plane!! And when I return home, I can be kinder to those who don’t risk and much more accommodating to international travelers (especially my AirBnB guests!) It’s not easy to be living on the edge and we could all do with a bit more tenderness.