Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Hiking Madrileñan Mountains

What is it about being out in the fresh air that literally gives you a breath of fresh air? Getting outside is so wonderful for clearing my head, and after having been cooped up writing my thesis so much lately, I needed it!

So one day recently, I took a trip with some friends back to El Escorial again, this time not to tour the monastery, but to hike in the mountains nearby. 

I'm literally picturing at least one of my sisters giving me the side-eye right now. Somehow, I've gained the reputation for not being outdoorsy, but that isn't at all true, as long as it's not too hot outside and I'm properly attired. And rewarded with coffee and churros afterwards!

Luckily, on the day we went it was freezing (by Spain standards), with a fierce wind blowing, and there were small patches of snow on our path. My kind of outdoorsy weather! Perfect for doing exercise. I was particularly pleased when tiny flakes of snow began to fall, making the scene just that much more idyllic. 

Seeing the town from above was absolutely gorgeous. 

So were the snow-covered mountains behind me here. I wish they'd come out better in my photos! 

I think my favorite part about walking through the woods is that it gives us a chance to get into real conversations with people. We're going to be with them for several hours, we might as well explain what's bugging us at the moment, right?

In my friend group, the topic always seems to be "where are we going with our lives?" ...I suppose that's pretty common for young adults. As I've said before, I'm getting a little sick of constantly having to ask myself the question "what's next?" I'm tired of moving all the time. Chatting with my friends in the woods made me start to think about how it's getting to be that time of year again, when I have to figure out where I'm moving next. What will be my next home, and will it be semi-permanent, or only for a few months? What do I really want?

At present, I have no real answers to these questions, and thinking about it too much makes my brain hurt. There are so many options and they're overwhelming and there are no clear answers.

Soon enough it will be crunch time, when I will be forced to make another life-changing decision. But for at least a little longer, I can try to just take my life here as it comes, continue thinking, but also allow those thoughts to be swept away with the wind when it all becomes too much. 

So here's to moments of pause and reflection, of good conversations and body-warming exercise with friends. May they be there when you need them!

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