Right now I´m the most stressed I´ve been in 4 days. I´m sitting in an internet cafe on the island of Ibiza and I know I only have so much time left on the computer) but no clue how much, and the keyboard is so jacked up with strange symbols and keys in the wrong places, that it´s probably taken me about 20 minutes to type this sentence.
Okay, I´m exaggerating.
Also, this thing doesn´t seem to want to read my memory card, so the AMAZING photos (not from a photography standpoint, but from a subject/scenery standpoint) will just have to wait until we get back to Malaga. Unless there´s a decent internet cafe on Formentera, which I´m kind of doubting.
The reason I say this is the most stressed I´ve been is because I haven´t been stressed. Like, at all.
It´s pretty phenomenal.
From authentic paella (cooked by a man out of his restaurant/home where he´s been living his entire life), to a falafel made by a world-traveler who was born in Israel, to wine. Lots and lots of wine. We´ve been pretty fortunate. The less fortunate are those who have to look at me on the beach, since I´ve probably gained about 30 pounds.
Okay, I have lots more to share. Tons. But I´m kind of worried this thing is going to crap out on me mid-sentence and I feel like these stories would be much better with photos anyway, so I guess we´re going to have to wait just a little longer.
So I am fairly notorious for never being properly prepared for a trip. But this time? This time it’s like… extra bad.
Let’s just say we’re T-minus 3 hours from leaving our house, and we still have not packed, I haven’t sufficiently broken in my plane ridin’ jeans (since I failed to buy a decent pair of plane pants), my camera battery isn’t charged, I barely speak any Spanish, and I still don’t know the exchange rate from U.S. dollars to Euros.
Assuming Spain jumped on that whole European Union bandwagon.
The problem is that it never really feels like a trip is actually going to happen until the plane is burning rubber on the tarmac and I kiss the ground goodbye. (Although let’s hope the plane doesn’t actually burn rubber on the tarmac. I can’t imagine that would be good.) This mentality makes it awfully difficult to actually remove items I might need from my bathroom and closet and place them in various bags for transport.
Add to that the fact that only a day or two after we arrive in Malaga, we’ll be heading off on Ryan Air with only strictly size-regulated carry-on bags to spend the majority of our trip on the islands of Ibiza and Formentera. In fact, the only reason we’re bringing a checked bag (or two) at all is so that we have plenty of room to bring home the maximum allotment of bottles of Spanish wine and other food souvenirs. This means that we basically need to fit everything — including my DSLR and 2 lenses — into two small backpacks.
In case you’re new here, this is what I packed for 2 months in Costa Rica:
See that nice, green bag on the left? That won’t be coming. It’s too big.
See that black bag on the right? That’s the bag that’s supposed to fit all of my camera gear, my swimsuits, probably underwear, possibly toiletries, and anything else we can manage to stuff inside. Then, the rest of our clothes, shoes, and my purse will have to fit inside a second, similarly sized backpack.
Two bags. Period. No exceptions.
And I’m actually mildly concerned that backpack might be on the large-side. I’ll have to measure.
So you can see why someone who normally procrastinates on packing anyway might be particularly intimidated in this scenario.
Oh, well. I suppose if space gets really tight, we can throw out some of Justin’s clothes, because it’s not like I’d ever leave the camera behind.
Speaking of leaving things behind, I’m bringing my Netbook for use on the plane and maybe a bit in Malaga, but it’s very unlikely that I’ll be taking it to the islands. This means that I might be sparse on blog posts for a bit, but I promise I’ll make up for it upon our return to reliable internet connections.
That said, I wrote a guest post that will be featured on the blog Simply Solo this Tuesday (5/31), so I really, really hope you go over there and check it out.
1,000 points to the first person who can translate the title.
I always get a little nutty before I leave for a trip.
You’d think I’d be doing real preparations, like diligently laying clothes on my bed and testing their fit in various suitcases and carry-ons, performing a pageant of mini-toiletries on the bathroom vanity stage while judging which ones to tuck inside my bi-fold sundry travel pouch, and scheduling various rub-downs and polishes and waxages to prepare myself (and the world at large) for superfluous amounts of exposed skin.
I never pack more than half a day ahead of time. Even for that 2 month trip to Costa Rica. See, I don’t know what kind of money the rest of you people are made of, but I actually need the stuff I pack. My closet isn’t divided into a “vacation stuff” section and a “regular stuff” section. (Though wouldn’t that be nice?)
To me, that would be a waste — like dumping out half a pot of stale coffee and buying towels solely for decoration.
In true procrastinator style, I pack everything in my head weeks in advance, and then I pretty much just dump everything into my bag the night before we leave, toss in a few extras before we hop in the car, and assume that a) I can most likely buy anything pertinent I forget, and b) I most likely won’t die if I forget anything I can’t buy, because nothing is really that pertinent, when you think about it.
