Last Sunday evening, I went to mass at this beautiful cathedral in the heart of Barcelona. While I couldn’t understand a word of what was being said, it felt comfortable and familiar. As I kneeled to pray before the mass began, I cried. The previous week and all its changes had been overwhelming. While I’d been settling into my routine at the AirBNB, I was leaving the safety of what I’d found for a hostel the next morning. To say I was nervous is putting it mildly.
So I did what I always do when my nerves get to me. I put my trust in something bigger than myself. I asked for guardian angels to help guide me through the next few days as I continued to adjust. I desperately wanted to make friends. Little did I know I’d have a whole host of guardian angels enter my life a short 24 hours later.
Enter Kelli – Angel #1
I spent most of Monday afternoon working from this quaint little coffee shop near my hostel when in walked Kelli. When I heard her speak English, I decided to reach out. She’s from California and had also just arrived in Spain. From the moment we started chatting, I felt completely at ease. She was so friendly and had such a great vibe about her that we just connected. She put my fears at ease about being a foreigner and gave me some really great travel tips.
Enter Angel #2 – Barb
The following day at the hostel’s breakfast I met the sweetest, kindest woman named Barb. She’s from Kansas, extremely well traveled, and befriended every single person in the hostel. She and I connected immediately as well. There was a warmth about her that drew everyone in. We did the walking tour together, then joined our friends Zac and Eli for some wine and cheese back at the hostel. Barb showed me that you’re only as old as you feel. I had worried about being the oldest person at the hostel, and yet here she was doing her thing and not letting her age stop her. She also taught me an important lesson about opening up to those around you. When I am nervous, I tend to shut down and get very quiet. I know, me quiet? It’s hard to believe! However, after watching Barb, I know the only way I’ll meet people and be able to fully experience all this journey has to offer is by putting myself out there, being vulnerable and showing others who I am. That’s the only way real friendships will be formed along the way.
Enter Angel #3 – Zach
I met Zach on the walking tour later that day. He too is extremely well traveled and immediately began giving me advice on where to go and what to do in Thailand. Similar to Barb, Zach also connected with everyone in the hostel showing me to put myself out there and make friends. As we got to know each other and share stories, we realized there are similarities in our backgrounds, our journeys and where we are headed. It was comforting to converse with someone who gets it. Someone who sees the potential for what is to come. He felt like my biggest fan and his encouragement to keep going was exactly what I needed at the moment.
Enter Angels #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11 – Eli, Cassie, David, Artur, Nyra, Amber, Bri & Brittany
From the US, Australia, Finland and Canada, these people forever changed me. They are some of the funniest, kindest, most welcoming individuals I’ve ever met. I hadn’t felt so comfortable or laughed so hard in the longest time. Their friendship reminded me of why I wanted to travel in the first place. There was a dynamic about our group that won’t ever be replicated. We were all exactly where we needed to be. Diving timing indeed.
Enter Angel #11 – Marlene
As was Zach, Marlene was part of our larger group and we spent most of the week together. But yesterday was the best. Once everyone was long gone, she and I spent most of the day exploring and shopping (and maybe day drinking…) She is a smart, sassy, take-charge kind of woman who didn’t let me die of hypothermia when I decided to dip in the ocean at 4 a.m. This woman is amazing. I especially loved hearing her story, which in many ways sounded like mine. Yet, it was very, very different. It never seizes to amaze me how we can all be going through the same thing, take different paths, and still end up in the same place. I really felt as if I’d known her for years rather than days.
These people were the angels for which I’d asked. Little did I know I’d get 11 and that they’d have such a profound impact on me. My journey will be better for the pieces of wisdom they imparted on me. They each welcomed me with open arms and left with a piece of my heart.