“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
I just got back from a trip to Madrid a few days ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I left. It was my first visit back since I moved to Sweden in 2013.
Malmö is definitely not Madrid and I have adapted to the slower pace of life and being surrounded by nature all the time. Arriving in the center of Madrid was overwhelming. The traffic, the crowds of people, the smells, the big buildings all seemed too much. After a couple of days, however, it was as if I had never left my favorite European capital and the rhythm of daily life in Spain came back almost naturally.
My days were quickly filled with strolls through Retiro park and the Puerta del Sol, tapas and vino at outdoor plazas, 10:00pm dinners, and bar hopping through Malasaña and Chueca late into the night. I met up with so many friends, sometimes double-booking coffee dates to make sure I saw everyone.
It was one such afternoon gathering with friends atop a chic hotel that changed my perspective. The elevator doors opened and we stepped out onto a beautiful terrace with stunning views of the entire Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, the sun slowly making its way down behind them. I had almost forgotten that Madrid had such beautiful mountains so close. One can essentially visit the city and never know they even exist since there are very few vantage points from the city center.
There, perched above the buildings, I was reminded that when we zoom out a bit there is often amazing beauty staring back at us. It snapped me out of the chaos of the city and my social calendar and brought me right into the present moment.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of our daily lives and feel overwhelmed by all that is going on. Travel has an amazing ability to help us reflect, however. Use Study Abroad to find your rooftop moment.
Zoom out and gain new perspective. You may just be amazed at what you see!