Beginning the Return

Caminante, son tus huellas     Walker, your footsteps
el camino y nada más;            are the way and nothing more;
Caminante, no hay camino,    Walker, there is no way,
se hace camino al andar.        you make a way by walking.
Al andar se hace el camino,   By walking you make the way,
y al volver la vista atrás         and casting back your eyes
se ve la senda que nunca     you see a path
se ha de volver a pisar.        no one will walk again.
Caminante no hay camino    Walker, there is no way
sino estelas en la mar.           except the wake of the sea.

— Antonio Machado, extract from Proverbios y cantares (XXIX)

Hello family, friends, readers, and fellow travelers!

This blog is going to be the record of my experiences as I spend the next year studying and living in Madrid. I hope that it will be a way to help me share and reflect on the things I see and touch as I explore the city and my studies. I’ll share my victories and frustrations as I figure out how to navigate the metro system, where to find the best paella, and what exactly a grad student is supposed to do.

I picked this particular poem to start off my new blog for a few reasons, not least of which that it seemed like good karma for the first quote on my blog to be the words of a Spanish poet. But mainly, I was attracted to the creative energy of the traveler, the idea of one individual constantly creating their own journey. And because the traveler leaves no traces, no one else can repeat that journey. Even if we go to the same places, we will see them differently. It’s not a lonely journey, at least not to me, because everyone can share the story of their experience, one that’s entirely beautiful and unique.

Thank you all for wanting to walk with me through the next year, please keep in touch and keep me in your thoughts, and I will do the same for you all.

Mil abrazos,


P.S. I depart August 26, so until then I will be running around madly trying to get everything packed!