A lot of times when I return from my trips, I immediately throw myself into as much work as possible. Even though I have avoided doing that for the most part… it has now been almost two weeks since my vacation. Usually my travel life and my home life are so compartmentalized that it is hard to really think about or talk about travel when I’m home. But my time in Spain was very different, and has left me with a lot to think about. Perhaps because the Spain portion of the trip was a true vacation to places I hadn’t visited before and Richard and I had the luxury of making very few decisions for ourselves. What a relief! But we were also able to really immerse ourselves in Spanish culture thanks to our dear friend Jose, whom I know through Sebastian Professional. He is one of the most positive and passionate people I know. His friends, likewise, were an incredible bunch, so worldly and creative. We were truly blessed to have such a wonderful bunch to help us really experience Spain.
There was so much incredible food. I could really go for some paella right now. And beautiful architecture, beautiful homes. The views, the fields and the crops. But mostly there was such a feeling of balance and connection. Everything fit together. The world felt smaller, but in a comfortable way. The deep connection people had with their communities, it was really beautiful. Something that I think we Americans can be a little bit too busy to appreciate. And it isn’t a matter of Spanish culture being better, but just that there are little things I wanted to take back and incorporate into my life here. The USA is a very different sort of country, it doesn’t have the history, and everyone who came here to leave came for a reason, be it problems back home or just an adventurous spirit, so it makes sense that there would be less of a tie to our local communities and our landscape.
But there is one thing about our culture that was really clear to me while I was spending time in Spain. How obsessed our culture is with being busy. I know a lot of people who would say Europeans are lazy and that is the cause for the current economic situation… I would say that from my experience that people do work well and work hard, and that economic problems are more related to issues within the government (but I won’t get into that). They just aren’t obsessed with working, or with talking about how much they work. I don’t know how many twisted one-uppers I encounter every week, who I say “I’ve been working a lot…” to and they say some formulation of “I’ve been working more…” Like a combination of wanting to be more impressive and wanting to be more miserable. And I know Richard and I are certainly guilty of overworking ourselves. I love my work, but I realized it should not be a point of pride to schedule work seven days a week. It’s ok to do it sometimes, but it shouldn’t make me feel like it makes me superior. But for the most part I am leaving more open space in my schedule and I truly feel like a weight has been lifted, like I am not being a lazy degenerate for only working six days a week.
That said, we did have one extremely busy day in Madrid, before driving off towards the coast. We saw three major museums and so many world masterpieces… I don’t fully understand all of the glory my eyes took in. It was incredible.
A lot of gorgeous hair in Spain, too. In Europe what I would consider a light or medium brown seems to be considered blonde, but I kinda like that because there was more of an appreciation and attention to detail with regards to “moderate” hair colors. A lot of relaxed long hair styles, and the men were very fashionable everywhere I went.