“I have a perverse attraction to not knowing what’s going to happen next.”
― Holly Morris
Below are exerpts from my travels from Austin to Barcelona. Future posts will hopefully be much more interesting and have pictures. ;)
Its 10:03 am CST on January 20th, 2011. I am sitting at ABIA (AUS) in my lovely hometown, waiting for my flight to New York - Newark. Today is my 36th birthday. Life is grand! I am eating a blueberry scone and drinking a vanilla soy latte from Austin Java. I really love this airport because it’s full of everything local - everything Austin. I’m going to switch on my iPod so I can listen to a few of my favorite local artists/friends...Kacy Crowley, Wendy Colonna, maybe some Bob Schneider (although I don't know him personally), and the list goes on. So many to listen to, so little time.
I’m eager to get my adventure started. It’s been in the planning process for over 2 years...and here it is. Crescendo! I’m traveling on my own - my first trip overseas by myself - which should make for an enlightening experience. I yearn to live in the moment and have opted to detach from my iPhone for 18 days. I reluctantly left it behind. It’s already weird and I’ve already “gone for it” two or three times. I discussed the leaving-it-behind scenario with many of my friends. The majority of them replied “OMG! What are you going to do without a phone?!? What if...(fill in the blank)...happens?” Here’s where I ended up: if I have that great of an attachment to anything, especially an object of convenience, there is a problem. My dreams consist of Simplicity. To make those dreams reality, I have to take action in that direction. This is one of those steps I’m taking. I will be okay. The Universe always provides. No worries, I am not completely without technology. I have my MacBook with an external drive full of movies, a Kindle full of a number of books to lighten my Spirit, and much music on my iPod to soothe my Soul - so if I feel the need to escape, enlighten, or dance, I will have no problems doing so.
As I take flight at 11:08am CST, I turn off my iPod according to airline instructions, pull out my Kindle and read my two daily meditations, shed a tear at the shear synchronicity of what they say and what is going on in my life, then dive back into The Seeker’s Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure by Elizabeth Lesser. Great book; I am really digging it so far. It’s sprinkled with story, facts, history, and suggestion.
The wind was starting to blow in Austin when I left, like Winter was moving in. It’s really cold in New York City! My tan from Mexico is dissipating as I type, and my skin is so dry, I feel like a lizard. There is some scattered snow and ice, but nothing remotely considered “major” here in NYC right now - but tomorrow, it’s supposed to be like a blizzard, so I left just in time. This flight was over three hours long, had a bumpy beginning, a fairly smooth middle, and slightly rough ending. It arrived about 30 minutes early, thanks to the tailwinds that I felt in-flight. We sat on the runway for a bit while the gate was cleared for our arrival. I realized how lucky I was when I got into the airport - I only had to walk about five minutes from one gate to another. No terminal changes, no hurry, no transportation required. YaY! There happened to be a food court in the area of my gate. No hopes of keeping my vegan diet, but at least I didn’t have to pick any meat out of my meal. Just a slice of spinach/mushroom pizza and salad from Famiglia, where one of the men was shouting in “pizza! Calzone! Pasta! Cappuccino!” I fell for it.
My flight to Barcelona leaves at 7:10pm EST and arrives at 09:00am CET (Central European Time - seven hours later than CST). My flight is estimated at eight hours. I hope to sleep some, but we’ll see how that goes. I won’t be able to check in at the hostel until 3pm, so I’ll have some time to kill sightseeing and finding some vegan fare to fill by belly.
I’m missing YogaGroove already! Bikram yoga does my body right =) I’ve already scoped out a studio in Barcelona and have hopes of yoga on-board the Norwegian Jade. Although, if there isn’t what I need, I’ve got a couple videos on my iPod that will help me out. My hips and shoulders are screaming from the long trips and waiting....I’m ready to get to Spain!
