Discovering I totally don’t want to settle down (yet)
For three months we were in the south of Spain. Andalusia. I knew the name of the region and had heard it's beautiful, and it is. Also I almost immediately felt at home. After the different world that Morocco was - especially to women, this part of the world seemed so incredibly welcoming. Of course the endless stream of beer and wine that is poured daily, helps. And almost immediately we landed right in the middle (almost literally that is, since our campsite was right next to it) of the infamous Féria of Sevilla, which basically means partying for a week on end. After that we were treated to much more enjoyment of life. Because that is was the southern Spanish are all about, even if you take away the alcohol. Easily. There's a passion for life, around there, and it's contagious.
Longest stay ever
It was in Ronda that this feeling at home-kind-of-feeling got at its most. We stayed put for exactly three weeks. No need to say this has been the longest we've ever not moved. Well, the van, that is. I, myself, I hiked and got to know the valley on horseback as well. I enjoyed the pool that came with the campsite, got to know some nice people - both local and from abroad, withstood the unimaginable heat that struck us, and even got quite some work done.
The funny thing is, at one point I really felt as if I could live there. Like, seriously. I started to question myself whether I should not just stay there, then. This was a bit less serious, but still. I would never want to fool myself and think I like travelling around all the time while I actually don't.
I even, accidentally, came across a nice language school and imagined how nice it would be to learn Spanish there. I always hated learning new languages and I only speak French because I moved to France on my fifteenth and simply didn't have a choice, being dropped in a French school. But now I actually enjoyed using the few Spanish words I knew, how stupid I even must sound when talking – and annoyingly stopping in the middle of a ‘conversation’ to look up some other essential words through Google Translate now and then.
What to do?
It confused me. Did I have to do something with this feeling? I mean, it wasn’t like I was actually looking around for a place to live and I still wasn’t sure whether I actually wanted to live here. Wasn’t it maybe the easy pace of this area? Or the people who always seem to be open and up for a ‘chat’? Or, what actually does make you feel at home somewhere? Or do I just lack hanging out with others and therefore don’t feel part of a community that much? Because in all honesty, I could also easily imagine being a bit bored living there for some more months or so.
Leaving Ronda, as with all places we spent more time than average, it felt a bit emotional saying goodbye. In my head I whispered that I’ll come back, some day.
Being on the road again felt great and of course since then, it’s only been a week, we’ve already experienced the most wonderful things and places. Now I know why this feeling of ‘feeling at home’ had also made me feel so uneasy: I am totally not ready yet to settle down.
I guess someday I’ll be, because I am not a person to forever not have a steady base to return to. I also know that my life until now, with moving around in different kinds of cultures, has made for a lack of roots. There’s no place where I grew up where I totally feel at home. Instead I’ll always be looking at places from a somewhat theoretical way, checking boxes on things I look for.
Maybe that’s a part of what this journey is about: finding out where I belong. Without it being as dramatic as it now sounds, don’t worry. But aren’t we all looking for that, anyway?