Now three months in to my travels, the practical realities of moving at this pace are starting to surface in ways that I hadn’t quite anticipated. Returning from Istanbul was like waking from a dream into a completely different one.
At this point, I haven’t spent more than 5 days in a single place (Barcelona takes that honor) and frequently closer to one or two. Needless to say, I’m beginning to miss some of the practical realities of my life back home: having people to talk to on a regular basis that I’m comfortable with, being able to hop on my bicycle or in my truck and get to wherever I’m going without needing to learn a new public transit system, or knowing where I’ll be eating or sleeping the night ahead.
With that said, I love putting myself outside of my comfort zone, it allows me to internalize new perspectives and solve problems that I would have never faced if I had allowed myself the luxury of complacency. Even relatively small victories, like ordering food in an unfamiliar language, can become triumphs with the right attitude. It’s also the easiest challenge that you can make for yourself without having to travel halfway across the world to do so.
This made having an opportunity to relax and feel normal again really special.
I have a very close friend living in Vienna that offered to let me stay at her place while she was away. At first, I was a little uncomfortable with the prospect (I have trouble accepting help from others at times, but experiencing the Camino’s very unique and supportive social structure has taught me to accept help as easily as I provide it).
My friend’s roommate, we shall call her Ms. X (which is a bad ass nickname, you’re welcome 😉), whom I am still not entirely certain is *not* a spy really made my visit all the more worthwhile by including me in her regular social activities. For the first time in months I felt like a person, not a tourist, and it was wonderful.
From encountering a pop up dance party in a park (this seems to happen to me more often than you’d expect), to playing beach volleyball with new friends, to a night spent playing Cards Against Humanity in good company, to hours spent watching the Perseid meteor shower, Vienna has been so much more than just another stop on the road. It’s where I was able to get my head back above water, and learned that if I really wanted to, I could make a home anywhere in the world.