A year ago today was my first day leaving my cozy AirBnB in Carabanchel, Madrid, Spain to go explore what would be my new home for the next six months. What I would find and learn after leaving that apartment to go explore Madrid is something that words haven’t been created for. It was this first solo adventure that sparked the drive for the rest of the adventures that followed and the desire to have so many more.
Before I left New York, everyone would ask me “aren’t you afraid?” “won’t you miss your friends, family, etc?” While yes I will admit that I was going to miss the people and norms that I was used to, the excitement to do something new and different overpowered any nerves that I might have felt. I couldn’t wait to start the adventure that has changed my life forever. I arrived in Madrid on a early Thursday afternoon and settled at my adorable AirBnB. I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t nervous–I’m only human after all. I was about to spend the next two weeks, let alone few nights, alone. I didn’t leave my apartment except to grocery shop for the next two days. I was psyching myself out. I was letting the nerves build and spill over the bottle I kept them in. I was reminding myself that I was alone and didn’t know anyone. Friday night before I went to bed, I called up my mom and voiced my nerves to her–and myself–out loud.
After that phone call, I told myself “you are here because you wanted to be. this is something that you have been dying to do and now that you’re here your wasting it away in this little apartment. you’ve never been afraid to do things on your own before, why are you choosing to now? okay, its a new city (new country!), but all the more reason you should be taking it all in! Go do all the things you want to and planned to do and stop pitying yourself–you hate that.” Yes, I give myself pep talks. No, I’m crazy….at least its not proven. The point was that I pushed my nerves and fears aside, to make room for my dreams and desires to become my reality.
Saturday morning was a new day. I woke up and told myself you are going to go explore and make the most out of this experience, even if it means doing it alone. I got ready and out the door I went to spend that beautiful August afternoon in Sol, the center of Madrid. I mastered the metro system and went down every alleyway I found–they aren’t as sketchy as those in New York–leading me to a new street or shortcut. I sat down at Rodilla to have lunch and began to people watch. It was sitting there, at the edge of Callao, that I knew there was no reason to be psyching myself out. There was no one in my way except me. It was a year ago today, that I decided that I wasn’t going to stop myself from turning my dreams and goals into my reality.
Location: Queens, NY