Travel Update: On Relativity

Spring has come to Barcelona.

One of the strange side effects of a travel itinerary that goes from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean is that everyone looks a little, erm, over dressed.

You’ll notice a lot of puffer jackets in this photo. It was taken in Badalona on the first day of Spring. It was 16C/60F degrees outside.

It’s certainly true that the extreme cold of Reykjavík makes me appreciate this warm weather that much more.  For me, the lesson to take away from this is that everything is relative.

Cold weather, cultural norms, good days and bad days – everything changes based on the place you’re visiting. I think one of the worst things you can do as a traveler is try to conform your old habits to the new place. For instance, in Iceland a cup of coffee may cost you about 4 USD – it may be a good time to try to kick the habit.  In Jordan, running outside is impractical and potentially unsafe, so expect to shell out for a gym membership.  Traveling to Spain means dramatically readjusting your eating schedule to later hours. And yes, blending in here may mean wearing a coat even if its not so cold out.

At worst these changes are a minor inconvenience, and at best they force you to experiment and break out of your routine. Then you can take back the things you like and implement them upon your return from your travels.

This is a great lesson for all aspects of life actually. Life is all about phases. School, work, play. Sometimes you’ll be happy, sometimes not. Sometimes you’ll be doing work you love, and sometimes everything will feel like drudgery. Sometimes you’ll have way too much free time, and other times taking a second to check your phone will feel like a major luxury. Sometimes you’ll be really fit, and sometimes you’ll discover a really amazing ice cream place around the corner from your apartment.

While seeking balance is clearly ideal, it often simply isn’t possible. Slow travel, for example, is a lot cheaper (and better?) than rushing from place to place on a weekend away from work.

So, work when it’s time to work. Play when it’s time to play. Travel when you’ve been offered a gap year.

Other things going on in my life:

  • Just got back from a lovely trip to the south of France.  I’ll be posting some photos here – so let’s get social.
  • My host parents balked when I told them I am used to eating lunch before noon in america.  Like I said – adjusting is hard!  This is a great list of lunch spots to help me stick to my commitment not to eat before 2pm.
  • I updated the Caravel Books Map to reflect upcoming travels.

Caravel Books


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