Though I spent the summer traveling, I have no reports of nearly falling off cliffs because I got too close to the edge nor of staying out all night in the rain because I failed to book a hotel room in the height of the season, and this disappoints me a little, not because these things would wind up in stories—what winds up in stories is wildly unpredictable—but because these experiences are like punctuation marks that help me remember other things that happened: “Oh, right, that was just after I nearly fell to my death.”
So I have had to find other landmarks and to my surprise these have turned out to be people. I’m an introverted loner and the only reason I haven’t turned completely feral is because of my daughter. Thus the surprise.
So there is the time in Barcelona before we met Bernie and the time after; the time before we met Grace and went to Morocco in the same group she was in, and the time after she left the group in Seville to go on to Madrid while my daughter and I went on to Lisbon.
That was before we met Luis and his son, who live in Malaga.
Lots of others help me place the moments—Madhu and Hebe; Laura and Ana. I have never had a trip so full of chance encounters with kind and compassionate people. It gave me a lot of hope that while the world may seem to be on fire, you can find a little bit of the Shire everywhere you go.