The sun was out, the sand warm, and the clear Mediterranean sea sparkled directly across from our apartment. Don’t worry, jealous friends, your time is coming.
For spring break this year, I traveled with several friends, from Union and Andrews alike, to Majorca, Spain, on March 16. How did I come to choose Spain? Well, when choosing where to go for spring break, it was this island or Paris . I wanted to go to Paris, but it was expensive and wouldn’t have been relaxing (sorry Madison Wagnaar). Paris is always pure travel, seeing sights and never really unpacking.
For example, in February the school took us to Barcelona. It was only a four day trip and I wasn’t able to relax between hotel rooms and bus rides. Every day our schedule was wake up, visit cathedrals, sleep.
In Majorca, my clothes filled the closet, the fridge hosted yogurt and milk and our wet towels hung over the balcony rail.
One thing I’ve learned from my travels is that traveling and vacationing are indeed different entities.
Travel forces you into unfamiliar places and stressful situations where you question why you ever wanted to go there. When in a new environment, you can no longer lean on people around you; they’re just as lost as you. Travel rips apart everything you thought you knew and reveals layers hidden by familiarity.
With vacations, you have time to discuss directions, food and activities. You can walk around without rushing the experience. Vacationing can help you think about the deeper issues of the self, like travel, but the difference is vacations do not force.
Vacations allow you to relax and retreat.
For instance, during our first day in Majorca we casually strolled three miles from beach shop to beach shop, admiring the Majorca magnets, beach toys and flowy island dresses each store had to offer. A lot of places were just opening up for the season as most tourists visit closer to summer.
Since we would be staying in town until March 27, we found a supermarket and bought a ton of food. No one in our group really knows how to cook an edible meal, but Greg and I, the dynamic sibling duo, were determined to feed the team of inept cooks. We cooked pizza in a microwave, eggs sunny side-up and tuna sandwiches.
On our second day, we sat on our towels and warmed in the sun like lizards at Magaluf Beach until looming storm clouds drove us away. The water became too cold to jump into, but the weather looked promising so I refused to return to school without bathing in those crystal clear waters.
Majorca was my retreat from a world filled with Spanish classes and homesickness. While I was there, I could forget my worries. I could focus on the warm sand, clear waters and smell of my brother’s fried chicken. I will return to the States without seeing the Eiffel Tower, but that’s okay with me because I needed this vacation. I needed Majorca.
Melissa Ratter is a senior english language arts education major studying abroad in Spain.