How do you measure a summer? In the U.S., summer is bookended by Memorial Day and Labor Day, the unofficial beginning and end of summer. In Spain, our season is opened, locally, by our town’s festival in Torrejón de Ardoz, and closed, just an hour away, at the festival in Yebra, the village where Angel was born.
Once upon a time, in a land far away... Actually, just last weekend and less than an hour from Marbella, in the south of Spain...
Thanks to my dad and family for another great week down the shore! We were blessed with a week of blue skies and sunshine, but most importantly, time together.
Where should you go on a day trip from Madrid? There are too many good options to flip a coin. You could visit Toledo, Segovia, Avila, Sigüenza, Alcala, Cuenca, Chinchón, and more.
We had 24 hours in Copenhagen and the goal was for Angel to complete the CPH Marathon in under 4 hours.
“I believe every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.” – Thomas Jefferson
Just before traveling, I experienced the greatest reward of being a teacher and a coach by watching students take ownership of an idea to help someone they had never met in a country they had never visited.
Nepal, Part 4: Keep Climbing. Our trekking journey from Dingboche to Everest Base Camp and back to Lukla. Click "read more" to watch the video. Narration is in Spanish and English.
Nepal, Part 3: Into Thin Air. Click "read more" to watch the video of our journey from Lukla to Dingboche. Video is in Spanish and English.
Nepal, Part 2: The World's Most Dangerous Airport. Click "read more" to watch the video of our flight to Lukla.
Nepal, Part 1: Madrid to Kathmandu, via Istanbul. Click "read more" to watch video.
“What day is it?” asked Pooh.
Why do we go to bed so late? How do you fill your hours?
Remember the days of lying on your back, as a kid, watching the clouds pass overhead and noting which ones looked like Simpsons characters and which ones looked like race cars or airplanes? When did we stop looking up? When did start teaching more analysis instead of creativity?
Planning is guessing. Expectations present an opportunity for disappointment. But intentions...those are personal choices. The magic of travel, the lasting transformation, begins in your mind, right where you are. Thank you to Katie, from Wanderwell, for these pre-travel journal prompts. We depart tomorrow to begin the journey to Everest Base Camp.
I did it again. Almost a decade later, I sold my car and moved across the Atlantic. But this time, I was not alone.
“What are your goals?” He asked me over our first beer in Amsterdam.
Walking in a winter wonderland. Nürnberg Christkindlemarkt.
It was my third visit and his first. It certainly will not be our last. Here are some moments from our 2017 adventure in Argentina.
Sometimes it is not about going somewhere new. Sometimes it is about returning. In a different season. With someone new. With a different perspective. Upside-down. But no matter the change we choose, the greatest experience is to allow ourselves to be changed.
In Spain, they call it Verano de San Miguel. Also known, in the U.S., as Indian Summer.
We may be lighting pumpkin candles and cooking pumpkin soup, but we are still wearing tshirts in the afternoons and no more than a sweatshirt at night, if that. So what better time than this for a throwback to the actual summer of 2017.
There is a difference. To say, “I have arrived,” is not the same as, “I am present.” To be present is to submit, to let go of the past and not question the future.
The mountains, wreathed in clouds, revealed their grandeur at dawn. The high peaks were not visible at all the night before, but one could feel their presence. Last night, she saw only the foothills, and this morning, the mystic, majestic mountains, some of the highest in the world. Then, nothing. The ceilings dropped, heavy with rain. There was no way to know you were on a mountain, yet you knew.
Smile. Be kind. Eat pie. Often you do not know why someone is traveling. It could be for celebration or mourning, for business or for pleasure. Or for pie.
Small rural airports have some of the best homemade pies. I once flew across Ohio for blueberry pie, landing just 10 minutes before the KTSO restaurant closed. The owners insisted on brewing a fresh post of coffee and even offered to stay open and cook us dinner. Respecting their time, we thanked them profusely and took off for home, racing the thunderstorms, carrying a whole blueberry pie and two steaming cups of black coffee to celebrate my first 100 hours of flying.
