Honestly, if I think about when my journey that led me to be living in Spain actually started, I would have to say it was 2018. I was working in the Mental Health field and was becoming increasingly unsatisfied with my job. There had been a few layoffs that year, and I could not decide if I would appreciate being one of the people that were laid off (as it would free me from my job) or if I would be devastated to be unemployed. It was a feeling of confidence and anxiety at the same time.
At that particular time, there was no room for growth at my company. I had been in that position for five years and I was starting to feel stagnant. These feelings made me realize I needed to make a change, I wanted to feel happy and satisfied, not frustrated and unsatisfied with my work…but a change to what? After two degrees, there was no way in hell I was going back to school for a career change.
I started looking for new jobs. I scoured the internet for something… anything… that would interest me. I kept coming up empty handed. I really had no idea what else I could do or what else I could be good at? – not to toot my own horn, but I was really good at my job. I had no idea what I wanted, but what I knew for sure was that I wanted more flexibility. I HATED asking for vacation time… if you work in corporate America, then I know you feel me on this one!
Let’s fast forward to January 2019. My sister had a business trip that February, which was going to take her to Europe. Excitedly, I invited myself. We didn’t have a whole lot of time, but we were going to have fun. I somehow managed to get a week off from work.
– remember that tedious task of getting days off – I was told any further vacation requests would be scrutinized! Just a thought though…Isn’t this my time off? Why am I being penalized for using it?
Anyhow, back to planning. I was thrilled to be going on this adventure with my sister. Taking any trip, especially a transatlantic one, with a travel partner, will always be more fun and more affordable than doing it solo.
[check out my Travel Guide posts].
The time for the trip came. We chose three cities: Rome, Paris and Barcelona. I told myself that I was going to throw everything into this trip. I would allow myself to be inspired by just about anything and I wasn’t going to think about work. Three amazing cities in one week is no easy feat, but it’s totally doable and can be enjoyable if you have the right partner.
I was in awe with every day spent in each city. However, when I got to Barcelona, something lit up inside of me. As we were on our city tour, I couldn’t help but fall in love. I kept thinking…I could definitely see myself here! At one point, as quickly as this thought ran through my mind, my sister said, “I could live here.” For some reason all I heard was – “you should live here.”
That first night in Barcelona, I laid in bed and thought about what was really stopping me from moving there. I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t own a home – not to say any of these things should stop you from chasing your dreams, but the lack of these made the decision easier for me- so why not? I needed to figure out how I would be able to move to Barcelona and make an income to support myself.
Ha! Easier said than done, I was determined, this was not only the change I was looking for but it would also be a challenge.
I started to research how other people were making these moves. There were a few options but the one that I found interesting was teaching English as a second Language. I headed back home with my plan.
When I got back to Miami, I got serious. I found an online program to get my TEFL certification, researched the visa process and the cost of living – I had to make sure a teacher could live a decent life in Barcelona. My most helpful resources were Facebook groups: Barcelona Expats- International BCN and Barcelona TEFL Teachers Association – I highly recommend these.
After putting together a complete budget from starting the TEFL program to settling in Barcelona, I found that there was no way I was going to make it all possible without eating into my savings, while paying bills and living expenses in general. Some sacrifices were in order. I immediately toned down my spending so I could pay off some debt. To further save, I needed to give up my apartment. I was lucky to have that option.
Getting it together…
Plan in action, I moved in with my aunt and started my program. Once I obtained the certification, I was able to start applying for the visa. From the day I moved in with my aunt to the day I got my visa stamped in my passport, the entire process took me approximately eight months. Eight long months of high anxiety, self-doubt, sleepless nights and consistent praying that I was making the right decision. But it was all worth it, because here I am, as of January 9, 2020, living in Barcelona, Spain.
Have you made a big move? Let’s chat…
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