Getting on the train in Madrid to San Sebastian was a bit of an ordeal. I, as usual, left the house ten minutes later than I was supposed to, and then almost got on the wrong direction of metro in Madrid towards Chamartin station. Luckily I caught myself in time, but I missed the first metro I could have taken and had to wait for the next one... making my already tight time schedule to make the train even tighter. But I made it! I was the last person on the train, and the doors literally closed after I had entered, but I did make it!
Five hours later, leaving the train at San Sebastian was a much more leisurely process. As I walked next to the river by the train station, towards the ocean I've been missing so much, admiring the architecture so different from Madrid's.... I wasn't really sure how to process the change I'd just made in my life. What the @#$ was I doing and where was I? As I checked into my hostel (feeling awkward as I made small talk with Gordon the hostel worker as he quickly circled sites and bars of interest on the map of San Sebastian knowing i'd retain little of the information) I felt even more unsure of how to process this change I'd just made from sedentary to traveler. I was going to have to meet new people, put myself out there constantly, adjust to knew places all the time... it seemed so daunting and tiring! I just wanted to run away! So I did – I ran to the ocean, sat on the sea wall, ate an orange, and took some time: getting my bearings, taking some breaths. I felt better. I went to an awesome little cafe and got a veggie burger (something quite difficult to find in Madrid). I felt even better. I wandered around the pedestrian, europeanesque streets of the city, went to the supermarket and saw that the prices of food in San Sebastian were cheaper than Madrid, and didn't only feel better, but felt excited. I was someplace different! I was seeing things different, I was meeting people different, I'd be experiencing all the small things different again. I feel really glad that I made the change that I made.
The next day and a half was a whirlwind of people, food, and sites, including visiting a big statue of Jesus towering over the town from a hill top, and enjoying the random festivities occurring all over the city since this weekend was Carnival. I'm deeply in need of a long night of sleep, but it was a good time for sure.
Some of the people I met in San Sebastion that I want to mention. Firstly, my new Canadian friend Eaman who was in the same hostel as me. I got to know him at first because he had cooked too much pasta and offered to share it with me (free food while traveling is always awesome). We ended up spending the next day together walking around the city, visiting Jesus, and eating pinxtos at the delicious pinxto/tapas bars in the city. Eamon was about a week a away from finishing a 2.5 month mostly solo travel through Egypt, Morroco, (unexpectedly Germany cus he had to evacuate first Egypt, then Morroco for the political upheavals going on in those countries currently) Spain, and Portugal. I'm not exactly sure what Eaman does back in Toronto, but it has something to do with relationships/social relationships/social work. These are something very important and central in his life. We talked a lot about life relationships, and how important they are. Eamon is particularly close to his sister and his mom, but does a good job keeping in contact with many of the people he finds important in his life. I find this admirable, since it's something I'm always saying goodbye to people/wishing I could keep in better contact with people (although it does take two sometimes, and I will not assume all of the guilt of any of the relationships I've neglected.) He also believes that one can have an infinite number of important relationships with people, which not everyone thinks. Some people chose to only focus on the relationships they have and won't open themselves up to meeting new people/developing new relationships. I believe that I stay open, and that one can have an infinite number of important relationships too, but I also think that some of my views of this, what it means to keep in touch, what it means to be an important relationship could use some molding... thus the traveling =)
Another interesting person I met in San Sebastian was this girl named Alexis (also Canadian) She's 25, and currently working at EU hostel in San Sebastian (a hostel which said they'd be interested in hiring me on for the summer too, and the hostel gives a lot of opportunities for their employees to make money while working, so there's a good chance i'll be doing that for this summer. Alexis is an artistic and transitory girl. She studied carpentry for a time, is about to do a blacksmith apprenticeship in Barcelona, and then will probably return to San Sebastian for the summer. We spent the night talking to each other about a crazy number of things. She's basically spent the last 5 years traveling. She'd occasionally go home, but was living for 3 months here, 5 months there, etc. Like me she can't seem to stay in the same place because she can't seem to find a place that fits. But then what does that mean? She's thinking now maybe she needs to let the place and the people come to her, and stay put for a while. Whereas me... I spent the last six months staying in the same place and now want to roam more. Well, maybe I'll be seeing her again, and staying put again for a time in San Sebastian this summer. It's a lovely city – beautiful, interesting culture, amazing food, and a lot of great natural beauty around it. Vamos a ver.