I think I am most nervous about not knowing the language. I feel confident about the rest really; well, maybe not completely. The transportation system intimidates me a bit even though I’ve ridden buses, subways, and trains all over the USA. I’m just going to take it slow, no rush; I’ve got plenty of time to get my bearings and people watch. I’m already feeling good about leaving my phone behind. I see SO many people fixated on a small object with a screen and buttons.
The sunset is beautiful. Seeing it change colors from pale blue to pink to purple to darkness...while watching the smokestacks puff pollution into the skies over all the planes, trams, and automobiles. This city never ceases. There is a baby crying after getting breastfed, elderly people discussing the many cruises they have been on, people charging their devices, ladies putting on makeup, people reading or talking on the phone and others are walking around while holding hands. The human race is always interesting! I observed a group of youth sitting around awaiting their flight. Many of the girls were making friendship bracelets...tying each colorful knot with care. That took me back ;-)
Now I am 17531 feet in the air on a 757 that is full to the maximum. I just watched beautiful NYC pass by, all lit up. I am sitting in a window seat next to a very nice couple who have been to Barcelona before and assured me that English is spoken frequently in the city - I should have no problems. They gave me a few tips and suggested the Red Line to get acquainted with the sights. I’m thinking that is what I am going to do Friday morning when I arrive...I’ll be too tired to plan, so I’ll take a bus ride! =) It’s 01:57 am in Spain right now...and I’m going to watch a couple episodes of FRINGE, season 3.
Status check. I’m currently crossing the Atlantic Ocean...hovering over the water between the two continents at 898 km per hour and an altitude of 1071. We traveled 3593 km of the total 6388 (3970 miles). I had a vegetarian in-flight meal that included a Miyoko’s vegan chocolate chip cookie I was pleasantly surprised to receive. I watched the last three episodes of Fringe that I had and had a 10 min nap. I’ve moved onto Life, a BBC series...I’m tired, but can’t get comfortable enough to sleep. Only 4 more hours....
It’s strange to ponder that I am hovering above Earth at an extreme rate of speed and a temperature well below zero.
In Flight status...I’m over land again...watching the gorgeous sunrise of brilliant red, orange, and yellow through the pretty little ice crystals on the window. I took another nap. It’s difficult to get comfy when you are packed like a sardine, but thank goodness I rested more than 10 minutes! I played Battleship, Alchemy, Memory (my favorite), and Reversi on the on-board touchscreen monitor; had a bagel, fruit cup, and airline coffee for breakfast - Wakie-Wakie! It’s time to get shakin’ in Spain. I’ve got to wash my face and brush my teeth once I get off this plane - you know, freshen up for the day. I’m going to sleep good tonight after a nice, hot shower.
TTFN! It’s time to fill out Embarkation form...it’s going to be a lovely day!!! As I gaze upon the beautiful landscape of Spain, I see mountain ranges, wind turbines (very cool), rivers, and much more green, uninhibited land than in the US. Although, there are quite a few fires or something releasing smoke.
I rode the Aerobus for 5,05 Euro to Placa Cataluyna. While I was in the plaza, I just happened to meet two kind old men from California who will be on the cruise with me. Small world. Now, sitting on a double-decker bus for the Barcelona City Tour in the top, open-deck. It’s cool and breezy...temperature is in the low 40’s. I bought this bus ticket for 30 Euro - it’s a two day pass. I’m gonna jump on the “orange line”
It’s 1:10 pm and I’m in Starbucks (they're everywhere). I’ve seen half of the city by bus, but I had to get off on the La Pedrera stop since I had to go to the bathroom so bad, I was having a hard time enjoying the ride. I’m feeling pretty shaky and need some rest, so I am going to drink my Chai Tea Latte to warm up, then get back on the bus (green line this time), see the other half of the city, then head for the hostel. There are a number of places I want to visit in person once I get rid of my backpack...I’ve got plenty of time this afternoon and tomorrow.
LOVE YOU! see pictures HERE: Barcelona, Spain