The aviation community often extends so much kindness, perhaps realizing that we could, one day, be flying their mothers or children.
Two years and some hours later...
Sometimes we fly to share breakfast with people who have become our family.
"What is a typical day like in Spain?" Such a basic question that I somehow fell short of answering throughout my six-ish months of weekly (yes, weekly) trips across the pond and since my move here, a year ago. (Note: Time only matters when you are actually flying the airplane, so all timelines are approximate).
Here is our first attempt to show you.
"This is so much better than what you made in the U.S.," my mother declared after taking a bite of my tortilla.
Last spring, my mom visited us, here in Spain. Angel and I offered many options for food and activities, but tortilla was non-negotiable, because one cannot refuse a dish that can be complemented only by, "Muy rico!" because very delicious are the only words you can mutter between bites of devouring this plate.
"Yes, mom," I told her, smiling, "the ingredients are much better here. Plus, I was just learning to make tortilla when I first made it for you. It only gets better with practice."
She declared that she was not hungry, but consented to a tortilla of her own after we assured her that it would not go to waste and I would finish it for breakfast. The three of us sat at the round, kitchen table for dinner, each in front of potatoes and eggs muy rico.
Many would argue that one's ability to adapt is most important for traveling. Growing American brands look for the same quality of adaptation in their leaders. Emotionally intelligent leaders hone their adaption in order to improve themselves and to simply live well.
But beyond adapting to life on the road, on the other side of the pond, or across the street, is the traveler's ability to learn.
On a recent trip to Ohio, I asked my best friend’s husband what would be appropriate attire for church on Sunday. I then remarked, “Isn’t it interesting how we all want to fit in when we are someone’s guest? Yet when we are in our own homes and towns, we want to stand out.”
"You eat the last piece of jamón," Angel would tell me, each week, before I would fly back to the U.S. "I can eat it tomorrow. You can't." I hated hearing that. Thanks to a pork-sniffing beagle in the customs hall at JFK, jamón was one of the few things I could not take with me, unless I wanted my passport flagged for the next six-months of travel. So, finally, I just moved to Spain.
Now, we look forward to friends visiting and insisting that they eat the last piece of jamón.
Here are some of our go-to recommendations for friends visiting town.
Kilometer zero. All roads begin here. This is at Plaza del Sol.
Christine & Angel
Aisle or window
He likes the window; she likes the aisle. Match made at FL350. Here are some other travel preferences. Full disclaimer: These are affiliate links, meaning the authors are rewarded for referrals (usually in the form of a credit to use more of the product/service themselves). Pinky promise: Recommendations are simply the best.
The Art of Strength is our sister site, with all of your fitness needs. Whether you are training for your next adventure, to avoid shopping for bigger clothes so that you can save money for your next adventure, or to have more energy with your kids, there is a training program for you. Click the photo below for the latest training special.
When we are not hitchhiking through the airport and landing in foreign lands, Christine is teaching English in Spain. She also offers classes via Skype, allowing you to learn from the comfort of your home, with flexible scheduling. Click the photo below for more information.
We are in the coffee business. Because wherever we go, we drink coffee. And let's face it, some hotel coffee leaves a lot to be desired. So now we can pack our own. Click the link below to have your coffee delivered to your home, to drink there and on the go.
Away makes thoughtful luggage featuring unbreakable shells, interior compartments, and built-in USB chargers. Click the image for $20 off your order.
Airbnb is the preferred accomodation for Christine & Angel when they want to connect with locals, want to keep their entire group under one roof with the privacy of separate bedrooms, or when staying in a place known for expensive hotels. Click here or on the photo below to save on your first stay.
New users, click the photo below, or sign-up with code christineh8502ue to get your first Uber ride for free.
Make your travels meaningful with Pack for a Purpose. Simply use a small amount of space in your luggage to pack supplies needed by community projects around the world. Click the photo below to find a project in your destination.