April. Undoubtedly my favorite month of the year. Spring has officially sprung and summer is on its heels. April is also my birthday month, which is as good a reason as any to love it!
April was one of my most exciting months. I traveled more weekends than I spent time in Madrid. It was busy and exhausting. I barely slept just so that I could finish everything I wanted to accomplish in one day. Still, it was exactly what I wanted. Here’s what April looked like through my eyes:
Over my 10-day Semana Santa (Easter) break from teaching English in primary school, I went to Morocco. A country I had longed to visit ever since I moved to Spain, Morocco surpassed my expectations and climbed the list to being my favorite country.
Morocco was a shock to all five senses. My sense of sight was awakened in Chefchaouen as I wandered through the narrow pathways between the most beautiful blue buildings.
The street food in Fes made my tummy rumble in all the best ways. I could have spent days in the markets trying the delectable snacks I’d never seen before. The tastes of Morocco are simply incredible.
Riding a camel through the sand dunes in the Sahara Desert was painfully uncomfortable, yet unforgettable. The desert was simply breathtaking, and sleeping under the stars at a camp in the Sahara was a once in a lifetime experience.
I made my first visit to the Canary Islands of Spain! I was a weekend warrior in Gran Canaria, an island with a variety of vistas: mountains, beaches, and sand dunes! Although I think next time I’ll visit a different island of the Canaries, I’m glad I got to explore this island with so many views!
I turned 27.
Is that considered old yet? I hope not. A lot of thoughts were going through my head on my birthday; I felt more homesick than ever before as the messages from family and friends came pouring in. It warmed my heart to hear so much encouragement from friends who have followed my travels. I feel like I’m doing the right thing, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at 27.
I rang in my birthday in Gran Canaria and celebrated in Madrid by doing my favorite thing – eating tacos!
In April I attended TBEX, a conference bringing travel bloggers and the tourism industry together. I was incredibly nervous prior to my attendance. I’m not shy when it comes to sitting down at a hostel common room with a bunch of other travelers, but at a conference with my peers? Just thinking about it had me breaking into a sweat. I started to doubt myself, thinking I wasn’t well established enough to be attending a conference like this. Some of the greats would be there; how could I compare?
I learned more than I could have possibly imagined during the TBEX weekend in Costa Brava. I met some of the bloggers I’d been following for years. I learned that it’s not about comparing your success, it’s about sharing ideas and helping one another. I made some wonderful friends and learned some key tips for blogging that I can’t wait to implement. I still can’t get over how amazing the experience was and I really can’t wait until the next time I get to see these wonderful people.
Costa Brava was also incredible, from what I saw in Lloret de Mar. Though I don’t know if I’ll make it back before I move on from Spain, I’m really hoping I make it back someday.
Of course, every month has its ups and downs. This time, one of my ups came with my downs. One of my photos from Fes in Morocco was featured in The Huffington Post! As a travel blogger with a love of photography, that was a major moment.
The only catch, it was originally featured with the credit to an Instagram account that stole the photo from me! It’s a long story, but my photo was stolen by another blogger, then discovered by Huffington Post who wanted to reshare. I was livid and helpless with spotty internet access in Morocco. I’m happy to share my photos and experiences with everyone, but it’s frustrating when something I value so much was stolen from me without any guilt or remorse shown by the culprit. I’m lucky enough to have wonderful friends who helped me contact Instagram and Huffington Post to get the credit changed and the stolen photo off of Instagram. Unfortunately, this could have happened to me before and I would never know, but I’m just glad I was able to catch this one.
My days in Spain are numbered; I’ll be returning to the US in mid-July for a stint before heading off on my next adventure. As much as it breaks my heart, that just means I need to see and do as many things as possible in the next few months! Here’s what I have planned:
Budapest: I’m actually heading there in a few hours! I am beyond excited to step back into eastern Europe! Visiting the Czech Republic on my European Christmas trip was just the tip of the iceberg!
Barcelona: I stayed in Barcelona for only one night before returning to Madrid after TBEX. Now that I’ve made some Barcelona blogger friends, I’m really looking forward to returning to see the sights and catch up with some cool people.
Mallorca: It’s not on the books yet, but I need to check out the Balearic Islands ASAP. I just can’t say no to pure nature and gorgeous beaches. Fingers crossed for the end of May or June!
Pamplona: I’m planning on being there for this teeny, tiny festival called San Fermín in July. People run with bulls. You’ve probably never heard of it (joke).
Paris: I don’t know when I’ll actually be able fit this in, but I really want to go to Paris before leaving Europe. I feel like it’s a right of passage when you come to Europe. Plus I have some amazing friends I’ve met while traveling that I have to visit! I’m hoping that a magical space will open up on my calendar in which it’s cheap to fly there soon!
Porto: I love Portugal. It was on a trip to Portugal that I ended up visiting Spain, giving me the idea to move here after all. I didn’t get to visit Porto, but I really want to! I need to try some of that port wine from its source!
Even more of Spain: Cadíz, San Sebastián, you’re on my radar!
Through my eyes, April was just the best.