It’s January 21th, 2010 and it’s time to assess my dreams, both those realized and those still lying ahead. If you were still alive (or ever alive) think you would be proud of how far I have chased my dreams, but I still have much further to go.
2009 was a big year for dreams. I bought myself a one-way ticket to Singapore and sought adventure across all of Asia. I traveled by boat, train, bus, ox-cart, horse, and motorcycle and eventually wound up in St. Petersburg, Russia seven months later. I wrote about it on my blog, Celestial Navigation, which you can read here if you have access to the internet in Castilla La Mancha.
In Asia I discovered my love for learning about cultures and languages through travel, so I came here to Castile to learn Spanish in its purest form, to use my pueblo as a base for exploring the rest of Europe, and to give myself time to write a book about my adventures in Asia. This year is intended to be one of self-improvement, a year to cultivate my skills and pursue my greatest passions.
I have been here in Spain for four months and I am quite satisfied with how my Spanish has improved. Before I came here I could barely order a burrito from my local Mexican restaurant, but after months of self-teaching and practice I have reached proficiency and I am able to speak of more complex subjects. Why, just last week I was able to explain to a friend why George Bush invaded Iraq – something I can’t even do in English! I intend to study the language until mid-April, at which time I wish to begin studying French in anticipation of traveling through France this summer.
Beyond the language, I have also picked up many Spanish customs, from playing the Spanish guitar, to the daily practice of the siesta, the paseo and saying “mañana,” to eating nearly-fatal amounts of chorizo and roast suckling pig.
I have traveled extensively within Spain through Catalonia, Castile and Andalusia. And I have ventured beyond Spain many times in the last few months, to Lisbon, Paris, Brussels, and Ghent, including a week spent hitchhiking across Ireland with my good friend Hendrik over winter vacations.
It has been incredibly fun, but I have more dreams that remain unrealized…I dream of finishing my English-teaching job in May and walking El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, I dream of learning French, of spending the summer picking grapes in the south of France, of moving to Paris, of writing a book and getting it published and using my words to make a difference in the world and then, and then…Well, the list goes on.
Is all this possible? Any of it? I have already had more adventures than most; is it too much to ask for more? Do all good things really have to end or can they actually get even better? How does this story end? What genre is the book of my life? A romantic quest with a happy ending? A tragedy? An comedy of errors? Or will my quest not even become a story in the end? What is going to happen to me next?!?
Wait! Don’t tell me anything! I don’t want to know what happens yet! Ruining the surprise would ruin my adventure! There is only one way to find out…
Well, Don Quixote, good chat. So are you with me? Who wants to be my Sancho Panza? You, reader from the blogosphere? Alright, you will do, then. Saddle up the horses and let’s ride off into the sunset!