In June 2013, the idea of this crazy long walk popped into our heads and etched something deep into our hearts. Since then we have been getting our lives ready for however this adventure will unfold and wherever this calling we’re stuck on following takes us.
But saying yes to a project-change-of-life-trip-challenge like this involves many sacrifices.
Some of the sacrifices may seem trite on the surface, while others will have a lasting impact that will shift our perspective, perhaps, permanently. An infinite number of small pleasures and everyday comforts will fall to the side, and we’ll have to adjust to a completely new way of living.
Here are a few things we’re leaving behind, at least temporarily, in one way or another. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it is representative enough to show how much we appreciate our lives in Catalonia, and what we think we’ll miss when we start walking in a few weeks.
For us, starting a journey with a sense of appreciation and gratitude lessens the sting that comes with letting go of big and little things we hold close. Perhaps, too, if we all took a moment to consider the inherent value of these things, we would all smile a bit more every day.
- Being with our families (the most important people in our lives)
- Hanging out with our friends
- Opening the sink faucet and having potable water to drink whenever we’re thirsty
- Enjoying the comfort of our apartment
- Having healthy, nutritious, good quality food always available in our refrigerator
- Cooking up a meal and using spices we’ve collected from around the world
- Turning on the heater or wrapping ourselves in extra blankets when we’re cold
- Going to the bathroom whenever we want and having a flushing toilet and toilet paper
- Picking up the telephone and talking with loved ones
- Sleeping in a bed with clean sheets
- Showering every day
- Wearing clean clothes
- Smelling fresh laundry out of the washing machine
- Plugging devices into the wall socket, and not worrying if there will be electricity
- Watching the little birds hop around our terrace looking for crumbs and listening to them sing to the sun
- Listening to music or lazily watching TV while laying on the couch
- Playing the piano when the mood strikes
- Relaxing in the peace and quiet of our living room
- Leaving the house without carrying anything, no heavy backpack and no sweaty money belt stuck to our skin
- Walking around and feeling safe in a beautiful city admired by many people around the world
- Heading to the gym for a spinning, kickboxing or crossfit class
- Strolling or jogging around Montjuïc Park or through vineyards in el Penedès or along the coast (where there are plenty of water fountains to refill water bottles. Yes, we are obsessed with finding potable water everywhere we go)
- Watching sunrise at the beach and sunsets on our terrace
- Running to the beach and washing off the sweat in the sea
- Paddleboarding during the first hour of a summer morning, when the sun is barely over the Mediterranean
- Bringing friends from around the world into our home, showing them Barcelona and Catalonia, and being the first one to show them the local tradition of building human towers
- Training days with the castellers (groups who make human towers), standing in awe of the giant towers built during the exhibitions and sharing pieces of our culture throughout Catalonia and around the world
- Having access to a comprehensive, safe, efficient and affordable public transportation for the days when our feet fail us
- Receiving good medical care we can trust in a safe and clean environment
- Living in a small country we love and feel is ours
- Speaking Catalan or English to family, friends and strangers on the street without thinking about who’s listening in, judging us or trying to get something from us
- Being involved in the work of building a brighter future here at home
- Knowing where our income is coming from every month
- Tapping a pin code into a bank machine and not worrying about the bills being counterfeit
- Feeling pretty sure that when we enter a police station they will be mostly on our side, and not angling for a way to get something they think they deserve
We recognize the privileges life has given us so far, and that accumulated luck now gives us the opportunity to dive into the adventure that will be the next phase of our lives. We hope the changes we will experience going forward will enrich our lives even more, and the sacrifices we’ll make in these coming years will allow us to continue living our best lives.
As we pack up our backpack and sort out the last details, we’ll take a few extra minutes to savor ALL the little pleasures of everyday life.