Days-off seem to outnumber the days I work. It’s a good life. And you know, I didn’t think a job like this was possible but am sure hoping to find another one like it! In November when I took another glance at the calendar to plan for vacations and puentes, long weekends, I was pleasantly surprised to see I had 3 days off for Carnival in February, only a 2 day work week! But upon further studying and taking into account exam schedules, I have the entire week off!
Then the pondering began…
Where will I go? Where do I want to go?
On my ways to work, instead of whistling down the street, my brain spun webs of fairytale places of where I could go in winter- trading one rain shower and overcast sky for another only with a different landscape! But despite all the destinations I had in mine-not ideal for February weather (Scotland, Finland, Amsterdam, Prague) I realized despite not finding any super cheap flights on the proclaimed cheap airlines that maybe it was less about the destination and more about sharing it with someone.
I really wanted a travel buddy!
Yes. Me. World traveler. Expat. Pick up and go when I want.
Miss Independent Solo traveler wanted a travel buddy.
I asked friends whom I would want to travel with-I’ve learned the easy and hard way about choosing travel buddies. They can make or break a trip or worse off, a friendship!
Friends were interested but they either didn’t have the time-off, money, or one amiga in particular whom I met through my beloved blog, her passport is being held hostage while she awaits residency in the UK.
Bummer. No go.
Instead of being sad and disappointed, I told myself their must be a reason and to trust things will fall into place.
And then I thought, hmmm I know someone who just might be really fun to get to know. A gal whose blog I recently re-came across on all things food in Spain and only a few months before we exchanged a few emails between us and we realized we had a few random things in common- we both went to SF for the summer with the intention of staying, and both worked at the same up and coming from cocoa bean to chocolate bar factory with only a handful of employees, but missed each other by 2 weeks. If it wasn’t for a blog post she happened to read, we still wouldn’t know we had crossed paths and it’s no surprise our temporary bosses didn’t mention anything. But you’d think, if they we’re cool and hip, they may have said, “hey Lauren, A gal who just moved here from Spain also named Lauren worked here for a few weeks, a few weeks ago. What a coincidence.” Seems like something someone might find interesting, no?! But anyhow, it doesn’t matter. That job was just what I needed to propel me back to Spain.
Like me, she’s living in Spain again, a traveler and she’s a foodie. She’ not just interested in eating food but in all aspects including how and where it’s made and more importantly, who makes it- Whose the farmer that feeds you?
She’s my kind-of gal!
Only a few days before she had commented on a post mentioning if are paths cross, it would be fun to do a bike trip through Portugal. The thought of be-friending a bike to get me from place to place isn’t very romantic because I’ve just never known how to get along with a bike but I also never say NO to a good opportunity or an adventure and told her so because honesty is key, adding, “I think we’d make good travel buddies.”
I didn’t think much about my comment after I posted it, knowing their was a chance she may not see it but still had the plan to email her the following day asking her if she’d be interested in traveling in Europe with me. But the following day passed me by and I added “Contact Lauren” for my to-do list for the next day.
But that night while trying to set my alarm on my smartphone, I accidently clicked the internet browser, which opened my blog email. Guess what awaited me?
An email from Lauren apologizing that maybe she was being too direct but would I fancy a long weekend trip or something somewhere, she’ d be back in Spain at the beginning of February. Despite my eyes nearly shutting from exhaustion, a feeling of utter-happiness passed through me. Is this possible? This is crazy. We’re thinking the same thing! I couldn’t let another minute pass without telling her what I was thinking and I slowly typed out an email on my iphone telling her: “Yes.”
So we started thinking up possibilities and both agreed that a budget trip was best and staying in Spain (despite our desires to see more of Europe) made more sense too. We picked a region neither of us have been too, emailed interesting Couchsurfers and tomorrow we will start our journey together, spending 8 days together eating, drinking and chatting and with some luck a visit or two to a farm; with our only contact through emails, a few Skype conversations and reading each others’ blogs.
Call us crazy!
I know I am and I wouldn’t change that part about me- I’m that woman who took off to Africa with a one-way ticket and told everyone who’d listen, “I may be gone for 3 months or 3 years”!
But I already sense we will get on just fine. The more I interact with people and listen to my intuition, the more quickly I can decipher if I’ll have a connection with someone or not. If our 2nd and last Skype date is any indicator, will be talking until our mouths go dry and then will ask the bartender for another round of Sidra, cider.
My 4o litre travel backpack is packed, bulging at the seams with sweaters and warm clothes as I prep for rain, snow and sleet in the region of Asturias. I’m hoping to trade Pais Vasco grey skies and sleet falling days for some sunny skies in the land of cows, Cabrales cheese and Cider but in the North, you can never be so sure.
One thing for sure is will be eating a lot of cheese and drinking a lot of Sidra as we share travel stories and our new dreams and fears for the next chapter in our lives.
Have you ever traveled with someone you hadn’t met yet? Too crazy?? Would you do it if given the opportunity?
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