Some time ago I came across a quote by Paul Theroux: “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” On one hand, I have to agree. There are some days, days when I am spending seven hours on a bus, days when I am walking a mile and a half alone in the rain to get to the only ATM in town to pull out the last of my money at a 1.57 exchange rate with a three euro service charge, days when I literally cannot understand a word that anyone says here, days when I miss my friends and my family and hot showers; those are the days when things don’t seem very glamorous. But even now, with only the distance of a few days or hours between me and those moments, I realize that even the most trying, least fantastic experiences of this trip are the things that are going to make this whole experience worth it, and after a day, six months, or twenty years, they are going to sound fantastically glamorous in retrospect.
On the other hand, I also have to ask myself what kind of traveling this Paul Theroux fellow was doing, because I have done some pretty ridiculously incredible things already, and I certainly realized how amazing they were at the time I was doing them, not only in retrospect. Drinking wine in the courtyard of a 16th century palace (with free tapas!!), swimming in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean in the same week, waking up to church bells every morning (and falling asleep to audible bat noises every night?!): I know things are pretty incredible here, and it doesn’t always require a moment of reflection to figure that out. I’m sure Mr. Theroux was busying himself with trekking barefoot along the last vestiges of the silk road during some kind of war or something, so I guess he needed some time to appreciate his experiences, but for now I am going to be grateful for my pretty wonderful life here in Spain.
So after a thorough Wikipedia researching session to ensure that Paul Theroux wasn’t too offensive a character to quote, I figured that Glamorous in Retrospect would be a fitting title for this blog, because I know all of my experiences here, good and bad, are going to seem absolutely incredible when I look back at them later in life, no matter how I felt about them at the time they were happening (I’m thinking of the 10km trek through wet sand that I was just forced to endure with a 25lb backpack….even now, two days later, it sounds like such a great experience, but at the time, I was not happy). I also know that if I dare complain about anything that happens here, people are going to get on my case so fast about being such a spoiled brat, reminding me that I am in Spain, working 12 hours a week instead of forty, etc. etc. etc., and they are right; my life is incredible right now and I love it.
So here’s to hoping that “glamorous in retrospect” will only apply to some of my experiences here in Andalucía. As for the rest of them, I hope them to be thoroughly glamorous from start to end.