I got to the train station with just minutes to spare, purchased my ticket, loaded my luggage and took my seat on the bus. It all felt very familiar. I had been here 3 weeks to the day ago, but this time, I was heading on an even wilder adventure than before. I wasn’t tired so I couldn’t sleep. A cold was growing in me and so I sniffled my way through the six hours, cognizant of the near by passengers and the annoying and slightly grotesque noise of being the constant sniffer. We passed by land that reminded me of northern California and some that reminded me of the arid places that rest just outside of San Diego.
We paused about two hours into our drive and people got coffee, snacks and enjoyed sitting and stretching. Not one person carries a coffee with them, coffee is meant to be enjoyed while sitting. Like many other habits of European culture and specifically Spanish culture, lingering is not a waste of time, but a way of living. It is one part of my experience that I will miss and hope to adopt in my every day living.
I made it to Madrid. I knew how to find my hotel and even get directions in Spanish. I am proud of my Spanish skills. They are kindergarten at best, but I was a toddler just learning to talk when I first visited Spain in 2013, so I will take kindergarten.
By the time I got in my hotel room I was exhausted. I took a nap that lasted nearly until nightfall. I ordered room service and fell asleep again. The next day I woke up, walked to a little coffee shop I had seen on line that looked enticing, walked back, took a nap, and headed out again. My senses couldn’t take much more in. I was tired, in about every way a person could be tired. But I was also alive, like the color yellow, but more of a mustard rather than a canary. Still alive, but muted by the exhaustion of being out of my context, missing my people, not feeling well, and the traveling… UGH bus rides can be so tiresome.
I walked that evening, seeing a palace, an old cathedral, some gardens, a fountain and the loud evidence of consumerism that drew people to the shops and restaurants lining the streets approaching the larger historical sights. The sights didn’t captivate me, for I think there comes a time when I can take in no more and I had hit that place a few days earlier.
The larger adventure that awaited me was calling me and was louder than the sights and sounds of the city. The larger adventure that was calling me, was my every day life back home. I knew that awaiting me at home were people, there was work, there was a home, unfinished projects, and dreams not yet realized all inviting me to it. My time in Spain was a reminder of the every day adventure I get to live, right here in Englewood, Colorado.
I think at times it is easy to think if I lived somewhere else, or could visit this or that place, or was able to participate in this or that thing that the adventure of my life would increase. Often, we see others who venture off often, traveling, seeing the world, starting new things, conquering fears and nomadically living as the adventuresome ones. They are the ones who are really living! I would think… But I’ve come to know, that the greatest adventures happen in the every day nature of living. When consistency and normalcy root me and invite me into depths of relationship that only happen when staying put.
Home is the place that has pulled my roots in and caused them to grow. Home holds the most beautiful life and adventures and to be honest, I am so glad to be here and to know I won’t be leaving for quite some time.
The adventures I’ve lived in Spain or traveling here and there for work, have been beautiful and have enhanced my life for good. The life I live in my home, in my neighborhood, in my city, with the same people… this one, has lefts its mark on me and has shaped and changed me and continues to do so. As I head for bed tonight, after having had dinner with my neighbors, people I see multiply times a week, I am glad to be home, to be rooted….. to belong.