“I don’t know who I am. And I don’t think people ever will know who they are. We have to be humble enough to learn to live with this mysterious question. Who am I? So, I am a mystery to myself. I am someone who is in this pilgrimage from the moment that I was born to the day to come that I’m going to die. And this is something that I can’t avoid, whether I like it or not, or — I’m going to die. So, what I have to do is to honor this pilgrimage through life. And so I am this pilgrim — if I can somehow answer your question — who’s constantly amazed by this journey. Who is learning a new thing every single day. But who’s not accumulating knowledge, because then it becomes a very heavy burden in your back. I am this person who is proud to be a pilgrim, and who’s trying to honor his journey.”
About two years ago I moved to Spain. The Basque country to be exact. The second semester of my Masters took place in Bilbao at the international institute of human rights at the University of Deusto. For me, that semester was a semester of rediscovering the joy in learning, green hills and most of all my love for walking. All things that I knew I loved, but I sort of forgot in the semester before. That one was spent working in a conference center without day light and travelling in busy trains to take a class here and there in Amsterdam. Looking back, I was on the edge of a burnout. Being in Bilbao saved me.
So today, I realised that moving to Bilbao happened about two years ago. Even though I had traveled and lived abroad before that, this was the first time I really would settle in a place for more than just 2 or 3 months. I had my own room in an apartment with other international students. We enjoyed the Spanish life on our balcony terrace with wine and cheese. I walked in the rain more than ever, but I don’t have bad memories about it. I can still picture the sunsets over the city. I still remember the smell of the ocean after a twenty-minute subway ride.
Even though I am not in touch with everyone anymore from that semester, it still is one of my most cherished times of my life. Because I found myself again. Because it was the first time in my life that I understand what it means to be a restless pilgrim and to find peace in that. And also because Spain is just incredibly beautiful. Take a look yourself and allow yourself that ‘restless traveler mood’ kind of day too.