There’s nowhere else I’d rather not be than Lacunza on a weekday morning at 9:30. Instead of taking full advantage of the unique educational experience afforded to me, I’ve spent many-a-morning cursing myself for staying out too late the night before, spending too much time on the beach, and wishing I’d gotten a “superdoble” espresso rather than a “superuno”. I cannot illustrate to you enough the incredible lengths I would take to sleep in just a mere hour more during the week; how my warm bed calls to me from the moment I leave it’s comforting embrace, how I figure I would be so much more alert during the day if I could indulge in slightly more of the summer luxury I’ve grown to take advantage of.
Lacunza, besides being the destination of my sleep-walking commute, is also probably the most culturally diverse part of the city, a micro-melting-pot filled with people of different nationality, race, and religion. My class of twelve students changes every week, and is filled with people from different European countries. Speaking to them has proven to be one of the most interesting parts of this trip. These classmates come from all around the world, including the United States, South America, Belgium, France, or Switzerland, and many of them speak multiple languages, including French, Italian, German, Spanish, English, Dutch, and oftentimes multiple. They each have completely unique motives for studying Spanish in Donostia, and asking about their past travel experiences always yields motivating and fascinating stories. One particular Swiss student recounted a ten-day backpacking trip to Italy she took with her friends, for which they did not plan farther than a day in advance, and during which they slept under the stars. Another Swiss student I met had studied in France, Germany, and Spain, and had visited Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, and was still in College. The majority of European students I spoke to here had had similar and varied travel experiences.
The students at Lacunza embraced a culture of travel and exploration, and came from different walks of life; while most of the people studying were students, there were a number of families and couples as well. They valued human experience, and they challenged themselves by putting themselves in foreign situations that would force them to adapt. Knowledge that they took for granted was tested, and they were immersed in a culture very different to their own. This sort of world-traveler that seeks to develop oneself through world travel was foreign to me, and it was incredible to be able to speak to individuals who welcomed change as a catalyst for self-improvement and reflection; habitual daily routine may be easier to navigate, but the unknown offers opportunity for contemplation.
These Lacunzan nomads’ lack of fear amazes me. They wander from country to city to hostel to social interaction with an unabashed love for the culture/people that they’re experiencing, and a trust that the winds of fate will guide them safely through unacquainted territory. They have a great respect for other societies, and they take it upon themselves, almost as an obligation, to explore the world and familiarize themselves with different facets of the human experience. It’s so incredibly thrilling to be exposed to people like this every day, people intent on “[living] deep and [sucking] all the marrow of life” and living a complete existence. The tedium of routine and the comfort of a familiar urbanity are often glorified, yet it is the unfamiliar and estranged that facilitates introspection and the development of a unique personae teeming with tenacious spirit. I’ve caught the travel bug, and I hope you will, too.