The best days can be perfectly ordinary, and I guess yesterday was one of them. I am now 24 years old and didn’t do anything especially remarkable to celebrate. I’m not going out dancing or drinking—partly because I’m here with my dad and don’t feel like going alone, and also because we’re going to wake up early tomorrow to visit the city of Toledo. Not that I didn’t have a great time today: I went to marvel at Picasso’s Guernica. I took in the heady aroma of gourmet Spanish food at Mercado San Miguel. I even bought a few shirts to replace my increasingly ragged ones, and to cap it all off my dad bought a new camera to replace the beat up point-and-shoot I’ve been using since I began this blog (you may have noticed an odd medley of black spots in my photos—they shall be no more)!
Our apartment is a little to the south of Sol, in a neighborhood brimming with Indian and Senegalese markets, restaurants, and barbershops. I wanted to enjoy the local scene, so for dinner we found a great Indian place just around the corner. You might argue that today was a relatively uneventful day, especially compared to some of the experiences I have had on my journey thus far. I didn’t walk for 20 miles on an almost empty stomach. I didn’t stand at the edge of the raging sea and feel very, very small. I didn’t meet a beautiful woman in Paris and kiss her in the rain (that last one will take some time to get over).
Five months ago, on a sunny day in the heart of France, I was having a picnic with some friends on the Camino when I had a euphoric epiphany: to find happiness here and now, not shrouded in the fog of the past nor obscured by the mystery of the future. The beauty—and I suppose, curse—of traveling is that even a milestone as big as a birthday can become just another day; the idea of living in the moment can be looked at in reverse. Monday is as exciting to me as Saturday. A day spent sitting on a train for 12 hours is as fulfilling as a day spent exploring a new city. Days that are supposed to be especially unique lose their exotic sheen, but only because the day preceding and the day after are equally—yet differently—important. Each day offers something new to us, and every day the sun rises and we wake up is a day that we have been born once again into the world, to enjoy what it offers us and give back in return. And before I forget: happy birthday, to you!
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