Travel companions

I´m writing these lines from Madrid airport, waiting for my flight back to Dublin.

For the past few days, I´ve had the rare chance to allow myself to make a stop along the way, put the (often frantic) rhythm of my daily life between brackets, and pay attention to what´s truly important… It´s been a true privilege, and I´m really grateful for it.

Among many other things, I´ve truly enjoyed sharing time, affection and conversations with several people that once were, or perhaps still are, my travel companions.

  • My mum, brothers and sisters, who were the first companions I had in life, and who are still walking along with me, even in the distance.
  • My siblings-in-law, warm and loving as always, and my nephews and nieces, the next generation, coming in with tremendous force (you guys are all so lovely 😉)
  • My dear cousin, whom I hadn´t seen in ages 😊 (I was so happy to see you Borja)
  • Family friends who are as close as family itself; we know we can always count on you.
  • Friends that make you feel that it doesn´t matter how long it´s been since you saw each other last, the connection is still there, and keeps growing(you know who you are)
  • A reunion that sent us back down memory lane, with dancing steps… (thanks a million for everything Cristina!)
  • And speaking of memory lane, there was even time for laughs, looking at old photos from my first communion 😃

Then, the icing on the cake has taken place today: I´ve been lucky enough to meet in person with several colleagues in this new adventure of reinvention I´ve embarked on. Even though we´ve only been walking together for a short time, you´re already leaving your mark on my life, we´re growing together, and there´s so much that we still have to share…

To be honest, I´m going home with a feeling of joy, treasuring the moments that I spent with all of you. Thank you so much, my travel companions.

Arab proverb

Cáceres, like many other towns and villages across the Iberian peninsula, has a multicultural historic past: the Romans were the first ones to settle here, and later on during the middle ages, Arabs, Jewish and Christians lived together in relative harmony for several centuries.

A few days ago, the girls and I went to visit a traditional Arab house from the 12th century, now turned into a museum. We were able to walk through the different rooms in it, and admire objects from daily life back in the day, many of them found in excavations around the area. I have to say we thought it was very cool, and the guide told us a ton of interesting facts.

This Arab house-museum, in case you ever want to visit it, is called Yusuf Al Borch. I´m not a big fan of taking pictures, but I did take one of this courtyard window (I love Arab style arches):

And I also took a photo of this proverb, which I remember having written somewhere, years ago:

Do not say everything you know,
Do not do everything you can,
Do not believe everything you hear,
Do not spend everything you earn.
Because…
The one who says everything they know,
The one who does everything they can,
The one who believes everything they hear, 
(And spends everything they hear)
Often…
Says what is not convenient,
Does what they should not do,
Judges what they do not see,
And spends what they do not own.

Back home

This week I'm writing to you from Cáceres, my home town. I'm back "home" for a few days, enjoying family, friends and the last few days of summer. And after the year and a half that we've had, I'm truly enjoying it, fully, without taking anything for granted :-)

I'm feeling a bit odd, like I'm at home but also away from home at the same time, as if things had changed while somehow staying the same... I'm a bit like this every time I come, but now even more so, with everything that's been happening during this time.

Searching for quotes related to this topic, I bumped into this one, I hope you like it:

Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; you have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.

Cindy Ross

An unexpected present

I´m not much into sea swimming in general; I grew up inland and it´s not something I´m used to. But what I do love is walking along the beach, dipping my feet in the water. 

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of doing exactly that, as I watched a gorgeous sunset. It had been a very hot day, but at that time it had cooled down a little, and the temperature was ideal, even the water felt less cold than usual to me… Most people had already returned home, there were only a few left. And at that moment, it was all peace and quiet.

What a joy.

So there I was peacefully walking, enjoying the scenery, deep in my own world of thoughts, feeling happy for having set aside my to-do list for a little while to live the present moment (and in my head giving shape to a blog post about priorities, which I will write some other day) when another visitor of the beach took this cool picture:

Bea walking along the beach at dusk, her reflection showing in the water

An unexpected little present, and a lovely memory, thanks Sharon!

Recharged batteries

Every once in a while it´s good to have a change of scenery, even if it´s just for a couple of days, to set aside the daily routine, change perspective, and recharge batteries. This summer, for the second year in a row, I took the girls on a mini-vacation in Ireland, or using a popular expression nowadays, on a staycation (holidaying without leaving the country).

It´s really such a joy to go out and visit new places, or return to places you visited years ago... And these lockdown times have made me appreciate these opportunities more than ever. I´ve loved going back to the ring of Kerry, and we´ve had the privilege of seeing it at our own pace, without rushing, and without the endless row of tourist buses that usually invade these lands during the summer months. 

During this family trip, we´ve had a bit of everything: surprises, changes of plans, lots of music on the radio (of varying quality), lots of ice cream (and chocolate!), and above all, lots of amazing landscapes. Here´s an example, the Kerry cliffs:

View of the Kerry cliffs and the sea

So in summary, we´re bringing back a big load of good memories, enough to keep us going until the next break. And if going away on a holiday for a few days feels great, equally great is coming back home afterward :-)

After having this little rest (more of a mental break than a physical one, I must say), I´m resuming my day to day with renewed energy, especially the couple of projects I´m working on, that I´m really excited about, one of them this blog of course. I´ll keep you posted.

A sentence up on the wall

Every now and then I´m going to leave around here one of the quotes and sayings that most resonate with me. This one I saw for the first time as a child, in a magazine, and even though I didn´t fully understand it at the time, it caught my attention:

A man only possesses what he cannot lose in a shipwreck

Hindu proverb
Hook Head lighthouse, in county Wexford (Ireland), where the rocks and the mighty winds have surely caused more than one shipwreck.