Solo Travel: Why I Love Going Solo

Over the last year and a half, I have become very fond of solo travel. I have been on many solo trips to Paris, London, Munich, Vienna, Italy (Rome, Florence, Naples, Scotland, and more. As female solo traveler, I find power and freedom in going to places by myself. It is a rewarding feeling to know that I planned and put a holiday together by myself. This gives me confidence in believing that I can do anything in life that I want to accomplish.  Solo traveling makes me a stronger human.

I love going on trips by myself because I can promote more personal growth. Plus, allow myself to discover the world without other people affection my views on life. During my holidays, I don’t feel alone on my trips ever.  Because no matter where I have gone by myself, I have always met many people on my trips. When traveling by yourself, you are never truly alone. Some way you meet other fellow travellers on the road.

Safety is very important to me. When traveling alone, I always put my safety and well being at the top of my list. It’s all about using common sense. Bottom line is don’t leave your common sense  at home. I don’t put myself in unsafe situations. I take care of myself because I can on depend on myself while I am traveling by myself.

I love how I can focus on what I want to spend my time on in a city. If I want to go slow, I can take my time and enjoy what I want to see. There are times that I want to move fast and have an action packed day. When I was in Paris, during the November 2015 attacks, I had one day see what I could in Paris. I got up early and went out to see the major attractions of Paris. Plus, I saw the Eiffel Tower twice in that day. It was amazing. I hope to go back to Paris next spring, so I give the city of lights a proper chance. I enjoy creating the pace of how I will move and see things during my holiday.

I am hoping to spend another year in Spain and then move to Korea. I am running out on places to see in Europe. Don’t get me wrong I love Europe and living here. However, I want to see other parts of the world and allow myself time to see new cultures and learn a new language.  While I am in Korea, I want to go to Japan, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and more a few other places.  For places like India, China, and Thailand I will go on a group tour so I can be safe.  I want to experience life, be happy, and travel.

Thanksgiving in Madrid

This year was the first time in my life to not had Thanksgiving with family and friends in Texas. I worked Thanksgiving Day, but in exchange for working Thursday I got a 4 day weekend out of the deal. It was my first time to attend an Friendsgiving.  It was a wonderful feast with good company. There was turkey, stuffing, cornbread, sweet yams, mashed potatoes, and more. There was so much love and care put into making the food. Just about everything at the dinner was homemade. My Friendsgiving was just like any other gathering at home, but unique in the fact that I was having Thanksgiving in a different country.  I ate a lot of food. I think I gain 12 pounds from all the food.  Sad part is I fell asleep and slept for 12 + hours. Oh boy! Talk about being tired all day.

This time of the year I reflect  on my life and what I am thankful for. 2014 has been a amazing year with lots of chances from moving overseas and getting rid of bad energy. This year I have a lot to be thankful for.

  1. I am grateful for my family
  2. I am grateful for all the friends in the US that want to maintain contact with me
  3. I thankful for the chance to live, work, and travel in Europe
  4. I am thankful for my masters
  5. I am grateful for my strong drive accomplish goals and chase my dream
  6. I am happy to be the person I am and know who I am
  7. I am happy for how positive and rewarding my experience has been in Madrid
  8. I am lucky for all the experiences in life I have been granted

Mañana: The Spanish Philosophy of Life

I have always been stressed and worried about something in life. Either I’ve been worried about what others think about me or how an action I choose will effect me in the future.  I am a chronic worrier and have a bad case of anxiety. I have taken on the Spanish philosophy on life. In Spanish, mañana means “tomorrow.” Everything will come together, but you still need to be proactive about getting stuff done. I am relaxed and easy going because of my new home. 

In Spain, life is slower and easy going. Spaniards look at getting something done when they get around to the task. Spanish philosophy is looking at a task with ease. If the task is not completed today, there is always tomorrow. This slower approach to life has made me slow down and not stress at an unnecessary level of stress. Yes!!! I’ve been stressed out about different things, but I’ve been able to manage my stress.

  • Finding my way to a new place
  • Speaking sad Spanish to communicate to with a Spaniard
  • Money
  • Opening a bank account
  • Getting a residential card
  • Finding a piso (apartment)
  • Dealing with awful landlord who doesn’t care about his tenants
  • Making new friends
  • Affairs back in the USA

I am in Spain where siestas, 2 hour long lunches, and philosophy of enjoying life as it comes are number one. I’ve adopted Spanish philosophy into my life and have noticed a change in my stress and worry levels. In the end of the day, everything works out. I’ve been through a lot the last 30 days, but I wouldn’t want my life any other way. I love my life here. I am in love with Spanish philosophy on life. I am proud of how I am finally not worrying so much about elements in my life I don’t have control over. There are issues in the US I have no control over. Being in Spain does not mean that I don’t care about affairs back home. I’ve just put those worries on the back burner. Mañana! I am going to live my life and enjoy my time in Spain. I am not going to dwell on things I don’t have control on or that are not my fault. I am in BLOODLY SPAIN!!! I am going to enjoy my new city and life as it comes. I am not going to worry what others think of me. I am going to love life and take it as comes.

