I ask my new German friend of approximately 16 hours why on earth the Barcelona girl who just passed us on the street would be wearing a shirt of the U.S. flag. My friend didn’t even notice, let alone find it weird. In fact, she mostly just finds it weird that I find it weird.
I tell her that nobody likes Americans, and she is genuinely baffled.
I think of American girls as open-minded and nice, she says. That’s how they always are in movies. Is it true?
I’m not a good traveler yet.
My socks still aren’t dry after being hand-washed two days ago. (They also probably still smell dirty.) I did such a good job hiding my valuables in my backpack that it took me ten minutes to find my passport when I checked into my second hostel. My iPhone only takes terribly dark pictures of me blinking. Apparently, you’re only supposed to tip between seven and ten percent in Europe. I’m still thinking in English, which I think is rude even as I’m automatically saying sorry for accidentally doing something else rude. And I may have drunk an entire bottle of Spanish tap water, which I guess I maybe wasn’t supposed to do.
Still. I have already made (and said goodbye to) new friends. I have walked miles (kilometers) and breathed in history. I’ve already written more than a dozen pages in my new Moleskine, and as incredibly cheesy as it sounds, I feel inspired. La Sagrada Família makes me want to both convert to Catholicism and study under an amazing architect. The weather has been beautiful and if I could eat tapas forever, it might even win out over food truck tacos. I am smiling, mostly. And while I’m realizing that long-term travel will be far from a relaxing holiday, I am learning.
It’s 1AM right now, and my new hostel-friendly vibrate-only alarm will (not) sound at 6:15AM so I can catch the first (and cheapest) train to Pamplona.
I can’t wait.