I am on another bus ride from Higuera la Real to Madrid. This must be the fourth time I’ve done this bus ride within this year and each time, the route and landscape seem different. It always makes me slightly double-take in my mind about whether or not I’m on the right bus. Yep…it’s the right one. Outside are green rolling fields of olive trees, springing up in rows from a ground carpeted with teeny tiny yellow wildflowers. They are my sunshine today since the sun is taking a reprieve behind the rainy grey clouds. I spot castles and cathedrals slightly farther out in the distance, atop hill summits and surrounded by little Spanish village homes topped with their endearing traditionally red Spanish-tiled roofs…marbled boulders and rocks are strewn throughout the ground, some clustered together like giant marbles tossed on the earth. Tomorrow I catch my flight returning to Denver.
Reminiscing, I think back to where I was a year ago…I was in Colorado and months into cultivating in my mind the dreams I had for how I want to live my life, the lifestyle I was to begin pursuing. The dreams and truths I was realizing about myself were taking root and they were doing so deeply, into my heart. This meant unexpected and surprising things ahead. At least that’s what I ended up discovering later, but at the time didn’t truly grasp yet.
I wanted to live in both Denver and Spain, that’s about as much I knew a year ago. Denver could be my US home-base and after doing more traveling of Spain, I could choose a home-base for Europe. From there, I wanted to eventually travel everywhere, for the rest of my life! The particulars or any details for that matter of how I was going to pull this off, were not clear to me. But I heard myself listening to the age-old adage stubbornly rising up from somewhere inside me, practically shouting what if you die tomorrow and today’s your last day? Live like there’s no tomorrow! I had grown up thinking that was unwise and scary, irresponsible and unproductive. Well, I still don’t know if it’s either, but either way I went and lived by it and am so glad that I did. I think I still am actually.
I originally booked a 6-month round trip flight into London at the end of this past March, which later I ended up ditching at the end of September so that I could remain in Spain. Good thing I did too, because literally five days ago, I finalized my process for obtaining my Spanish nationality and now have my Spanish EU passport and Spanish Residency card called the DNI.
Now it’s the beginning of December and I am returning to Denver as a dual citizen of both the EU and the US. My things in Denver are going to be rummaged through once again and even more will be sold and given away. I have that bug still to downsize and to live lite. What is my goal during these couple of months back in the US? Enjoy the holidays with family and prepare to return to Spain and live in Oviedo, which is located in the beautiful Northern region of Asturias. This is where my abuelo (grandfather) was from. I spent a good amount of time there during this trip this year and fell in love with the town and with Spain. While in Oviedo, I experienced the sweetest turning point in my life. And no, I did not meet someone or fall in love with another person. I guess you can say I fell in love with myself and God. There…that’s the big surprise. But there’s even more surprises! Here is where I see results from my time; in this way is how I bear fruit in my life now…
Since then, I have come to terms with lost love and peeked into myself to see that my previously broken heart was mended. And not just mended…it was healed and growing completely new roots. They’ve been sinking down deep into me, opening my eyes to decide that now I would not want the person or the things that I thought I wanted before. They did not support me in being me and likewise, I am not able to support them in being them. More importantly, I have come to experience that to imagine my first love unhappy and sad breaks my heart and I am now at a place where I can sincerely say, I want to see him happy, even with someone else. I know we are going to be our best on our own and eventually with another person. Rather than drowning in my hurt and wanting for what broke my heart, my heart has revived and now would only break at the thought that this impactful person in my past, my first love, is unhappy. Now I can live with hope for him to be blessed and joyous in being him and for me to be the same. Getting here was not pretty and it certainly got terrifying and hideous especially before things got better…but it’s best that it did, because what was there needed to be dug up roots all and those old roots were in there deep.
