I was in Spain for around a month and a half. I landed in Barcelona from Paris by bus after a fun weekend in Paris. I stayed at a friends in Barcelona for a few nights, enjoying the architecture, beach, and warm weather. It was an exciting city with a hustle and bustle. I was on my way to volunteer with a family in Andalucia in the South of Spain. I was with this family for one week and it was my only real plan up to that point. The family knew of a friend in a nearby town called Lan Jaron, which sits on the edge of Sierra Nevada. This takes place there.
I went and volunteered for a month in Lan Jaron. I got there just before Christmas, and was looking for people to share the holidays with. The property had olives, oranges, limes, cactus, and many bnb rooms. It was freezing by night and hot by day in the middle of winter. Among volunteers were Europeans. There was one other German girl around my age, and the rest were in their 40’s and 50’s. One was named Vulker. He was a German, who had done a lot of life exploration to that point. He listed the psychedelics he’s done, and the astonishing things he plans to do. For example, there is a place in Europe where you can go into a pitch black room for weeks and be alone just with your thoughts, which I believe he has done now.
The mountains and nature were gorgeous here. I was just in freezing Paris, and now I’m hiking every day after my volunteering, which finishes around 2. I would climb the mountain areas, or go into the small town of Lan Jaron. To Spain, Lan Jaron is known as the town of water. It has a constant flow of glacial water pouring in from Sierra Nevada above. The property I was on was always having this fresh moving water moving through there. The Spanish culture here at times was not so romantic. Dogs were left outside on properties, usually hungry and mistreated to breed more ferociousness into them. I don’t think animal rights people would find those southern towns very peaceful. I remember the next door neighbour bringing in a rifle to shoot some of his chickens. He just started shooting them right in the chicken coup. Was sad to hear the panics…
This small town was my home base for a month. I got to write a lot and see some surrounding villages. There was a hippie town next door, which was sort of like a small festival constantly. It was great hiking to there and beautiful seeing new parts of the world.
I reflect on my journal written at that time, and I find myself so introspective. Always planning the next trip. The Europe trip in general was always a step ahead, rarely a moment of presence long endured. The fomo was very intense, and everywhere around me was new cities, new places. All different manifestations of that same romantic feeling.
It was nice to have somewhere to spend Christmas and New Years. I got to spend so much time reflecting and appreciating the gorgeous view from the property, looking out to the giant mountain cliff across the horizon. I began to think of the mountains and all the symbolism they embody. I tried to write down some notes I reflected on that day below:
- Nature doesn’t have New Years, it’s a human concept. Sure the mountain has gone around the Sun one more time, but its meaningless to it. That made that New Year’s feel less important to me. Ill celebrate the warmth of the day, every plant can relate to that feeling. This mountain may have been around for so long, it’s incomprehensible. A year in my life is a day to a mountain. Such a titan of strength and endurance, so profound to truly imagine.
- It takes focus to climb a mountain. It takes everyday having the same goal. It takes many days to climb, and one moment to quit. Consistency is so essential. I wondered if this mountain was an overnight success. Was it a flat piece of land and one earth quake shifted it all. Or has it slowly been on the rise, day by day, for hundreds of thousands of years. And nature is such a brilliant architect. It made the gorgeous, long lasting mountain of beauty on its own. Even if humans were never here to witness it, it would be here. Amazing to think the eye of the creator and the eye of man both find the same things beautiful.
- A mountain is a symbol of solidarity. It can’t change or be in denial that it is a mountain. It can’t be grass, coffee, a mug, a human, cotton, or shoe laces – it’s simply a mountain. Diversity is boundaries. This is a mountain, and that’s its destiny. This timeless, and as still as a monk, piece of nature is so different from up close then from far. From far it is a beautiful symbol of growth, of the climb and work needed to go from the bottom to the mountain top. From close, it’s a home for plants, habitats, and a rough and misshapen terrain. Colourful, alive, what you see in the mountain depends on where you view it from. It’s a completely different experience a meter a way or a kilometer. If mankind falls in a future this mountain wont, it will be safe. The moment I was thinking and writing these things I also thought about respect. Learn from what you respect. Not what forces you to learn, guilt’s you to learn, or what orders you around. Follow what you respect, and you’ll open your heart.
- Truths can contradict. Snow and fire both exist, and both are right. Under certain circumstances, truths change. Water is a liquid in certain environments, and a different state in others. To know ones truth you must know ones circumstances. Water is a product of its environment. It doesn’t choose to be frozen or liquid, its environment dictates it.
Although I really enjoyed my time volunteering on this farm, I had some inner conflict. I didn’t come to Europe to be on a farm. I could have done that back home. It was nice to be healthy, save money, but I also felt I wasn’t honestly following through with the reason to come all these 1000’s of miles. It didn’t feel like Europe. I came for a dream, and this started to feel too close to everyday life. Dreams of cobblestone streets, cafes, small towns, wine, cheese, bread, history. Chasing these sorts of dreams felt liberating, and I was divided when I wasn’t doing so.
More on this perhaps another time…