This New Year, I am in Seville, Spain. An experience like this, traveling and exploring a new place, is the way I like to celebrate the New Year versus focusing on resolutions. Do I have New Year’s resolutions? Yeah, I have some. I see them more as a few goals and I think of them and hang on to them rather loosely. Probably because I tend to establish goals all throughout the year and not just at the first of the year. What I do believe the New Year’s holiday can hold for me is a direction and track on which the next year is going have; in essence, what I am doing with my New Year’s day, can set things in motion for my future. Hmmmm…perhaps that can produce a bit of pressure sometimes, but I feel that I am off to a great start so far.
I had never been to Seville before this trip. I arrived a few days ago and stayed one night with my mother. We saw Flamenco dancing, ate amazing food, and walked till our feet hurt. From there we went to Cordoba, which was a fantastic and beautiful experience with some of the nicest local people I have met in Spain thus far. Stay tuned to my blog for a post in the near future about that visit in and of itself. When we left Cordoba, we had to take the train back through Seville and due to the New Year’s Eve holiday, our bus to continue home was cancelled when we arrived in Seville to connect. Now for some, being stuck in Seville unexpectedly could cause some stress. For me though, I take a different view. I grasped hold of this opportunity and enjoyed the adventure and spontaneity of finding a hotel room at the last-minute. The first place the taxi took us to had a room, great price, and wonderful location. I am just down the block and around the corner from the Museo de Baile Flamenco (the Museum of Flamenco Dance). Within walking distance is the main Cathedral of Seville – grand and beautiful in its ancient architecture.
The New Year holiday in Spain is different from what I am used to in the U.S.A. Instead of people being out to eat and stay up late, people are in homes with their families and the holiday is a very personable one spent with close relatives. Most of the local restaurants and bars are closed and the ones open are more geared for tourists and have a set menu that is more expensive. The minimum could range from 40 euros to 100 per person. The dinner I enjoyed with my mother was under white lights in a small side street and the restaurant was one of the few that had both a fixed and regular menu.
On this first day of 2012, I am staying in Seville alone and will meet my mother back in Extremadura tomorrow since she returned there today. As much as I love people, I enjoy having time to myself and I have wondered the old cobblestone streets of central Seville all day. I’ve met some of the local Sevillanos (those originally from Seville) and practiced my Spanish with them over cortados (a short espresso with a little bit of milk). It has been a wonderful time and experience.
More than anything, I feel more affirmed that making a point to be alone, single (whatever one wants to call it) and to spend time with oneself, is so beneficial. The experience of traveling alone is nothing to be feared as some may feel. When done in a safe and responsible manner, it does not hurt a person and can only benefit. How else do I get to know myself and be a whole person when interacting with others, than to have time with myself? Seville has truly been a gift to me and my time here with myself is a precious and powerful way for me to start the year. As much as I love to write about my travels with a focus on the local people, I feel that today has reminded me that focusing on myself can make me more aware of the local people here. Perhaps it puts me in their path more.
Wherever you are, and whoever you are with, I hope that you have a special and edifying New Year with yourself as well. May it set you on an amazing path throughout this year of 2012. Feliz Ano Nuevo!