I have some super exciting wanderlust news: We’re going to Spain! Not just for a vacation. We’re going to spend the next two months living and working there. Two months!! We’ll spend the first month in Barcelona and the second month in Javea. I’m certain the time will fly, but I’m thrilled to have more time to immerse ourselves in local life and explore the region than we would on a typical vacation.
I’ve been hatching this plan ever since I left the dreaded cubicle a year and a half ago. My number one goal at that time was to create stable flexibility in my work life. I am so lucky to have found a regular part-time job that gives me just that, with the option to work in additional freelance work around it. We weren’t certain that RF’s job would be so amenable to my crackpot ideas. He works from home a fair amount, and there’s really nothing specific tying him to his physical office, but you just never know. Thankfully, his boss was completely on board. He worked overseas for many years and understands the value of international experience. So, off we go!
Neither RF nor I has ever been to Spain before. It’s one of the main reasons I chose it for our first foray into digital nomadery. For those of you who don’t know me that well, I have a history of jumping head first into new cities and scenarios. When choosing a college, I had been dead set on heading back South from Chicago to familiar grounds and warm weather. Then, one day, I had an epiphany. College was an opportunity to go anywhere I wanted for the next four years. Anywhere. Why would I go to a place I already knew? Why wouldn’t I go to California instead?!
I had dreamt of visiting California since I was a child. I was distraught when I didn’t get to tag along on a trip my mother, grandmother, and great aunt took to Orange County to settle the estate of my great uncle. Obviously, this wasn’t a fun trip – but, California!! So, I applied to USC, and without ever visiting, headed out to Freshman Orientation on an airplane by myself.
After graduation, I lived in Hollywood and worked in Santa Monica for a while, but gradually came to loathe the commute. One day, while sitting and watching the same stoplight turn from green to yellow to red, over and over again, I decided it was time to move on. In that moment, it was infinitely clear that Seattle was next. Had I been there? Eh, I had seen a few movies. It looked so green! This time, with RF in tow, we headed north.
So, why Spain? Why not?! I mean, we barely speak a lick of Spanish – only that which we’ve learned from billboards, signs, and pop culture over the years, plus a few Duolingo lessons. None of that is Catalan. In searching for rentals, I’ve begun to learn about Barcelona’s neighborhoods and Javea’s surrounding sites, but I really know nothing of the customs and culture. I definitely anticipate an adventure. Of course, that is exactly the point. As we have many times before, we will learn.
I have already learned that EasyJet and RyanAir flights from Barcelona or Alicante can deliver us to many points in Europe for weekend exploration. Christmas Markets in Brussels? Taverns in Seville? Old friends in Berlin? Or perhaps we’ll take a ferry to Mallorca or Morocco. The lists of things to do in Spain are endless, from weirdest museums to UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Spain has 44!) to Game of Thrones filming locations. This, of course, on top of all of the classic tourist haunts.
I did mention that we’ll be working, right? So, as tempting as all of these jaunts will be, it’s also quite likely that we’ll stand firmly in the places we live. I doubt that we could cover all of Barcelona in a year, much less a month. Javea is a small, historic port town on the Costa Blanca between Valencia and Alicante with ideal weather year-round. We might plant ourselves on the terrace that attracted me to our home away from home for the entire month, soaking in the sun and views without a single care about checking off a list of travel to-do’s. That too is the beauty of this plan – having no plan at all.
All will be revealed in due time. For now, our list is packed solid with all the little items we need to take care of between now and take-off. T minus 10 days?! ACK. I gotta go…!!