This healing has been the answer to months and years of prayers. Throughout these travels, I have seen that prayers are really being answered all the time, every day. And when I say prayers, I mean communication with God and ourselves that is creatively non-traditional to whatever we’ve ever been told about prayer. To understand me and where I’m coming from, think out of the box here and think about yourself. The other prayer that has been answered has been for my family. And guess what, it came about with my heart changing, not theirs. Funny, how the biggest healing in our life results from the deep realizations and changing in our own hearts. When I talk about answers and healing, I am certainly not implying that this is a done-deal that is fixed overnight and now we can wipe the dust off and continue on. No, I’m referring to having my eyes opened to see where I was standing in life and where I was positioning myself. It affected where I was positioning others as well and it affected understanding that prayers are answered, we just sometimes step away and start hanging out in other places instead…you know, the usual…resentment, bitterness, pride and fear…then when our eyes are opened, we see that pretty close by is freedom. Maybe sometimes it looks far and difficult to get there and perhaps other times its far closer than we thought. This is the kind of healing I’m talking about. And I’m so glad that in taking care of and loving myself, I can better enjoy and be there for my family.
My trip started in London then took me through all of Italy, from North to South, where my originally planned 3-weeks evolved wonderfully into almost three months. Then pulling away from Italia I made it over to Spain where I have been since. And there is so much to experience and see in Spain…it’ll take a lifetime to enjoy it all, to enjoy traveling everywhere in the world. I’m more than happy to invest that.
The places I have experienced have been amazing! Yet the most memorable and impacting aspect that I will carry with me and are now a part of me forever, are the people who I met and friendships I made and the time I had with myself. There is something about traveling alone that I think can be life-changing and good for the soul. What I have learned about myself has also come through learning about others. Sentences can’t really explain all that I experienced and how life-changing this time has been for me. I don’t like calling it a trip, because it truly is so much more than that…it’s my life. It’s the life that I want, what I love doing, and it’s me being me. Single words may do the trick…like fun blobs of brightly assorted paints splattered on a canvas, letting them fly is a better way to create a painting of this time in my life, like a work of abstract art. If looked at with an inspecting judgmental eye, only up close and without stepping back to see the whole picture, it can look like a chaotic mess. But it’s not. It’s not to be compared and it’s not to be copied…It’s the most beautiful time I have ever had in my life before and it is a gift to me from God, even more so because God involved me and taught me to give this time to myself as well.
Healing Forgiving Quiet Listening Questioning Learning
Scary Surprising Miraculous Eternal Enlightening
Creative Pure Restoring Challenging Struggling Changing Waiting
Still Battling Believing Trusting Faith-Shaking Faith-Growing
Loving Nurturing Intimate Confusing Clear Breathtaking Romantic Sweet
Writing Singing Patient Adventurous Time-Indulging Hoping
Lonely Peaceful Joyful Artistic funny Humbling Empowering
Tearful Smile-Rich Invigorating Revealing Freeing Beginning
Launching out in one passion, traveling, has awakened other passions. There were talents and passions that I have had since I was a kid and I discovered that I had either been ignoring them or had completely forgotten about them, like writing. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else but writing, traveling, and singing and meeting people, making friends and sharing stories. Living in these ways is staying true to living my dream and to truly living.
Learning this about myself, experiencing how peacefully happy and joyous I can be, has taught me that these experiences in their moment are all worth it, even if they don’t have the results that the world and society or anyone else for that matter says that they should. I will believe what I believe not because of what I see or guarantees of security from things in this life that are actually only imagined and placed upon us. There are to be no expectations or demands of my dreams, as if they have to produce results to measure up to anyone other than me; rather, I embrace them, treasure them, and live them out because they are a part of me and who I have yet to be. Have I made money during this amazing time in my life? No, I’ve actually spent all of my money. Do I have a house anywhere or even a room or even a bed for that matter that I can call my own? No, and good thing I don’t cause I would never spend enough time there to justify the cost and I know now that I wouldn’t be happy cause I wouldn’t be myself and out traveling! Take this December and January for example…in the US for two months? Yeah and hitting up hopefully on not only Denver but also Houston, then Roanoke, from there to western PA and then DC, before heading back to Denver for a flight to Spain once again.
I am departing Europe tomorrow having received everything that God wanted to so overwhelmingly gift me with during this time – instructions for my freedom, vision for the future, and absolute child-like faith in him and trust in myself (which could also translate into child-like joy that results in some childish behavior from time to time…ok, make that most of the time). And a bunch of other really cool fun inspiring stuff, but we would be here all day and I do need to save some things for a book one day.
So here I go…here I move…along this path that is really quite simple. It’s being still and being me.