I’m laying in bed in my new flat in the center of Granada. The sun is streaming through the french-style doors leading to my tiny balcony and warming up my feet. In the near distance, I can hear church bells from the Grand Cathedral and the soft notes of an accordion are floating into my room. The birds are singing and I catch snippets of Spanish conversation from passers-by below. It’s pancake Sunday, and I believe this is heaven on earth.
I’ve been in Spain a little over a year now and I still get that mind-blowing feeling that I felt when I first came. I am in disbelief that this is my life, that I created all this for myself. What my baby (me) wants, my baby (still me) gets. “Oh, this is exactly what I wanted, thanks babe!” Haha, cheeky.
Amidst the “daily grind” of teaching English to some pretty cool adults, (I killed all the kids from last year, so now I have to work with adults. Jokes…) I make it a point to take-in the beauty that surrounds me and stop for photos, just look around, or literally smell the flowers. I savor each moment, knowing this won’t last forever. So grateful.
I am living my dream and it is all because I jumped.
If you ever get the chance to move to another country, or have been thinking about it, even for a few months, doooo it! I can’t stress this enough…do it. Go alone, go together, go to get her, just go!
It really isn’t as scary as everyone thinks to move abroad or travel alone. I’m not brave or courageous, maybe a bit crazy to some, but really I’m just curious and determined. Curious to explore and determined to get what I want. But more than anything, I am willing to put in the work to make it all happen.
Intention, action, creation. That is the recipe for success (heavy on the action). And being open to new paths or changes in direction helps too. Something is bound to get blocked along the way and you have to be creative and determined enough to overcome it. Take risks and keep your eye on the prize. It doesn’t matter how you get there, so long as you get there.
Take the first step. Do what you think about. Be who you wish you were. Go where you want and know that you deserve it. That last bit is especially important. Like the eggs in a pancake batter, knowing you deserve what you want makes it all stick.
Many people (friends and wonderful strangers) have written to me since I’ve been sharing my journey on this here space, asking me how to do the same. How to leave and find work and what living abroad is like. Although I have the information they want to know, I honestly think they are subconsciously writing to me for verification. Like they are looking for someone to say, “Hell ya! GO! You’d be crazy not to! Look how great it is out here in the wild! If I did it you can too!” They ask me how I can afford to live here and how much they should save before leaving. I didn’t save much or for very long (a month to be exact). I planned on working upon arrival so I brought enough money for a couple months and hoped to make enough to sustain a similar lifestyle to what I lead at home.
If you want to save money, beyond cutting down on pretty much everything, a quick trick that can make a huge difference is not taking credit cards out to party, only cash. It’s easier to save-up for that dream when you’re not whipping out your card at last call, pushing your way to the bar and ordering a (mandatory) round of Patron for all your friends, new and old. I’ve done this more than I’d like to admit. Although it may (or may not, we’re all different) give you the courage to bust out those dance moves you’ve been practicing at home, it really just wreaks havoc on the whole saving money idea. Budget your cash while you save and give yourself an allowance. Sucks I know, but come on…for what I’ve paid for one round of unnecessary Patron shots (up to $60), I spent 4 days in Nicaragua below budget ($30/day).
The information I provided to the people who reached out was different advice than they set out for. It was silent and they may not have even known what was happening and they probably don’t even know they were seeking it. I was helping them say YES to themselves, to their own dreams and desires. To say yes to doing what they lay in bed thinking about and what they search all day on the internet for at the job they are desperate to leave. I am the gas on their fire screaming go, grow, higher, higher! And now, I hope to be stoking your flame too.
Good Morning Flamingo was never meant to be a travel blog in the traditional sense. I didn’t start this to tell you where to go, how to get there, which hostels to stay in and how much it will all cost (which I’m sure you’ve figured out by now). There is a wealth of information on the webs with routes and budgets and warnings and reviews and hidden gems, written by people who really know their backpacking. I am not here to compete with Lonely Planet or start a travel guide company, I am here to get you inspired to just say yes already!
I’m not saying that the only way to have a kick ass life is to quit your job, sell your shit, pack a bag and buy a one-way ticket to travel the world…however I do HIGHLY recommend it, though I may be biased. No, I am just saying that any kind of thing that gets your blood pumping and puts a cheesy smile on your face is something you should pursue. Anything! And anything that makes you want to escape like Houdini is something that you should probably escape like Houdini from.
End the war against yourself.
As humans, we are conditioned to limit ourselves, trained really. Trained to think, “Oh, I could never do that, but I’d love to.” Or, “I wish, but I could never leave this job, though I do quite hate it.” Why? Why do we automatically doubt ourselves and the validity of our deepest desires? And worse, why do we feel chained to things which we detest? Fear and society I believe, are the culprits. Fear of failure, fear of loneliness, fear of the unknown, fear of breaking the mold, fear fear fear.
Nothing is secure. Nothing is guaranteed except the fact that you have to live with yourself and your decisions for the rest of your time here. Why not make both awesome?
Erase the fear. What you want is out there. Go for it!
My fear melts away when I stand at the ticket window in a train station in a foreign land, alone, with my backpack on, and ask for one ticket with no return. This is one of my absolute favorite feelings in the world, next to skydiving and playing with kittens. Then, I do my happy dance in said foreign train station and smile at all the people looking at the crazy American girl squealing and jumping up and down with a 30 liter backpack on. It’s kind of become a tradition.
Fear always creeps up. It’s not like I live without fear, I just see it and kick it out. I say no to fear taking control and keeping me from the goal. It is recognizing it when it arises that is more important. Knowing you are experiencing fear is harder than getting rid of it. It’s the awareness of it that drives it away and allows you to think clearly again and take action.
There are so many fantastic places to see and people to meet, and listen to and learn from and you’re never going to find them from your comfort zone.
Getting into uncomfortable situations (not dangerous, not awkward, not scary) will force you to grow and show your true colors. The person you are when no one is around takes control and you are in your purest form, just jammin’.
Normal Vincent Peale said one of my favorite quotes, which has also become my mantra, “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and hearts can do that.” So simple, yet incredibly profound. You are the only obstacle to getting what you want. Everything else can be dealt with.
Buy that plane ticket. Go into nature for a night alone. Move for a job or for love or for adventure. Do whatever it is you want to do! Treat yourself! Life is short and we are capable of extraordinary things when we lock into our laser focus.
Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.
And say, “One please.”
If you need even more of a push, watch this video. You know what you want, go for it!