As I sit here writing this while eating my boiled eggs over tomatoes and drinking my carmel tea… I asked myself the question, “What have I learned on this trip so far?” — it’s been two solid months since I’ve departed from my comfortable and “normal” life in the United States. I left with nothing but a 45 liter backpack full of clothes and things….and an idea to “travel Europe”. Prior to my departure I found it overwhelming when people would ask, “Where do you want to go?” — I felt like I needed some sort of definitive answer or “plan”. Saying “EVERYWHERE” just sounded a bit vague to me- but that was the truth! In prior years of traveling (aka the typical standard American week long vacation), I ALWAYS had a plan. Go home to visit family for a week (when I was living in Cali). Go on a cruise. Go to the beach for a weekend. It wasn’t til August of 2013 when I was moving back to Pennsylvania that I decided to employ the “just wing it method”. It felt very free. Very spontaneous. Very ME. My plan was no plan – just go with the flow and see where life takes me.
After a very successful and adventurous month long journey across the USA (I only paid for 3 hotels in that time period… AND I was traveling with my dog!), I knew I had officially adopted the “Wing it method” as my travel style of choice. It just makes sense to me. Pack a bag and just go for it! You never know who you may end up meeting… where you may want to stay a bit longer — if you have plans (i.e. tickets booked, hotel rooms, a timetable) — then you can’t truly enjoy the beauty of travel. I encourage anyone out there to just hit the road (even just for a day) and connect with the world around them! Stop in a coffee shop and actually chat with a person versus staring at your IPhone pretending you are doing something important (we all know you are playing CandyCrush). Ask someone what they suggest you see/do/eat in their town. Meet a new friend on couchsurfing and exchange life stories. There are endless possibilities of what you can do to “travel” without having to even go too far!
In hindsight… I was doing a lot of thinking the other day while deep in the mountains hiking alone… The world is ALWAYS just right there in your backyard. What I mean by that is you can have an international experience without having to hop on a plane (even though its AWESOME if you can!). California is a prime example of being such a melting pot of cultures – tons to explore and learn all over the place. I recognize now that I didn’t nearly take advantage of my “home” at the time being. What is it about where we live that makes it seem so mundane at times? I feel like it’s our minds that we allow to get mundane. Adventure is always happening around us… it’s just a matter of stepping out the door and being an active participant in it! GET OUT THERE!
Ok that is enough preaching for right now – I was totally just having a moment.
Now back to the question I asked myself about “What did I learn”… here is a mishmosh of my thoughts.
– Traveling is waaaaaay cheaper than I expected! I wrote about it in a previous post ( https://iamatraveloholic.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/i-wish-i-could-travel-but-its-sooooo-expensive-lies-all-lies/ )
– People are awesome. The majority of everyone I met have been so interesting, kind, and generous (The only people I found to be rude were Americans I ran into – go FIGURE!)
– I have a lot more time on my hands that I thought I would. With long term travel you don’t need to be as rushed. Plus it gets expensive going places EVERY day.
– People at home don’t keep in touch with you as much as you thought they would. Even some of my closest friends I’ve only chatted with a few times in two months. At first I was bothered by it… but hey – life is going on for them just as much as it is for me.
-I need to marry a foreigner for the benefit of my child having dual citizenship… College is practically free in EUROPE!!! BAM college funding solved. 🙂
-The best education you can give yourself is travel. I love to read and learn… but actually getting out there and exploring new places and having conversations with people all around the world is by FAAAAAAAR superior than a classroom setting or books.
Now onto the highlights and photos from my 5th week on the island… i’ll keep this part as brief as I can 🙂
Day 55 – June 11 (29)
Expenses – 4 Euro (lunch snack)
Took the bus to Candelaria and walked around with Juan – spend the whole day there exploring the area then naturally found a beach to veg out on. Took the bus home and relaxed <— how is that for brief and to the point haha!
Photos: Basilica of Candelaria, interior (ceiling shot & altar area) of Basilica of Candelaria, HAPPY HAPPY me at my happy place — the beach!, the Guanches states (the nine aboriginal kings of Cadelaria)
Day 56 – June 12 (30)
Expenses – none
Worked in the morning, laid by the pool, Juan rode his bike down to give me a Spanish lesson, went to La Barranquera and explored the rock formations and tidal pools and discovered a sea snail! At night Johanna and I went to another wine tasting at Café Brasil – we were invited by the vineyard owner to sit and have dinner after. I was speaking with the one man who was explaining to me that there is a theory that the Declaration of Independence was celebrated/toasted with wine from Tenerife! We chowed down on a bunch of food and I did my best to understand what people were talking about. I’m starting to pick up what people are saying… and I can read Spanish better as well… but speaking it is a WHOLE different story. My American accent is practically impossible to understand here lol! I’ll keep at it though! Mattia came and a bunch of us went to a bar in Tejina…. I was so tired and full of wine that I was falling asleep at the bar sitting up. I’m classy.
Day 57 – June 13 (31)
Expenses – 15 (bus card)
Worked in the morning then took the bus to Santa Cruz to meet Juan. We walked around and went came across a dance performance (flamenco) at TEA. Continued walking and went to the harbor. Spain was playing in the world cup so people were out and about – there was a screen on the streets and a lot of people were watching! Sat at the waters edge for a bit before I had to go and catch the bus. I have such an appreciation for car ownership now… as much as I didn’t like the expense (payment, insurance, gas)… it is quite convenient when you just want to get somewhere! My life now consists of a 20 minute walk uphill to the local bus stop (or a 15 minute bike ride to the better bus stop (buses come more frequently)… waiting for the bus… sitting on the bus for about DOUBLE the time it would take in a car. At least I’ve figured out the bus situation here now and can get around confidently. The first 2 weeks I was like a baby who didn’t want to go out unsupervised (mostly because I can’t communicate what I need or where I want to go!)
Day 58 – June 14 (32)
Expenses – 5 Euro
Morning drive through Anaga with Alejandro (my local friend) and Angelo (who is from Granada but was couchsurfing at Alejandro’s place for a few days while in town)…Anaga is the mountain range spanning the north of Tenerife. STUNNING drive and views all around! In the afternoon we went to Xiomara’s birthday party (one of Alejandro’s friends I met a few weeks back) at a beachside complex near Jover – ate some delicious paella and drank mojitos and carmel rum!
Photos: Adventurous mountain puppy, view of the north coast of the island, mountain field (they use that device to send up items you buy!), another coastal view, my big ol’ melon head overlooking Las Teresitas, PARTY time with Johanna & Alejandro, fatty fat fat yum yums, Fun times!
Day 59 – June 15 (33)
Expenses – 1 Euro
Worked in the morning for a little bit then went to La Barranquera’s beach and read my book most of the day, had a beer at the little stand then went back to the hostel and relaxed.
MY KIND OF DAY! Simple.Sunshine. Relaxed.
Day 60 – June 16 (34)
Expenses – 10 Euro (dinner with Bruno)
Worked a little in the morning, laid by the pool reading for a while, relaxed a bit, went to dinner at Bambu Café with Bruno and attempted to learn some more Spanish!
There is a major crisis happening in this world today… and that crisis in mobile devices! Face to face human interaction is a thing of the past. I may just start a revolution!! BRING BACK CONVERSATION! PUT DOWN YOUR CELL PHONE!
Day 61 – June 17 (35)
This day needs it’s own post… stories to share 😉
OH I just realized the whole numbers thing with the date – obviously the “Day” — is how many days I’ve been traveling internationally… the # after the date is how many days I’ve been on the island!