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Each Trip a New Beginning 3

It’s 97 degrees in Toledo, and we’ve just arrived for our annual summer visit. I haul suitcases up the stairs from the garage while the abuelos show Basil his new toys and exclaim over how much he’s changed. JJ prints his train ticket for tomorrow’s business trip to Barcelona, and I get us settled in. I hang up sundresses next to winter coats from the last trip. Stow sandals in the shoe cupboard next to an old pair of sneakers. Organize baby shirts and pants. Then we all go sit outside in the shade with cold drinks and Spanish tortilla sandwiches to talk and watch Basil play.

When you have family on the other side of the world, trips to see them become markers in the seasons of your life, like the first snow signaling the start of winter. Each Christmas, each summer, we decide on our dates. Buy our tickets. Make plans to see friends and family before we leave. Pack our suitcases. Worry over keeping the baby entertained and fed on the flight now that we have Basil. And then we do the nearly 24-hour trip from California to Spain.

The trip itself is always exhausting. Two flights, one 9 ½ hours with a 16-month old. But once we are here, and start settling into a routine, I always feel the possibility in a life lived like this. The ways that having family in two countries stretches you. It makes you cross boundaries more often. Language, culture, food boundaries. There is a way that travel makes you see yourself anew, and these family trips to Spain do that for me. They make me start fresh. Each time I go through the list of things to attend to before leaving, make the trip, and then we’re here. And while the isolation of being far from family and friends can be hard, it also makes me read and write more, and I like that. I like the distance from daily life that comes with being in a faraway place.

Now, with Basil’s milestones marking the passage of time, each trip is even more of a new beginning. Last Christmas, he had just begun to crawl. He was pulling himself up on the dresser for the first time, opening drawers, figuring out how to get up stairs. Now he is walking, exploring each room on his own, climbing up on furniture, holding his Poppy’s hand as we walk through the old town to visit his Great Grandma.

This is the first trip to Spain since I finished my degree. Another new beginning. I’m excited to write while I am here, and see where it leads me. See how the future looks 2 weeks from now when I’m home again. And thanks to Meg’s challenge, and NaBloPoMo, I’m going to share more of the process here this month. See you tomorrow!


  1. Megsie

    07/03/2013 at 10:26 pm

    This is such a lovely post. A new way to look at travel, you really do have to stretch. I have never really thought of it like that, and maybe that is why I am reluctant to travel. I like things in routine. From food to housing. Once I am at my destination, it is always fun (well…most of the time), but it is the getting there. Packing, planning, the actual traveling and the anxiety of being away from home and my dog that makes me never want to leave. I am in awe of all of my bloggy friends who travel the world, and live all over the world. It makes me think I need to get out of my comfort zone a little bit more and LIVE a little bit!

    I am so HAPPY that you are up for the challenge! Woot!

    • Willow

      07/04/2013 at 4:16 am

      I like things in routine too, Meg. I don’t think I would travel this much, this far, if it weren’t for life happening the way it has! At the same time, I think we all yearn for adventure, for change, escape from our daily lives at times. I know that is why I read blogs in faraway places, and books!

  2. Cynthia Newberry Martin

    07/11/2013 at 2:27 pm

    What a wonderful post and photos. I love traveling–all the packing and planning. And I so agree: There is a way that travel makes you see yourself anew.


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