I’m in Madrid. It’s cold, miserable and grey. It’s everything I thought Spain would be the opposite of, having spent the past week dreaming of it from my discontent in London. Putting so much emphasis on a place and dreaming of something else? I was wrong to do that.
And so here I find myself. Enjoying the flipside of all the sunshine and rainbows this travel blog often epitomises. Solitude, doubt and fear? They’re the order of the day this morning. Even the sound of the busy streets outside, listened to as I sit here in this empty city-centre dormitory, are no replacement for the comfort and warmth of that familiar face or perfect body.
And so naturally I’m left to question. Left to ask myself just what this all is.
Why substitute that comfortable life for all this loneliness, self-pity and doubt? What is this masculine sense of “mission”, this hell-bent attitude that pervades and urges me to taste all facets of life and push myself to the limit? Why is that there? Why does it insist on destroying everything?
My Spanish Adventure sucks really bad right now.
Why My Spanish Adventure Sucks
I guess the reason why this is hitting me so hard right now is that I sailed through the past three months in Granada without a hitch. Without any emotional wobble. Without any sense of doubt.
Showing up there in early January, Couchsurfing with cool people and finding an apartment on my first day in the city, I didn’t really have time to feel all the bad stuff. Instead I just shoved it all to one side and felt absolutely sure that what I was doing was indeed the right thing.
So as a measure of justice then, delivered to me by the hands of karma or my own foolishness (I don’t know which), I’m feeling it now. Bad.
Of course, I’m trying, albeit vaguely, to piece together some kind of semblance and build enough strength to come to terms with where I’m at right now. But the truth is that here, showing up in Spain for the third time and for the last half of this adventure, I can’t help thinking about where this is all going to end.
Granted, so on completion of “this adventure” I’ll have learned Spanish, lived and travelled in Barcelona and all other major cities, lived in different parts of Spain and understood a fair bit about it’s culture. But where did all of that get me in the end? Did it really succeed in making me any happier like I assumed (without ever really thinking too deeply) that it would? Did it really help to make me a better person, with a better understanding of the world and my own place within it?
Right now looking inward, I don’t really know how to answer any of these questions.
All I can say however, right here in this moment, is simply this.
There will be times you throw into question everything that’s gone before you and what is still left to go.
There will be times you feel at the bottom depths of yourself, sick of your own company and sick at the thought of having made the wrong decision.
There will be times when all you want to do is go home, lie in bed, curl up in a ball and never venture outside again.
And I don’t care what your adventure or challenge is (and it doesn’t have to be travel related by any means), this will happen. You will arrive at low-points like the one I’m stuck at right now.
Yet that’s not even the thing that sucks the most.
What Sucks Most
No the thing that sucks most, the thing that’s the most hardest to bear, is the fact that I don’t have any answers.
Without a big magic wand to wave to help reveal the future, I’m stuck with two choices.
The first is to keep on going (despite all better judgement) with no concrete idea of where I’ll end up. The second, and the one that’s really tempting right now, is not to take any risk. To run back to that I know and get on with life quietly, without any future murmurs.
Now, I’ve never been a quiet person. Nor has this blog ever been particularly quiet in tone. Yet right now, here in this position, it’s silence, instead of this stirring in my soul, which I’d give everything to have.
Silence or an answer.
Silence or confirmation.
Silence or someone to tell me that everything about this adventure and what it might achieve will be worth all this pain and hardship in the end.
What sucks to high heaven? I know nobody can give me that.
What to Think About
So when it comes to your hopes, dreams and aspirations, (hell, would I even call this, My Spanish Adventure, any of those things?) what should you do? The answer’s not easy. It’s incredibly complex.
This fallible quest, the one that the 25-year-old me thought was good at the time, was never going to be simple either. Sure it sounded cool, saying that I would go learn another language and immerse myself in a foreign culture, working and travelling as I went. But is the reality of it, now that I’m living it and feeling its lows, actually that cool? Does it have any real meaning at all?
This is where I feel I have to admit something.
During the past few weeks, and on the plane ride over here, I felt like this wasn’t really what I wanted to do anymore.
This probably won’t come as a surprise (for those following closely). My passion for learning Spanish, as you’ll see from my latest progress reports, has waned to its biggest low yet. My interest in the country? Has gone pretty much the same way.
Yet instead of re-aligning my goals and running off to a new challenge, I’m trapped in the stubbornness of “having to see something through”.
That sense of bloody-mindedness, destructive as it is, is why I think My Spanish Adventure sucks. That’s the real reason I felt the need to write this post.
But while I can’t offer myself any sort of denouement, perhaps I can at least advise you about your future plans.
Think hard about your dream and yourself.
Is it actually going to make you any happier?