“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel–as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them, wherever you go” —Anthony Bourdain
So, it’s official. My passport is packed away, my last minute flights have been booked, and my Spanish dictionary has been uploaded to my phone, knowing that this app is the only connection I have between myself and the Spanish-speaking world. I have been practicing the few sentences of Spanish I actually know, which, if you know me, is quite the accomplishment and I am ready to take on what will be the craziest, most spontaneous trip I’ve ever been on.
Tomorrow, I leave for a month-long trip to Europe!! Ok, let me back up and fill you in on what’s been going on these past few weeks. About a month ago, I was offered my dream job as Event Planner and Marketing Manager at a German brewery here in the Cleveland area; the Hofbrauhaus to be exact, and if you are not familiar with that, it is a bierhall in Munich, Germany which could be considered the hub of all things Oktoberfest. I’m not sure who is more excited about this position, my father (who happens to be in a German polka band) or myself, although I’m going to have to bet on the latter. For so long, I have tried to figure out what the right path for me was; from considering going to grad school, abruptly up and moving to a different city, or volunteering somewhere abroad, I felt lost and disarrayed as to what I needed to do. I wanted to follow my heart to the best of my ability, but what happens when your heart is pulling you every which way, every option sounding better than the next?
As these things happen, and they always do in the same manner, things suddenly just fell into place. It’s like the moment I stopped trying to control everything in my life, the second I let go of the reins and decided that wherever I was meant to go, I would get there, the puzzle pieces of my life began to fall into the places in which they belonged.
I didn’t give up, but rather, I let go.
And from that moment of surrender, the wheels started to kick into motion. Picture a motorcycle sitting at a red light, the engine revving and raging, anxious for the color to change to give it the go ahead to take off into the beyond. Jumpy and jittery, the engine roars louder as the color change draws nearer.
The motorcycle takes off, catapulting into whatever the road holds, with not one single glance back. Eyes to the future, eyes to the fortune ahead.
Today, I am sitting on that motorcycle, with a grip on the handlebars tighter than a newborn baby holding onto their mother’s finger, my heart pounding and pumping adrenaline throughout my body, the engine roaring and coming to life right beneath me, the vibration of the machine reminding me that this feeling is real. Exquisitely and exceptionally real. I am consumed with the energy of simply being alive, and all I need is for the light to change, and then I’m off.
My direction, my road ahead, is that of Spain and Italy. After accepting the event planning position, I put in my two weeks at work and began to plan for a trip so last minute and so open-ended that I’m sure even Carmen San Diego would be impressed.
Through the website Workaway.info, I was able to find a family that was willing to host me in the countryside of Malaga, which is in Southern Spain. For the first week I am in Spain, I will be living with this family, helping out around their house and taking care of their animals. There are hiking trails all around and a small village not far from where they live, so the first leg of my trip will be focused on the things I love, running and writing, and delving deep into the culture; hoping to ultimately refocus on life and shaking off all the materialistic things that we can get so caught up on. Think Eat, Pray, Love here.
The second half of my time in Spain is still unknown and completely up in the air. I haven’t pegged exactly where I would like to go, or if I would just like to stay in Malaga and explore another part of the region, but some ideas I had were to go to Gibraltar, Seville, or Ibiza. Wherever the wind blows me, I will go.
Then, I’ll head to Barcelona to meet up with friends for a few days, then off to Milan, Italy for a magical, fairytale wedding (read about the wedding here)! The last stop on my trip is Lake Como, in which we will be staying at a picturesque B&B in the village of Bellagio. Crossing my fingers that I’ll see George Clooney somewhere while on Lake Como, since that is his natural habitat after all.
It’s amazing the way things work out, and it has been an absolute blessing to see my dreams unfold. I will be blogging live while I am on my trip, but throughout everything, my greatest wish is that my story will encourage you, push you, drive you, motivate you, to go after all the adventures waiting for you right beyond that red light. The color of the light will eventually turn green, but where will you go?
It’s your chance to Take off To Anywhere.