W hen you read this title, did you think that I might be enjoying a little tequila as I wrote? If so, I'm sorry to say that that was not quite the case. But it's probably fair to say that I am drunk on Spain, where I recently spent two weeks visiting my daughter who is enrolled in a study-abroad program there.
My daughter's extended stay in the country turned out to be particularly helpful because she was able to provide useful hints on the culture that one gets only by living in a given location. She had also taken the time to compose for me a list of useful words for getting around, and all of the words that I included in the title above were contained in her list.
I belong to the group of people who just love to travel. When I am traveling, I find that my sense of the surrounding environment is heightened. In fact, I find that I have to be "on" all the time, especially when I am traveling in a country in which people speak a different language. I have to be "on" to avoid getting lost, sometimes to avoid being swindled, to take in the surrounding environment, including architecture and culture, to read both the signs and the people, to revel in the moment, and to live the full experience of being in a new place.
Traveling offers some of the most intense opportunities to create shared memories, and many incidents, while unpleasant when they occur, morph into either memorable occurrences or useful lessons. I sometimes think that I am perhaps most alive when I am traveling.
The story I am about to share with you happened very early in the morning, when, truth be told, no one in our travel party was very much awake. We were taking a 6:30 a.m. flight to Barcelona. The departure time of this flight was a bad choice on my part, because it meant we had to be up in the wee hours of the morning in order to reach the airport in time.