Archive | March, 2012

Am I a Cat or a Dog? (Or Why It Might Be Time to Reset My Priorities)

London, UK

If you have been reading 100 Miles Highway for a while now, you must have noticed that getting all personal online is not really my thing. Sure, from time to time, I’ll drop a post on why I am not traveling full time or my deepest regret from my 2 years in Switzerland. However, most of the time I focus on experiences and places.

Well, lately I’ve felt the urge to write about another sort of experience – one that goes way beyond expat life, travel and adventure. One that is much more personal.

For the past few months I’ve slowly moved away from being the person I defined (and defended) myself as for all this time – a girl that aims to conquer the financial world and become a well-respected personality within the industry, that pictures herself with a beautiful loft in a big metropolis and traveling to the main hubs for business and escaping, from time to time, to deserted places – to becoming someone I can’t even define anymore.

All of a sudden, things I considered important in life don’t feel important anymore.

In contrast, I’m starting to consider life alternatives I had never even dared to think of before. I’m starting to feel that my priorities might be shifting towards something else. Maybe they’re are not even shifting. Maybe they had always been somewhere else, but I had been lost all this time believing they were here.

As I was explained earlier today:

It’s as if a cat believed it was a dog and always hang out with dogs barking, biting stuff and running after bikers… and suddenly realized that, well, it’s actually a cat.

I’m not regretting what I’ve done with my life so far, don’t get me wrong. I’ve lived in 7 cities in 4 countries in the last 10 years. I have developed a solid base in a highly competitive industry – an industry, that truly interests me. I’ve learned that mountains make me smile even more than beaches do. I’ve become to appreciate wine over beer (and even over a glass of Hendrix tonic with two slices of cucumber) and have developed a love for fine food. Now, I’m comfortable being on my own. I’m more organized and more responsible. I’m even on time (more often than not – I’m still sort of spanish, remember?). I’ve learned a lot on my way here, and I’m pretty sure that these experiences have made me (and are still making me) a better person.

So what’s my plan then?Am I going to set off and travel the World?

As exciting and tempting as this alternative life may be, I’d have the feeling I’m running away. I’ve got something to solve over here: I need to find myself and understand what really makes me happy. I need to find out whether I’m a dog or a cat or none of both.

Picture This: The Guardian

Guanaco in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Guanacos are fascinating creatures. They often live in herds mostly composed of females, their chulengos and one dominant male, who needs to continually fight against other bachelor males that want to take over his position. He protects his herd from predators by carefully scanning the surroundings from the top and, when he feels a threat, he’ll alert with a high-pitched trill.

A though job, being a guardian of so many females and vulnerable new borns – luckily there are very few pumas in Torres del Paine National Park.

My Brand New Superpowers

After my first 6 months living in London, I’ve realized that, in this city, anything is possible. You can make yourself disappear from watching eyes hiding in dark hidden bars/alleys, enchant gentlemen to ask you for a date in an elevator or even fast-forward time to jump from friday night to sunday morning. True stories.

London Eye, London, UK

London has more than just fog, pollution and this occasional drizzling rain in the air – there is something magical that has provided me some new ones (really useful!) skills to make my way around the city.

  • Precognition. Try being on a rush in Oxford Circus at 5:30pm on a Friday, and you’ll be sucked in avalanches of people running in and out of shops, packed with bags and with (apparently) no direction. In some cases, I even became part of a human mass – you know, the rock concert sort of mass, the one that makes you move to the right even though you’re fighting to go left. I used to be that person, but now I’ve been me with the power of foreseeing the (very) short term future – which I mainly use to predict other people’s moves. I might be on a hurry, but you will hardly ever see me bumping into someone anymore!
  • Camouflage. I’m a chameleon. I’ve always had this ability of blending in my immediate environment (this might be a reason why I’ve never been actually mugged as a tourist!). But the boroughs of London expect so much more from you – each of them offer such diversity that, at the beginning, it was hard not to feel a stranger even in your own neighborhood. I like living in East London with artists and hipsters that (purposely) mess up hair and have this characteristic vintage flair. But also enjoy working in stylish Mayfair that boosts boutiques and pretty tea houses. I now manage to blend in both opposed worlds.
  • Frost Proof. Ever since I moved out of the Canary Islands 10 years ago, I’ve been moving up north of the globe – the Spanish Peninsula, Germany, Switzerland and now England. Although Switzerland was probably the coldest place I’ve lived in, it was something I learned to live with because after all, you’d either dress up in a ski suit or sit next to a warm fire. Here in London, however, life continues despite the cold wind, snow or freeze. And by life, I mean, every aspect of it. People will still go to the pubs and drink outside to keep the smokers company. They’ll continue to run to work and/or back home. And will, under no circumstance, ditch an afternoon of shopping. So do I!
  • Teleportation. Well, ok. I can’t literally disappear from the crowded morning tube and appear on a sunny beach in French Polynesia and then shortly reappear at work with a golden sun tan (wouldn’t that be just incredibly nice?). What I can do is to evade my mind from being in a sticky hot tube with far too many layers on me, to Mexico, Brazil or even the English Country side – all thanks to my iPod!

Have you developed any superpowers while living abroad?