We’ve been back in Spain for only a week now, but it almost feels like we never left, as if the last ten months back in the United States were only a dream. There is something about being in a foreign country, particularly one where I do not know the language, that makes me feel like time is behaving differently. The days here seem to move more slowly than back at home. A day feels like a week. Perhaps it is because my mind is reeling from the overload of trying to comprehend words my eyes and ears do not yet understand. Perhaps it is because the landscape around me appears so different. Or maybe, just maybe, time does play by a different set of rules here, giving me instructions to slow down, relax a little bit more, and to know that whatever the clock may say, there is always time for joy.
I am on the move again, currently flying over the English Channel as dawn breaks over Europe. We will be spending the next two months in Spain, volunteering at hostels serving pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. With travel comes new routines to learn and adapt to, the rhythm of motion and change. I look forward to it and simultaneously wonder how I will react to it this time around. The change I crave often leaves me feeling unsettled and looking for solid ground again.
While traveling, I reach that first place of meaningful discomfort and instead of pushing through it as I would on a long run, I often justify doing something, anything to ease back on the pressure and find some form of stability. This inevitably leads me back to boredom and the desire to go into the unknown once more. It is a cycle that plays on constant repeat in my life.
I want to find my stride out here. I want to become comfortable in my discomfort. I want to embrace it, to accept it for all it has to teach me, to lead me into places I can’t yet imagine. I want discomfort to become a trusted companion, one that is telling me that there is within me or around me something that I need to be aware of, to carefully examine and not instantly flee from. Unless of course, it really is time to turn tail and run.
I find the unknown a frightening place, yet still I am drawn to it. It’s that person I know I should not be attracted to but can’t help myself. As I take each step into a new situation, I can feel the beat of my heart increase, can hear my words coming out faster than normal. Why do I want to put myself into these situations?
Because for me it is far more tolerable than the alternative: an existence of lax comfort and boredom leading to a withering away of my days.
Based in part on a journal entry from 4.16.15
Flashes of insight in the sunset,
wish I could remember what they were.
Trying to hold them slipping through fingers like water.
We are everything. Everything is us.
Swirls, eddys, of energy that come together and dissipate.
A simple life. That’s all I want.
I watch the sun as it goes up
I watch it as it sets
Yea, this is as good as it gets
Colin Hay, Beautiful World
Journal entry 03.29.14