Unfortunately, my particular brand of stinginess now has vacation prep spillover into the arena of professional pedicures and BZM (Bikini Zone Management).
Did every guy who reads Domestiphobia just get uncomfortable? Are there any of you left??
That’s right. Now that I no longer have a steady paycheck and some nights leave the bar with only $11.80 in my pocket (no, I don’t want to talk about it), certain extravagances like trips to the spa are few and far between.
This kills me for 2 reasons:
1) Until fairly recently, I had never really been a “spa girl.” I felt uncomfortable with the idea of strangers touching my feet and picking at my toenails and judging my body hair. But then, once a co-worker broke me in to the wonderful world of soothing aromatherapies and trickling fountains and music with flutes and complimentary wine, there was no turning back.
2) Until very recently, pedicures were something I bought for fun — a relaxing day with a girlfriend. Plus, when my feet look pretty, I feel pretty. Happy feet equal a happy Katie. I didn’t actually crave pedicures until I could no longer afford them — until I quit my cubicle job and started waiting tables, running around a restaurant without sitting down for 5-9 hours at a time.
Oh, the irony.
But it’s not a total loss. Between small tubs of soapy water, $1 mini bottles of toenail polish, pumice stones and drugstore supplies of Nair, I’ll get something worked out before we leave.
See? DIY applies to pedicures and BZM — not just home improvements.
So if I’m not busy packing or primping, what, exactly, makes me so nutty before a trip?
Yep, I’m that girl.
When I can see a departure date fast approaching, I start looking around my house — at the small layer of dust coating the bookshelves, the un-vacuumed carpets, the spotty mirrors — and my eye starts to twitch.
(Okay, not really, but my friends know I like to do this fake eye twitch thing when I get irritated. Yes, I’m weird. This shouldn’t be news to you.)
How can we leave the house in such disarray? my frantic mind wonders.
What kind of mold might grow on those leftovers if we don’t eat them or throw them out?
What if someone breaks in while we’re gone and sees what filthy pigs we are??
But mostly, I just don’t want to come home from a long vacation knowing one of the first things I’ll have to do (besides laundry) is clean.
So that’s why I’ve been slightly MIA lately. That, and the fact that I’m trying to plan a not-so-typical baby shower for Alaina (more on that later — it will involve alcohol), edit some photos I took for my neighbor, beta read my friend’s novel, start/finish a few other writing obligations, and complete a slurry of other tasks/projects to which I’ve committed myself before we leave.
WHAT was I thinking?
The only thing keeping me motivated at this point is knowing that soon, sweet soon, I will be here:
And if anything can numb an overwhelming sense of unfinished obligations, it’s sun, sand, and Spanish wine.
dolce far niente.
Which is Italian, not Spanish, but it doesn’t really matter because pretty much all of those Europeans have it figured out.
I’m getting pretty excited for our upcoming trip to Spain.
So I was doing a bit of research on the 2 Balearic Islands we’ll be visiting, and it turns out that Formentera, with its stunningly beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters, apparently also has a “strong nude beach culture”.
I’ll admit that I kind of got a little super excited when I read this.
Because here’s the thing. I may as well just admit it.
(Joel, if you’re reading this, you might want to cover your ears. Or eyes. Or whatever.)
I am a naked person. I mean, I’m not naked right now, but I’m comfortable with nakedness.
(Okay, Joel. I could hear your “ewwww” all the way across the internet. But you can’t say I didn’t warn you.)
Joel is my brother, by the way. He doesn’t like it when I talk about being naked. Though I can’t imagine why.
But that’s right – I like being naked.
And honestly, what’s not to like? There’s no confinement, no elastic or buttons digging uncomfortably into your skin, no fabric bunching up in weird places when you’re sitting or trying to crawl into places it most certainly shouldn’t be crawling. It’s liberating.
Actually, I’m just a seasonal naked person. I’m not a fan of winter nakedness because then I’m just cold, and that kind of trumps the whole comfort factor of removing irritants that bunch and crawl.
Fortunately for the outside world, my nakedness is confined to the inside of my house. And there is no naked sitting on furniture in the “public” rooms, where you might find your own clothes-encumbered self sitting one day if I were to invite you in. Although, I’m not sure why that would make anyone uncomfortable since I’m pretty sure my naked self is much cleaner than the majority of my clothes, which are exposed to the germs and grime of the outside world, including waiting room chairs and public benches.
So I was intrigued, to say the least, that this little vacay might afford me the opportunity to truly fly free, without the fear of strange looks from my neighbors and eventual prosecution.
