When Travel Plans Go Out the Window


I was planning to stay in Barcelona for 3 months and possibly more. Fall in love with a handsome Spaniard (or Catalan) and live a life of siestas and tapas dates. That plan did not work out.

I am the person you love to hate. The Millennial who quit her job to “find herself.” Almost halfway through the trip, I have found a huge part of myself in the most unexpected place. It’s not the hills of Bali or a remote Ashram in Rishikesh (although, I still want to make it to an ashram in Rishikesh).

It’s the city I was born in – Odessa, Ukraine. It’s poetic, really. I expected to spend time with family, relax, try not be afraid of staying in a country that is actually at war, and to do some research for a book.

What I got is a lot of crying and telling my family how much I love them, going for horribly painful and stomach massages to fix my health with Dr. Abdul – no alcohol, no sugar, no red meat until he is done – and more alternative meditation methods than I can count. Let’s not forget the female sexuality classes at a studio run by my cousin and meeting a descendant of one of the greatest Russian writers of all time. The same person who told me that the key to my writing will be my heart and not my head.

When visiting a new country, I thought that I was aware of my own preconceived notions and stereotypes. It turned out that I was wrong. I have been stereotyping my mother culture my whole life. It’s not perfect, but it’s warm, kind, and authentic. And, I cannot wait to find out what else it has in-store for me.