The Magic in the Noise

(As previously seen on Writer With a Passport.)

There’s something magical about noise when I’m traveling. Not everyone enjoys noise, especially during the wee hours of the night. But I love it. The Spanish sometimes remind me of New Yorkers–especially here in Alicante. It feels like the city that never sleeps.

The esplanada in Alicante at night.

The Esplanada in Alicante at night.

When the summer is here, as I’ve witnessed firsthand six years ago, the nightlife will be even more alive. Right now, especially during the weekday, it’s not as busy. And yet, it seems that there’s always something going on.

It’s 9am and I have my coffee and an apple for breakfast. My window is wide open and I can hear all the noise of the morning bustle. True, many places do not open until later, but there are many businesses that operate earlier than 10am. Buses are flying by on the street, and I can hear people talking on the sidewalk.

Later in the day, there will be another burst of noise as people gather at the sidewalk cafes for lunch and “siesta.” Tonight, there will be lots of people going out for tapas, drinks, and dancing–especially because it’s Friday–el fin de semana: Fiesta time! When they come home in the early morning, I’ll probably hear them chatting excitedly to one another, regaling the new memories just made–and they’ll probably be borrachos. But even before that, around 1 or 2 in the morning, the garbage truck and street cleaners will be in my neighborhood, making more noise.

The view of the street from my apartment window.

The view of the street from my apartment window.

So why do I like all this noise? Because it represents life. Life and humanity. When you travel alone, even if you don’t have a direct connection to another person, there is always life around you (unless you’re a complete hermit, of course). It’s in the noise of the city, it’s in being confined in small spaces like a tram or metro and remembering that most other cultures don’t have a personal bubble when it comes to the daily commute, and it’s in watching people interact. I’ve always been an avid people-watcher, and now, as a writer who travels, being in another country is like being a scientist who has just been granted access to one of the best experimental labs in the world.

There is magic all around me, but it’s especially in the noise. It’s there when I’m trying to sleep at 2am and I hear someone’s conversation four stories down, almost amplified by the old window in my room. Finding that magic while traveling, I think, is important. It’s what helps me keep an open mind, pushing me to try new things, when I have fear or feel intimidated by language barriers.

The next time YOU find yourself traveling, no matter where it is, stop and find the magic in the noise. Look at life all around you and take time to appreciate what a miracle it is to be alive. Maybe it’ll help you sleep better; maybe it won’t. But, I bet you’ll look at things with a new appreciation, and isn’t that what travel is all about?

Until next time,


Think Happy Thoughts

WARNING: This post will end with rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns. So if you like to stay angry and depressed, don’t read it. However, I WILL start this off with a little negative. Because after all, how can you get to a happy place without releasing the bad stuff?

Last week SUCKED. Not as bad as other weeks I’ve faced in my life, but bad enough to keep me from making my friends sick with my cheeriness. I think they were scared of me, actually.

On Monday, I not only felt exhausted, but discovered that I had just the week to finish a certification to teach health courses this year. I am going to teach them in the summer and MUST be certified. I had paid my fees and took the class last year and procrastinated in finishing. It’s my own stupid fault, but I had NO IDEA that the expiration date was 3/17 until a week ago. It was like reliving my high school days, where I procrastinated on my junior year term paper and pulled an all-nighter just to get a passing grade. That and exhaustion were not a great way to start the week.


On Tuesday, I was NOT feeling well and had a fibromyalgia flare up. Something I haven’t dealt with in quite a while. It definitely stemmed from stress, among other things.

Work was crazy…just CRAZY, with random things going on and major deadlines to meet. Deadlines that I wasn’t expecting.

Wednesday, I woke up with my left eye being swollen shut. When I looked in the mirror, I almost choked on my revulsion from seeing Quasi Modo staring back at me, rather than myself. A stye. A freaking STYE was in my eye. Eyelid, to be exact. That lasted through Saturday. GROSS. So I stayed home from work and worked my butt off to hand-write FORTY-EIGHT pages for that certification course! Six hours straight of study and writing and I still had to finish some things on Thursday.


Thursday, I was still in pain and resorted to wearing my glasses, hoping no one would notice the freakish, swollen eye that made me super attractive.

TGIF. Friday couldn’t have come any sooner. I finally relaxed and could breathe by the afternoon. I slept in both days during the weekend and mailed in my materials for certification. Along with a nice note, of course. I felt the need to suck up a bit, since I had been such a tool by doing the work so last minute.

But as I recovered over the weekend, I read various books for leisure and re-centered myself and my priorities. I felt a sense of conviction. I know that we all have ridiculous weeks and it can’t be helped. It’s okay to whine and cry a bit because, regardless of “first world problems”, we are all human and cannot be superheroes–even if we are richly blessed. I am grateful for my friends and family being empathetic to my situation and pain last week. But I am also grateful for the reminder to think positive. To utilize the power of affirmations.

Most of the time, even when things become difficult, I still have a hope that things thrown at me aren’t so bad; I can deal. And I didn’t realize that what I have been doing all along is thinking in an affirmative, positive light…almost feeling affirmations and visualizing a positive outcome. When I read a book that focused on affirmations, just a few days ago, I had this “aha” moment and laughed at the ridiculousness of last week. I couldn’t help but think: If I had said more positive affirmations to myself last week, even through a very trying time, would I have felt better sooner? Would I have felt more rested rather than exhausted?

We often forget the power of visualizing and the mind. Just having hope, or faith alone–or whatever you call it–can truly change our physical, emotional, and mental/spiritual feelings. Yesterday, being in a better place than last week, I still felt exhausted. But I decided to try something. I said an affirmation aloud, maybe 30 times, until I truly believed it: “I am going to have a great day.” And guess what? I had more than a great day. I wore confidence just as well as wearing my pretty dress. I had a smile on my face all day. I felt good and looked good. People were drawn to me and I left their company with them feeling good, too. It was amazing, because I actually realized what I was doing; what I had power to do.

So here’s the rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns part: Give yourself permission to be human. We ALL are. But also try a positive affirmation–DAILY. Get over yourself and your fears/apprehensions/anxieties. Give in to the power of being positive and see what happens. I don’t care what situation you are in. It could be the most dire and horrible. Visualize the positive. If you have your mind and the ability to reason, you have a very valuable tool. USE IT. Plain and simple. The less we complain about our situations and the more we begin to count our blessings, radiate cheerfulness, and smile, the more we begin to not only feel there is good coming…it WILL come. I truly believe that! The more positive I am, the more good things happen for me. The more negative I am, the more I suffer and have less to offer others.



Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to create one affirmation for yourself for the rest of the week. Remember that an affirmation contains no negatives and it must be personal. Say that affirmation 10 times aloud, each day. And then see what happens. I bet that you will have a great week and will make others surrounding you feel good, too. And how could you not want that?

Until next time, cheers!