Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Life in Spain: Should I Stay or Should Go?

Should I stay or Should I go? Why do I want to go? Where am I headed? Can I afford to do this? What will my family think? What burden will this place on my family? How will this effect my current relationships with friends and my significant other? How will this help my career? How long am I staying or am I moving permanently?
I cannot answer these questions for you, all I can do is explain my situation and my opinion on the matter. First you must know that each and every situation is different. That in my journey and life abroad I met people from all walks of life.
Yes some were wandering and lost, but some were not. Many were looking over their shoulder trying to figure out how this would effect their typical "life track" progression. Some people were right out of college and others were recently divorced or widowed. Each and every person has their own story, just as you will have yours . . .

The Life Track

What about the money, career, cars, family and babies where do they fit into this great adventure. First, please understand that I'm a firm believer you can travel at any age with your family or without. But I'm also well aware that its plenty easier to accomplish when you're young, wild and free. I'm sure it's stressful having to match the flight and train times to your two year olds sleep and feeding schedule. Not too mention even if you like the Hostel life in your thirties, I'm doubting it'll be the joys and whimsicalness you oh so love at 65.

So do this here travel thing, moving across the big pond adventure now because the phrase "it only gets harder from here" applies to so many things in life.
Honestly, I've always planned to travel and I've always planned to have a great big family. I believe that the travel and the years to age me into possessing a bit of wisdom will only help me when I'm older and teaching my own baby bears.

Think of the things that inspire and keep you in awe of your parents, for me it's seeing the risk they took and the moments when they just said, "I'm stepping out on faith". Yes, I recognize those moments as their adult child, but part me of knows that's because as their child they were quick to use themselves as life examples when the going got tough for me ( which was a lot easier than it ever got for the two of them by the way).

 I know that the lessons I've learned traveling and living abroad are lessons that I will use to guide and teach my children. Just as I didn't, I'm sure you don't want to be the "what if" parent. So make the decision- either it's for you now or it's for you down the road or it's for you never.

In the case of the job, I was lucky and Teaching English is my profession, but I realize not everyone is like me. However, learning a new language, especially one of the top languages in the world is a helpful step to anyone. My resume for Jo-Ann's craft store ask what other languages I know, because it's a use full skill any business can benefit from.

Finally, my wallet will always be the better for living abroad. I made $925.00 a month and balanced paying four bills, abroad and stateside, along with daily expenses and traveling. You learn how to make money work and that's a life skill you just cannot do without in this day and age of credit card and student loan debt.


First realize as much as it seems so, it’s not personal. Honestly, through their own confusion and struggle your family may say some pretty hurtful words and their actions may not resemble the love they have always shown you in the past. But know their love is still there, even stronger if that’s possible.

All the questions, fears and concerns that you have are equal to the questions your family is wondering or asking aloud AND the confusion is double for them because they are not privy to your most inner thoughts and desires.  Also, if they are about to help you out financially in anyway that’s a weight on their shoulders that they deserve to become aware of as soon as possible.

The fear, anxiety and questions that your family keep drilling you with cannot be the main factor in whether you stay or go. It can be a factor, especially if they will be forced to help you financially, but placing it at number one will certainly keep your feet firmly planted at home.

And know that if you go, sometimes you will have the greatest day only to have a skype call with a family member who will knock your joy away with woes of just how much they miss you. In those moments remember that in their mind they see one little red pin on a map showing your country surrounded by no other red pins. All by your lonesome self, walking down unsafe streets alone, drinking in shady establishments alone and having no one to hug you on tough days. Not a single other soul there for you because everyone who cares about you is back in the States.

Just remember their side when it becomes  maddening to keep explaining the same answers or hearing the same statements of resentment. Don’t hold it against, but do move forward with the decision that is best for you.

Money, Money, Money, Money, Mah-ney!

Honey, you betta save like it’s your only job. No shopping. No eating out. No movie theatre nights. No money spent. You must save every last penny. Dead serious I at the same sandwich for two months straight for dinner cause my bank account needed to be bursting.

If you go through a program, no matter which country you’re moving to, it’s gonna cost some money. The plan ticket will cost money. The idea to buy early is great unless you receive your placement a month before you must report like many now residing in Spain did this past year. Then you're buying last minute and all the good seats are gone.

