How Painting Has Helped Me Travel From Home by Educator Vega

The current situation is not an easy task to deal with, for anyone: for you, for me, your parents, your neighbors, those who have a big house, those who don’t, those who don’t even have a home, the optimistic or the pessimistic, those who are social or those who love spending time in nature, not even for the ones who love spending time at home. It is not easy. We all are outside of our comfort zone, we are all under the same storm (a storm that, as they always do, is hitting some harder than others). It might seem even more dramatic for those, like us, who are used to constant change, constant new experiences, meeting new people, surrounded by excitement, and always thinking about “what’s next”. After I started thinking about this uncertain future, I realized that I had my next whole year carefully planned: visit South Africa, go to Botswana, Yoga Teacher Training in India, term in India, visit Nepal BUT Christmas with family… and I could continue for a long while. Now, everything is gone. No more future plans. This realization made me come back to those days where we were lost in the middle of nowhere, in Patagonia. Those days when we were trying our best to step away from thinking about things that would come next (so that the hardest things didn’t sound that hard). And it took me back to that exact moment when I was sitting, staring at those huge mountains covered with glaciers, and I tried to journal and write down what I was seeing. It was impossible. There were no words to describe what my eyes were seeing (notice here that I am not, and have never been close to being a writer). And that was the exact moment when I realized the importance of art in my life (which is another story). What if I could paint what my eyes are seeing? Would I be able to transmit not only what I am seeing but also what I am feeling? Of course, I did not do anything about it there. I was too busy to start developing a new skill. And my art teacher always told me I was not meant to be an artist, so it didn’t even make any sense.

But quarantine came a couple of weeks later. Together with a long break stuck at home and long hours with nothing to do. And if you know me, you know that I am not able to stop for a minute, that I’d rather have a whole day full of things to do than stay in bed or watch Netflix. Right there and then, painting came back to my mind, together with it, the possibility of traveling back to those places I have been to during the last couple of years. So I bought a pack of watercolors, a couple of brushes and a marker, and started copying those pictures that made me remember the most beautiful memories I have from the trips I have done. And this could sound nostalgic, but I don’t want to call it that. For me, nostalgia comes together with a feeling of ‘any past time was better’, and that is not true. I don’t like nostalgia, I like memories, that's why I have been trying to come back to the good ones, to those that made me be the person I am right now. I started by painting those memories and places that were closer in time (yes, my memory is not that good): Patagonia, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Bosnia… and went all the way back to when I was a little girl and traveled with my family to the north of Spain to spend a couple of weeks in summer. And I discovered the power that this medium has on me. I realized that I don’t need all those future plans to make my life exciting. I realized that happiness doesn’t depend on who you are, or what you have. It only depends on what and how you think.

Just yesterday I read a quote that I think makes a lot of sense in this situation: “If you spend your life complaining about not being able to go to the beach, maybe you will never have the freedom to really enjoy those special things that mountains have”. For me, right now, the beach would be a metaphor for going out, getting coffee in my favorite coffee shop, traveling, exploring, having adventures, enjoying nature. But right now, I am going to make the choice of enjoying those special things that mountains offer.