Sure, it might be a little hard to not stare at people at first. I’d have to try to maintain a doctor-like attitude of, “It’s just a body – get over it and move on with your life. Dogs walk around naked all the time and it doesn’t bother them, so why should this bother you?” You know, that type of thing. And I think I could do that, unless someone truly phenomenal walks by, like with braided pubic hair or flapjack-sized areolae*. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things, but I’m just saying – I might stare.
*Yes, I Googled the plural for “areola.” I can’t be expected to know everything.
But aside from possibly witnessing some strange body phenomena (which could also be viewed as a plus when you really think about it), the nude beach thing just seemed like a fun thing to try.
Think about it, I said to Justin. We could be naked! Outside! Feel the sun in places on our bodies that have never experienced the soothing power of its vitamin D-soaked rays! Although I’m not sure I could go completely naked… you know… down there. There’s just something about the idea of sand and various beach creatures and I’m just not sure I’m ready for that kind of complete exposure to nature, you know? But it might be fun to try it. Just for a little bit. Because, you know, we can. But topless? Hells, yeah – count me IN! We’ll just have to make sure to bring lots of sunscreen because I’m pretty sure experiencing sunburned nipples is not on my bucket list. God, no. Can you imagine? Aren’t you excited to be naked in the wild?
“Umm, Katie.” Justin did not sound enthused.
What? What could you possibly have against being naked? Americans are such prudes. Why can’t we just appreciate the human body for its beauty? Why do we have to be so uncomfortable and judgy all the time? I can’t possibly be related to you. Even if it’s just by law.
“Katie, we will be with my sister. Remember?”
“My sister and her boyfriend.”
Oh. Yeah. I suppose that might be weird for you, huh?
“Just a bit.”
Well then, it’s a good thing we’ll have plenty of wine to go with our nonexistent tan lines!
Realistically speaking, I really don’t think it ever stopped biting me. It’s like a greedy little deer tick, barely noticeable to the naked eye, latching on and digging in and sucking my lifeblood until I can think of little else but the pleasure of meeting new people, the adventure of traversing new roads, the taste of new flavors on my tongue, the thrill of discomfort.
It matters not that I returned from a 2 month stay in Costa Rica a mere 5 months ago.
All that really means is that I’ve been suffering 5 months of withdrawals.
And I can tell you this for sure – after 2 months of high, the comedown can be a bitch.
When I talk like this, most people don’t tend to understand.
But… you have a wonderful husband, they say. And that, I do.
But… you have a nice home and adorable puppies and a comfortable bed! Yes, I’m incredibly fortunate.
But… why would you want to leave these things for the difficulty of living out of a suitcase? The pain of getting from one place to the next without the luxury of your own vehicle? The questionable cleanliness of your pillow? The struggle of communicating with people who don’t speak your language?
Because, my friends, that’s how I know I’m alive.
Travel is the pinch I give myself when life starts to feel too much like a mundane dream. It’s a pleasant dream, to be sure. Comfortable. But you know how sometimes you get too comfortable and you fall asleep and your entire leg goes numb from lack of circulation – stimulation – and you have to beat on it just to get it to wake back up and feel something again?
It’s like that.
Like I said. Most people don’t understand.
The good news is that this time, Justin is going with me. Or maybe I should say I’m going with him. Because, as is our fashion when we’re taking a “big” trip, we’re visiting someone we know. It’s one of the best ways to make an otherwise unattainably expensive trip… attainable. Besides, there’s no better way to experience a locale than to travel with a “local.”
We’re visiting one of Justin’s sisters, Becca, and her boyfriend Bradley, who have been living in Spain for the past 2 years.
That’s right – Spain.
They spend their time teaching English to students in Spanish classrooms and traveling around Europe. And sometimes Africa.
I know. It’s a rough life.
And since they’ve decided to move stateside again at the end of the school year to pursue even higher education, Justin and I realized that if we want to visit Spain while knowing someone who lives there, it might be now or never.
We’ve never actually met Bradley. Becca met him while they were both working on the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean and it’s all very magical and romantic. I’m excited because I already know I love Becca and, based on his blog musings and awesome taste in music (just read the linked post comments), I’m pretty sure Bradley and I are going to be friends.
Plus, he’s a huge planner and Justin actually likes to have a schedule (I know – he’s weird), so Becca and I can just go with the flow. It’s pretty much the perfect situation.
While I’m slightly bummed we won’t have time to see much of mainland Spain or any of Portugal (one of my dream places to see), we will get to experience two completely different and amazing Mediterranean islands, Ibiza and Formentera. So I can’t complain.
And, based on preliminary Google image searches, on Ibiza we’re going to experience a lot of this: