Posts Tagged With: Menorca

Reflections on Menorca

Two months is a good stretch of time.  Few people out of high school ever have time to take a vacation that is so long, but I’ve just finished a two month stay in Menorca.  It seems strange then, that my blog has contained relatively little about my time on the island.  Perhaps, that it is because my time on the island was as much defined by what I didn’t do as much as what I did.

While in Menorca I didn’t go shopping or go to work. I didn’t watch TV or go to the movies. I barely drank and never smoked.  I didn’t go to wild parties, in fact I didn’t go to any parties and hardly even socialized.  I didn’t have any wild adventures or bizarre experiences.  In short, I did very little that makes for compelling storytelling or reading.  For most people, the hour they spend at the gym is the hour they get away from it all and have a moment of peace.  In Menorca, it was my hour of excitement.

What is left when one strips the veneer from life, when the activities that normally fill our time and thoughts are absent and we’re left with countless hours for contemplation and self-reflection?  I imagine that question has a different answer for each of us, but the sad reality is that few of us have, or perhaps take, the time to find out.

I love traveling.  I love the excitement and adventure, the meeting of new people and the discovery of new experiences, but without the periods of calm and tranquility much of that would lose it luster.  In Menorca I read history books for hours, reminding myself of what makes each place I visit unique and different.  I watched countless sunsets, being reminded that although museums and cathedrals are magnificent, nature offers a free and new show every night.  I took photos and played guitar: it reminded me how personal achievement is vastly more satisfying than purchased entertainment.  I spent time alone in piece and was reminded how much I love the company of my friends and the excitement of meeting new people.

Truth be told, I find isolation and introspection difficult.  The challenge of facing my mind is no less real than the challenge of working out my body.  Yet, just as with training for a triathlon, the benefits are real and worth the effort.  For me, Menorca was a perfect training ground.  It was beautiful, peaceful and isolated, but now the training is over and it’s time for the race.

Categories: Ironman, Spain, Travel, Words | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Menorca, an island less traveled

The Balearic Islands consist of four main islands: Mallorca – the largest and most developed, Ibiza – famous for its non-stop parties, Formentera – a tiny and beautiful island loved by Italians, and Menorca – remote and peaceful.  It is the last of these islands that I have chosen to make my temporary home.

I decided to come to Menorca for a number of reasons.  First, having lived in New York City for so many years, I’ve grown tired of a punitive cost of living.  A cabin without a bathroom or kitchen on Ibiza costs more than a fairly large private apartment in Menorca.  Second, as much as I wish it weren’t true, I’m here to train, not party and I learned a long time ago the best way to resist temptation is to avoid it all together.  Finally, I love to visit lesser known places.  It is far easier to form relationship with locals not swamped with tourists.

These were the reasons I came here, and so far my expectations have not only been met, but exceeded.  My new apartment is the most beautiful I have ever had.  I live upstairs from an older German woman who leaves me sweets on the stairs.  My terrace overlooks the sea, and on clearer days, the view stretches to Mallorca.  My new training partner is a neighbor, who as an experienced marathon runner, kicks my ass.  As if the island were waiting for me, my landlady had an unused guitar waiting to be adopted, and, most unlikely of all, long-term work that appeals to enough to actually consider it recently surfaced. In short, things have been nothing less than perfect since my arrival.

Just another day in paradise...

Like most people I have spent my life living in places based on my family, my work and my education.  To cut lose from these bonds, beautiful as they may be, has been an enlightening experience.  The world is not a uniform place and I believe those free and bold enough to venture out can often find their own little paradise.  Most of my years in New York were spent working, studying and riding the subway, worthwhile and fulfilling for many, but empty and tedious for me.  Now I spend my days reading, writing, training and playing music.  I have picked wild rosemary and run a half-marathon: boring and masochistic for some, perfection for me.

Training for an Ironman is brutal, but the scenery here certainly takes the edge off.

Categories: An Out of The Way Place, Spain, Words | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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