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When boredom becomes a travel companion

Basilica of St. Michael, Bordeaux, France, built between the end of 14th century and the 16th century The thing with dreams for those with hyperactive minds like mine is that once they become reality the brain will likely wrestle with the blooming of sameness. Halfway through my trip, around day 35, I felt a mash up of boredom and melancholy building up in my chest. It made absolutely no sense. I was now in France, for heaven's sake! I was living THE life, one stunning location after another, each new meal more exquisite than the last, each ancient wall filled with cracks and gargoyles that sparked my wildest medieval fairy tale fantasies. The freedom to choose where to go, what to do, who to talk to, when to sleep and wake up. For the past five weeks my decisions evolved around whether I would pour myself a glass of red, white, rosé or sparkling; whether I'd see the flow of life at a charming café or relax in solitude in my rental to the tunes of newly found local music. So wh

Las Fallas

As soon as I got off the plane from Porto and landed in Valencia, the mind fog from waking up at 4am to catch my flight was gone. I was startlingly at ease in my new surroundings and ditched the taxi ride for the subway. The energy was different from Portugal, an extra hint of palpable liveliness in the air, or perhaps just my brain associating this part of the world with fire, passion and saffron. People spoke something that sounded both familiar and completely brand new, and that’s how I learned that Valencians speak Valencian, a dialect of Catalan. I got off at the Xàtiva station and in a literal bang the city flourished in front of my eyes: there was music coming from all corners, churro stands, hordes of people and nonstop thundering sounds of fireworks. The imposing Plaça de Bous, the bullring built in 1850 in the molds of the Roman Colosseum, stood fierce across the street. I was in Spain alright and had arrived for the five main days of Las Fallas, a massive festival dating bac

I spun the globe and am taking off | Career Break Series

   Studying, dreaming, vision boarding with my little sister in the 1980s (I'm on the left) I vividly remember the turquoise-colored table globe spinning, my sister and I hovering our tiny skinny fingers over it until the rotation stopped and they landed on a country. I loved learning their names, but most of all, I loved to imagine myself exploring those faraway lands, so exotic, so unreachable. We would then grab scissors, glue, a stack of mom’s fashion magazines and meticulously look for models with outfits that represented the countries of our spin the globe game. Once we found the perfect ensemble, we would bond the images to a notebook and with colorful cursive letters write the location and occasion. In my imaginary “Summer afternoon in Valencia, Spain” I was a gorgeous lady wearing a beautifully embroidered white skirt, a matching top and a straw hat. In real life I was seven, eight years old. I didn’t know back then that this game was a vision board for what would occur al

Pilot Light

Sunday morning. For the first time, I see the obvious in its nomenclature: the Sun made a theatrical entrance in my Day, beaming a torch of white celestial light in my living room. The fire burning in the fireplace moves to my core, or perhaps it’s been there all along, the pilot light, the vital force of all that there was and all that there will be. My chimney needs fuel. Ravel’s Boléro descends to my calling. Play. Now. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue I must. Frida Khalo’s diary is a given: “Nada más vale que la risa. Es fuerza reír y abandonarse. Ser ligero” (“Nothing is better than laughter. It is strength to laugh and abandon oneself. Be light.”), says the woman with the most magnificent furnace since the Inquisition burned all of us witches. It feels criminal to dive into those pages filled with intimacy, bursts of ire and love, blazes of heaven and hell. Forgive me, muse, for my transgressions, but I too burn with desires, my inner exposé landing in cyclical patterns, like comet