My Biggest Challenge of 2014

On our way to the Zaragoza airport the day before New Year’s Eve, Jay and I began to discuss our potential resolutions for the New Year. Our goals were very similar, and many of them went hand-in-hand. We want to spend a few months stepping away from our travelers’ disease—always searching for where we can go next, if we have the money, if we have the time. We want to appreciate La Rioja and how we achieved our goal of making it here. We want to go hard core study mode and learn the Spanish language. We want to take the time to prepare meals, eat healthier, and exercise. We want to work on ourselves after a long, stressful few months getting set up in a new country.

Just over two weeks have passed since those conversations. Today, I found myself doing a somewhat rushed Internet search to see what type of place we could stay at during San Fermín (the Running of the Bulls) in Pamplona… this July!

This is after Jay and I spontaneously decided to spend a long weekend in Morocco at the end of February. This is after I, of course, had already noted down preliminary plans for not only our trip to Morocco, but our trip to Paris with my mom and aunt in March, where Jay and I could spend our two weeks of vacation at the end of April, and little jaunt to Portugal I could take with my friend visiting in May. This was all done in the span of three or four days.

When Jay came into the room, I asked him if he thought I could go ahead and book our two-day trek in Morocco, flights in April, and hostel in Pamplona right then and there “so I could have it off my mind.” His response was: “Are you serious???”

How had I already advanced seven months ahead? I don’t know why I was already doing the exact opposite of how we decided we’d spend the first few months of 2014. I was losing sleep at night thinking of what time we had free and how we could plan it out to see as much as possible. I’ve noticed this happening—this thing where I leave a new country and immediately add about five more places onto my list of next potential trips. It’s true; we have a lot of free time here in Spain and I’ve been misusing it.

Here’s the thing: we’re in Spain. There was a time when we never thought we would make it here—but we made it happen. That’s amazing. As much as I absolutely love having time off and stretching our salaries as far as possible in order to travel to the places we’ve always wanted to go, time in the present is an important part of this experience, too.

This is something I completely suck at. I’m always looking ahead. I’m always making sure I’m taking the right steps to make my future plans fall into place. I’m usually unhappy if I’m not checking tasks off my mental list. This is my challenge to myself in 2014: to be in the present and to appreciate the life I’m making for myself. What better place to do that than in the land of siestas and no pasa nada? We’ll see how this goes.


4 Responses to “My Biggest Challenge of 2014”

    • cartasdecourtney

      Nice post, Damien! Spain is incredibly diverse and full of warm people. It’s a great place to call home. I hope we get to make it down South soon to experience all things Andaluz!

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