But the heavy hitter comes during your travels once you’ve actually moved abroad. The point for moving to Europe for the majority of folks is to travel across the pond like you just can’t do in North America. And that cost money. Planes, Trains, Buses, and a place to sleep. Also, you must eat. All of that cost money and since I don’t do Hostels it cost just a little more for this girl. There are deals, coupons and the notion that Ryanair is actually becoming understanding towards their consumers, but that still cost money. Plus you’re probably traveling to some pretty touristy locations and with tourist locations come tourist prices.

Just take my trip to Ireland, I almost laid-out on the muddy streets crowded with all sorts crying when I realized that I had gone through 400 euoros in four days with two days left on that leg of the journey, two other destinations to go and an entire month before my next paycheck. Instead I just moved towards the nearest street corner and went to work- just kidding! But it was a serious thought considering my next destination was Paris and all it’s shopping.
Budgeting and having the funds are necessary. You will still have bills, here and there along with unexpected fees. The last thing you want to do is be caught in need of money that isn’t available to you.

The Verdict

Go or stay, take a look at all points of view. Understand that just because living abroad doesn't work out it doesn't mean you can't play abroad as often as possible. Know that change will always cause growth. Meditate, pray and ask questions. But ultimately make the decision for you, and your life progress- not a single other person.

Hope this helped, I know it's long, but there's so much information. Hopefully the future Life in Spain post don't scroll down as far. Feel free to e-mail me or ask in the comments if I didn't touch on something directly. But remember there's definitely more to come with the last Life in Spain post taking place the first week of June. Thanks for walking with me on my journey, hope it helped you on yours in some way.
Until Next Time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, and Be Blessed . . .


  1. It is hard for family who stay behind. Now that I am a mommy, I especially realize how crazy my family must have thought I was. I put my mom through so much! (But it was soooo much fun for me!) ;)

    1. My biggest worry with the champagne accident was how my family was reacting across the pond, I felt so bad for their panic and inability to help/make sure I was okay. But oh adventure is a wonderful thing!

  2. This article was written for the myriad folks who think that quitting their job to travel the world will solve all their problems.

    Go travel, and do it as much as possible. But don’t think it will solve all of life’s problems you know?

    I travel several months of the year. I love traveling and think it’s one of the best investments for your money. But there’s this trend recently of people glorifying quitting your job to travel (i’ve done it, twice). But what next? If you hated your job, how is traveling going to help you get one you love? If you were in a bad relationship, how is traveling going to help you improve it (if you decide to stay in it)?

    I think it’s human psychology to want to run away, instead of confront and fix things.

    1. Hey Amanda, thanks for joining the conversation! Not sure how long you've been following the blog since it started three years ago, but let me get you up to date. I grew up in an education family, became an educator and then two years into my role looked around and thought, "How can I do more". I originally applied to teach in the American Somao, received my position and then found out they did not have enough turnover to offer me a spot the upcoming year. So I picked another program that would allow me to enhance my Spanish Language skills and ESL instructor skills. Now I've returned not only understanding where I'm headed as an educator, but with some skills as an educator that can only benefit me in my relationships with my students and their families. I was able to solve a problem, learn, live with folks I would never have met otherwise and travel. I did not run from my problems ( heck I created more by leaving) I found a different route in fixing my problems.
      Many of the people who have messaged and e-mailed me, the people I wrote this post for, are not running from anything. They are trying to figure out how to satisfy two desires- travel and move forward in their lives instead of back. The idea of quitting your present life and job in pursuit of another is not a new trend, it's been going on since before Immigration to America and to the current generation is glorified by the nostalgia of the Beat Generation. Which is why in a later "Life in Spain" post, I discuss the programs and paths available when moving abroad. I highlight how traveling through your job, locating a job abroad, or even continuing your education abroad are now options other than just quitting everything and starting on a completely different track.
      I completely agree that travel is not limited to certain notions or confines of age. I've mentioned numerous times on this blog that balancing travel and work is an option as is traveling with children and in old age. I hope that I have and continue to do when blogging is help others in realizing that in anything we desire to do in life there is always more options than the typical route.
      I hope you stick around and share in the comments for many post to come, it's always nice to have a conversation with readers.