Sentimental: Reflections on Spain

I'm not a person who takes a lot of pictures. And if I do, they either end up in a shoe box or in my online Dropbox folder, never to be seen again. I think that's why I love the KonMari philosophy of tidying sentimental items in your home. It's not about holding on to every little thing that reminds you of a time that sparked joy. It's about really savoring those moments, while they are actually happening.

It's been a few months since I've been back from Spain and I have to confess that I've been procrastinating on writing this blog post. If I don't take a lot of pictures, how can I tell the story? Then it dawned on me that this must be why I love Spain so much. I have very few pictures of my times there, but my memories are vivid and completely etched into my mind.

So in today's world that seems to ask us to document and post EVERYTHING in photos, how can we step back and actually BE in the moment and savor that moment?? I love how best-selling author Gretchen Rubin teaches us to squeeze every ounce of happiness out of special moments

To get the most bang for the happiness buck, I’ve realized that I should complete four stages of reveling in a moment of happiness:

 anticipate with pleasure,
 savor the moment as I experience it,
 express my happiness to myself or others, and
 reflect on a happy memory.
— Gretchen Rubin

I really made sure to follow this model as I prepared for Spain, as I experienced it, and now as I reflect on it. The way that I experienced Spain is the way that I hope to experience this summer...

Essentially: Walk, Sit, Talk, Watch, Repeat. 

Most of my days in Spain were spent walking through the city or on the beach, sitting in plazas, talking, laughing with dear friends, people-watching and stealing quiet moments to read in parks. So, as I think about those beautiful ten days, I can still feel the breeze throught the trees and hear the sound of the Mediterranean waves, and I plan to savor those memories for years to come.

I may not be a big picture-taker, but it just doesn't seem right not to share a few of those moments with you. 

Happy savoring. Happy summer.

 Exploring the beautiful winding paths of one of Barcelona's public parks, La Tamarita.

Exploring the beautiful winding paths of one of Barcelona's public parks, La Tamarita.

 Sparkling green water in  Tossa de Mar .

Sparkling green water in Tossa de Mar.

I could have stood and listened to this fountain for days. Watch the video and enjoy 7 seconds of Zen.

 Sitting in the grass of Madrid's  Parque del Buen Retiro , enjoying some shade on a hot day. This park is HUGE, and has oodles of quiet space to escape the heat and the crowded touristy spots.

Sitting in the grass of Madrid's Parque del Buen Retiro, enjoying some shade on a hot day. This park is HUGE, and has oodles of quiet space to escape the heat and the crowded touristy spots.

 Amazing pre-lunch tapas at my  EatWith  host's home. I highly recommend EatWith as a way to experience local culture, support residents of the city you are visiting and meet other travelers. 

Amazing pre-lunch tapas at my EatWith host's home. I highly recommend EatWith as a way to experience local culture, support residents of the city you are visiting and meet other travelers. 

 Fresh ingredients for our paella after a quick trip to the neighborhood market.

Fresh ingredients for our paella after a quick trip to the neighborhood market.

 The finished product!

The finished product!