We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” -Maya Angelou
Kudos to the individuals who choose to travel by themselves for six months or even a year. I have been counting my blessings and my privileges during these last two weeks. Traveling is an exciting and life changing experience, but not for the reasons that we romanticized in our society. Spain is beautiful country with breath taking sights all around. There is ancient history is all around me and I am taking it all in. I still can’t believe that I’m even here. But I also can’t believe that I’ve been here for 51 days without my family and friends! Technology has been blessing and a curse for sure! I’m to the point where FaceTime is becoming a nuisance.
I’m a proud emotional human who values the importance of physical touch. I love hugs! I’m not mentioning this to sound sweet, but to point out that something as simple as a hug can be taken for granted. As I mentioned earlier, FaceTime has become a nuisance. I see and talk to my loved ones but what I really need is to be with them. I have realized how privileged I am for the simple fact that I get to go back home to the people I love. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how many families are separated by choice or by force. I think about how many of them will never get to see their loved ones again and how this will shape their lives. Most of all, I think about my mother, my aunts and uncles, and my abuela. I think about the sacrifices that were made just so that they could come to the U.S. and live a better life.
See, my mother immigrated from Honduras to the United States at the age of 26. Her older sister, my Tia Rina, was the main reason my mother was able to come to New York. Tia Rina left Honduras first to find work in the U.S.. My abuela followed and then eventually my mother and her other siblings did as well. Now, my mother is a citizen and lives 30 minutes away from her mother and her siblings. Can you imagine that journey? Can you imagine the struggles that came with it? I’ve heard these stories first hand and I still can’t imagine having to go through that.
This story is my reminder of why I am on this journey. Despite the days when I am overwhelmed by feelings of loneliness, I remember how lucky I am. It hurts to go through struggles but that’s a part of life. I know this. I also know how hard my mother and father worked to provide me with an education that could expose me to greater opportunities than what they had access to when they were younger. Just thinking about them makes me tear up because I am so proud. I am proud of them and I am proud of myself.
I hope when present and future travelers read this they pause and reflect on the value of their trip. The mixed feelings and the struggles are inevitable. It’s all part of the journey. I’m coming to see that the purpose in “traveling with a purpose,” is more about self-growth than it is anything else. Unless someone has partaken in this journey, no one can truly understand the difficulties that come with it. It’s probably one of the most humbling experiences as well. Close your eyes and open your heart. The message will be clearer.
P.S. – The children at work continue to fill my heart with so much love. I’ve been teaching them Christmas songs with Lola, my ukulele, for the last two weeks, preparing them to present it to their families on Thursday! To no surprise, music has been extremely therapeutic for the kids. It’s worked magic on their little hearts. It has helped some calm down after a tantrum and has brought others out of their shyness. Lola has a place in their hearts for sure. I can’t wait to join them in singing Christmas songs this Thursday.
P.S. – Here are some more pictures of Valencia! xoxo