Romanticized Life Abroad: Not What You Think Living Abroad is Like

People romanticize that living abroad is this fabulous/ glamorous living experience where you go on trips every weekend to Paris or wherever, don’t have hardships, and just like the movies. Living abroad is an experience everyone should get to do, but it’s not glamorous! By living aboard, you are giving up the familiar for a new and strange place. Living aboard will open many new and exciting possibilities for you. Plus, you can learn/ improve language skills. During the past month, I’ve had to find a flat (apartment), open a bank account, navigate through a new city, and communicate daily in broken Spanish. Plus, go to the ER and see a Spanish speaking doctor!!!! Also, I’ve had to battle anxiety, homesickness, and loneness.   I don’t regret moving overseas to Madrid. This experience has allowed me to become a stronger and more independent woman who is living her goals and dreams abroad.

My job has made me get over my fears and become a role model for my kids. I work Tuesday- Friday at school and tutor on the side to make extra money. I have rent and bills to pay. I am not going out every night partying till the sun comes up. I am busy planning stuff for work or tutoring sessions. I am a citizen of Madrid not a tourist!

During the last 30 days, I’ve been pushed to the point of an anxiety attack. I’ve not had one because Spain has reminded me, more than once, everything will come together and I need to take things in life one step at time. Spanish Government is a messy system to work with because there’s not set standard on how things are to be done and the idea that if something is not done today there’s always tomorrow.  My anxiety has been reduced because there are things in this country that I can’t stress and worry over. For example, getting a piso or applying for my residential card. Spain has made me more of risk taker. I now enjoy getting lost in neighborhoods and checking out new things in my current home. The past 30 days I have socialized with new people, gone to lunch by myself, explored Madrid on my own, practiced and improved my Spanish, and allowed myself to be comfortable in my own skin without others judging me. I moved 5,000 miles away from home, but this was the right choice for me. I am so happy here and have so much joy for where my life is heading.

There’s a price you pay for living abroad which is changing relationships with family and friends. 5,000 miles has placed a communication block, time zone difference, and changed how close I am with friends. I knew that my choice of living overseas would change my relationships with family and friends forever, but I am willing to pay the price to live overseas and chase my dreams. Over the last month it’s become clear to me who really matters in my life. People who were bad news in my life have dropped out of my life. I am allowed to reinvent myself and not worry about others judging me harshly. Moving abroad has giving me rebirth and sanctuary from everything that I needed to remove myself from.

The Truth About Finding a PISO (Apartment/ Flat) in Madrid : The AMERICAN vs Spainard Piso Shopping

lowest-apartment-rates

Some people dream of living and moving to a foreign country. Some get to live the dream overseas; however, adjusting to a new place, language, and culture can be stressful. A person wanting to live overseas has to have all their lose ends in the country they are moving from such as bills, housing, and packing. It takes a lot of energy, time, and money to relocate overseas. Even with all the things listed above to deal with, I still made a once in a lifetime choice to move overseas. I don’t regret my choice to move to Spain!

In late September every year, many Americans and other native English speakers move to teach ESL in Madrid’s public schools. I arrived in Madrid on 9/18. I got to my hostel.  I spent 48 hours relaxing and adjusting to the time change.After the 48 hours passed, I started using websites like Idealista and Easypiso.

To find a piso in Madrid you have to call or use Whatsapp to contact possible a landlord. Next, comes the hard part, you have to ask questions in Spanish (I had to get out of comfort zone and  communicate in Spanish with possible landlords). If you like what the landlord is saying, you need to request a time to come by and look at the apartment. In America, apartment hunting is done in a different style. Spain’s approach to piso hunting requires some getting use to. You have go in person to view the place and ask more questions. If you don’t feel comfortable, ask someone to come with you. Someone will be willing to help out. Maybe offer coffee or tapas? Once you come to an agreement, you will need to sign a contract with your landlord.To research more on how to find a piso in Spain, go to the bottom of this blog for some useful links or Google piso hunting tips. 

Personal Thoughts on the Experience: My Spanish is improving  in a short period of time! Also, I have been made to step out of my comfort zone to accomplish a task. My personal development is improving. 

Questions for the Reader: Have you ever moved, worked, and lived overseas? Where? What was it like? Was it hard? What would you share with others wanting to move overseas?

Tips:

  1. Don’t go through an agency! They will charge you for using them.
  2. If you are not good at Spanish, get someone to help you with your texts. Don’t worry you will get better at Spanish in the timeframe you are looking for a piso.
  3. Don’t e-mail landlords!! Spaniards prefer that you use your phone to  call or Whatsapp them! Spaniards don’t reply to emails that fast, so use a phone to get this task done.
  4. Be safe! Use your gut on going to the appointment or not.
  5. Research areas in Madrid!

For more information check out these blogs:

Madrid Barros (Neighborhoods) 

How to Look for a Piso

Anxieties of Turning in My 2 Weeks Notice

I’m less than a month away from turning in my 2 weeks notice to my office job. I am racking up a lot of anxiety because I’m nervous about how my boss will react and then dealing with the 2 odd weeks left at the job. I can’t simply tell my boss that I’m moving overseas to Spain.  Suggestions on what to do?