It started a couple days into my stay in Spain: The feeling of, “All right, it’s been good…now it’s time to go.” It hit me just after I’d left my friends’ apartment to go for a walk before getting lunch. I ducked into a cafe to have a coffee and regroup. The cafe’s stereo had a Neil Young song on, which, being a big fan of him, I took to be a good sign. My turn at the counter came and cervesa shot out of my mouth instead of cafe. I sat down. The beer arrived a moment later. Neil Young faded out and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” came on. How fitting, I thought. Two songs from two favorite musicians; one of which was about the road. I sipped my beer, got out my journal, and tried to get a few thoughts down while the music played. The Spanish beer was cold and smooth.
Since leaving Korea, I’d gone on to Japan and England before flying to Spain. All of those countries have distinct identities and cultures. I’d had plenty to adjust to. It felt good…for a while, anyway. In Spain, my Spanish was coming back and I was reunited with a wonderful couple, Peter and Carrie, who were also EPIK teachers with me in Korea. They were British and we’d had many meals together back then. Being with them provided a much needed shot of fellowship, for as I’d posted about earlier, traveling had been lonesome at times. Lately it had grown tiring as well. My grand plan to go back to England, see friends in London and Liverpool, and eventually get on to Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Ireland; was looking less and less appealing. I would still go back to England because I’d committed to visiting a couple of friends there. But, beyond that, I just wanted to go home. Yet at least the trip had cleared my head of all the stress I’d accumulated in Korea. I hadn’t thought about teaching in weeks, but I was feeling eager to return to it.
I finished the small beer and ordered another because “American Pie” came on and I had to hear the song. Thoughts of home and how to get there flooded my mind. I’d already booked a flight back to England. I hadn’t booked a flight back to America yet out of uncertainty over when I’d be finished with traveling. The time had indeed come to book a ticket home. By then I’d been on the road for just short of a month and didn’t care to be in Spain anymore. Despite understanding and speaking a bit of Spanish, the maze of Cordoba’s streets overwhelmed me. It was my third or fourth day in Spain and I’d hardly seen anything beyond an art museum and train stations. The desire to go out and see stuff wasn’t there.
Going home from England had, from my research, been expensive and long. I would indeed have to go home from Dublin, Ireland, for Aer Lingus had an inexpensive direct flight to Chicago. K and Scotland would have to wait. She and her boyfriend would understand. Seeing them would have been great, but I would’ve been too worn out from traveling to be good company when I got there. Even then, I was struggling to be cheerful with Peter and Carrie. I considered what Paula said about the ferry service from Liverpool to Dublin and figured that’d be the best way to go to Ireland. I’d never traveled to another country on a ferry before. Ireland had long been part of my travel plans and it would be crazy to turn back now. Meanwhile, “American Pie” ended and the beer was still half-full. I still had a few more days in Spain to relax. The plans in England still lay ahead. Thinking of them felt good. I finished the beer and went on to lunch.
That was last weekend. I’m in London again, writing this in a small Kensington hotel room. I booked the flight out of Ireland.