Maine, Massachusetts, United States

A Quick Trip Across the Ocean

April 8-13, 2022

April 8 began Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Spain, which is a week and a half off from school for Easter. Last year, I went to Lugo and Ribadeo. This year, aligned with the beginning of Semana Santa, the organization I am on the board of directors for was scheduled to hold its annual conference for the first time in three years. I also needed to check-in with some doctors stateside, so between these two things, I decided that a short trip across the ocean was in order. Even though I had April 8-18 off for the holiday, the cheapest combination of flight dates I found was for April 8-12. This felt incredibly short, especially since the first three days I’d be at conference. But, the price doubled or tripled when I looked at different departure dates. Although, at the last minute, a flight time was changed, so they gave me a free change if I wanted to at no cost. Because of this, I chose to go 24 hours later on Wednesday night so I could have an extra day with my dad. My mom was traveling and my brother lives in California, so it’d just be a visit with my dad and dog. The second half of the week, I planned to go to Sevilla (the Easter capital of Spain) to see Semana Santa processions for the first time.

With a 6:30 AM flight, the overnight bus would not get me there is time comfortably. Because of this, I took a BlaBla car after school and arrived around 11 PM in Madrid. I decided to spring for a $20 hostel and get a few hours of sleep before I had to arrive to the airport. I forgot a lock, so I was curled up with my backpack and carryon in the bunk bed. I can’t say I felt super refreshed, but otherwise, I’d be up for 30+ hours straight.

I got to the airport, checked in and went through security pretty quickly, and got some breakfast. Next, I was on the flight to Lisbon.

Here, I had a five hour layover, and I was disappointed with how few places there were to rest or work at the Lisbon airport. I couldn’t even find an outlet! I rested for about an hour after reading The Guide to Sleeping in Airports (would recommend). Then it was time to board, and another long shuttle ride to where we could actually board.

Next, it was direct flight to Boston. I still felt desperate for sleep, so after a high-dose sleep medication, I was out like a light for most of the eight hours to Boston. I arrived, got picked up by a fellow board member who lived local, and was on the way to the conference!

I’m really fond of this organization and missed a lot of people – both between being abroad and not having in-person events for years. As soon as we arrived, it was time to hit the ground running. After getting initial assignments for the weekend, we had time to grab dinner and catch up with lots of people. While there were some people who I wanted to see that couldn’t make it, I was happy to see everyone that was able to attend.

It was my first conference as a board member, which was a whole different perspective. I had a lot of meaningful tasks related to our philanthropic work, including a workshop, fundraiser, and delivering our $21,000 donation to our partnered charity.

When the conference finished, I went to brunch with my best friend, Karlee, and her girlfriend, as well as one of our mutual friends from college. From here, we headed to a nearby town to walk around and continue to catch-up until my train to Portland at 4:30 PM.

Next, I was on my way to Portland! Here, my dad picked me up (with my dog Sage in tow) and we headed back to our hometown. While I talk with my parents frequently over video chat, there’s nothing comparable to being back in person! Sunday night was just dedicated to catching up about the trip and having some puppy snuggles.

The next day, I had quite the agenda. Between a few doctors appointments and times to catch up with old friends and coworkers, I was booked for most of the day. I started the day with some coffee that I can only get in Maine for some nostalgia and then met up with my first friend/former roommate, Erin, for breakfast. After, it was time for a walk with my old coworker, Sarah, at Jewell Falls, through the beautiful Portland woods. Next, a meeting with another former coworker, Jamie, in downtown Portland through some shops and along the water. Finally, I met with two friends from college for lunch at Chipotle. This was a priority for me because we have no Chipotle in Spain. I don’t have many photos because I was pretty caught up the moment, but I have a lot of happy memories!

Tuesday morning started with a lot of puppy snuggles.

Next on the agenda was a bike ride on my dad’s motorcyle and then a trip to Westbrook. We had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and then took a stroll along the Westbrook River Walk.

Wednesday was my last day in Maine, and we headed to Mill Brook reserve for a couple mile walk through the woods and along the river. Sage, a hunting dog at heart, was ecstatic.

Next, we headed to Applebee’s for lunch, and then a blood drive. Donating blood is something I enjoy doing with my dad, but unfortunately my hemoglobin level was off by only 0.1. So, he successfully donated, but alas, I did not.

From here, my dad dropped me off at Erin’s house who kindly offered to bring me to the airport. If you know me, you know I despise buses, so this was a godsend. We drove down to Boston, I boarded the plane, and felt exhausted. Still not recovered from my jetlag there, I prepared for the new round of west to east jetlag. My flight itinerary was schedule as Boston to Lisbon to Madrid. From here, I would take a bus or Bla Bla car to Sevilla. With the layovers and adding up all the time, it was faster to take a Bla Bla from Lisbon to Sevilla. I booked one (which would be approximately 6-7 hours) and cancelled the last leg of the flight at check-in.

Back to Europe we go!

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