Travel Log 1: Laying a Foundation By: Cord Belding

Before leaving for this journey, the thoughts racing through my mind are consistent with the ones I felt during the workshop a month ago.  With Barcelona so close I am reminded every day that I will be in a new city, new country, new continent and new apartment come January 11th.  I’m really not sure what to expect from the city because up until this point all I’ve seen are pictures and all I’ve heard is the stories from my friends who had the opportunity to do the same thing last year and studied there as well.

While reading the introduction to Slimbach it dawned on me that I will be, for the first time in my life, an outsider in the city I’ll be calling home.  I’ll be getting weird looks and constant stares because I do not belong in Barcelona.  The best thing I can really hope for is to indulge myself in their culture and become more of a local than a tourist.  Slimbach had a quote that reads, “In each case, participants can be expected, albeit to different degrees, to apply their unique skills and empathetic ability to enrich human lives and ecosystems” (Slimbach, p5).  I am in such a unique position to be able to take a trip like this and be fully immersed in a culture for four and a half months.  My unique skills as a college student make me more and more adaptable to every day life.  As a freshman in college we all went through a certain change, some more than others obviously, where we became independent in our own right at a brand new place.  Now, while I am comfortable in my new home at Quinnipiac, I have to pack up and move yet again to a new place in Barcelona.  The term ‘independence” takes on a whole new meaning as soon as I step foot on the plan out of Boston.  In a phrase, ‘Rite of Passage,’ for me that is all this trip was for me.  It was my dream for so long to travel abroad and for me it is a Rite of Passage.  Were I to not be able to take this trip, my entire life would be different, as a trip like this changes you as a person.  Rites of Separation really resonated with me because of how this change means I no longer have a safe place to fall back on.  I am separated from everything I new to be normal and moved to a place where I will be seen as far from normal.

Slimbach’s quote, ““Carrying knowledge conveys a curious and concerned self, one who cares enough about the peoples and places in one’s destination country to invest the time learning about them”. (2010, p.128).  This quote really resonated with me because I plan on really trying to immerse myself in the culture that Barcelona has to offer.  In the book, Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain, I was reminded that this city, although it has it’s negatives, will fill me with a kind of joy that can really only be found in Spain.  With the food, the people, the culture, I may find myself never wanting to go back home.  Even having just read about the culture and having to write this Travel Log, I have a better appreciation for the place that I will call home very soon

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