Archives for posts with tag: expat

Wow, has it been a minute or what. Once upon a time I started this little personal hobby blog about spas I was visiting just to talk about that simply. I loved speaking about each interior, dissecting it, analyzing the service and services, you name it. Now, after 7 years, I have definitely visited quite a few spas. Yet, I haven’t felt inspired to write about an experience since almost exactly one year ago. I’ve written about spas so many times, and am also a design consultant that critiques spaces on the daily, so I just don’t feel that inspired to dissect them anymore because, well, I simply feel I’m at a point where I know what makes for a good spa and what doesn’t. & To top it all off, I ironically found myself in a relationship with a man who is a CEO of an international spa company. How’s that for serendipity?

As of late though, I have been itching to talk. About what? Things. Random things. Things that come to me, and I say to myself, “Oh I could really dive into that!” Then the thought goes, and I don’t get around to doing it. Time is money. So now, right here, I am going to officially denounce this “spa blog” as a spa blog and change it over to just simply, my blog. If a topic comes to me, I’m going to write about it, vent, get it out and just say I did.

I think the feeling of wanting to talk stems from a few things. Number one, and most obvious, if you know even the slightest about my last two years, I’ve become an expat. I live far far away from all my loved ones, friends, colleagues and a world I knew like the back of my hand (hence why I needed newness). So it goes without saying that at times I find myself feeling quite isolated – and yes, I know, that was done by choice. Another reason I feel chatty is because I am experiencing so many new and different things, ways of life, cultures, career changes, relationship challenges / successes, because I am living abroad. Not always does a caption to a photo suffice, for me, as space-enough for what I really want to say.

I’ve thought about doing the whole YouTube vlogging thing, a lot, because I have always been quite a social person, and so many people have suggested I do…however as I have gotten older I really tend to like my privacy. I could never get up the gumption to post that one video I recorded talking about my first 9 months abroad. Who am I to talk about this topic? Yea, I’m living it – or more like figuring it out as I go. Did I go into it naively? Sure did. Up until a certain point I was merely surviving every day life. At the end of the 20 minute video my only advice is a cheesy: just do it – go – have faith. Perhaps I could post it just to see initial reactions? Who knows.

Also, why open myself to people’s criticisms? No thanks. It all just feels so invasive. They say what goes on the internet is forever on the internet. Are you comfortable with that? I’m not. & I’m not so sure I want my person forever being there, long after I’m gone. Although, paradoxically I am already participating in another form of it all by posting photos on instagram and Facebook.

Le sigh…

What’s to lose though? If you’re a standup honest person, and you mean well, and you can see yourself being good at it? Why not? Although, there are those people from your past who love to come around and be internet bullies when you start to have a following,…so I have come to understand from people who post their lives on the internet.

I love when I hear advice about how to become an “influencer” or fashion blogger or what-have-you… it’s always: just start! Then, be consistent! It’s so simple, and so true. Kind of like my advice to just go abroad. The consistency thing is where I know I might fail for producing content because I don’t have friends here (or not a handful at least) to help me produce content I would need. Who wants to see a bunch of selfie productions? I’m also someone who likes to approach things with a bit of a strategy, or game plan, or mission and without that kind of structure I tend to think things become a bit of a waste of energy…like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Plus I wouldn’t initially be getting paid to do it. Again – need. structure.

So that’s where I have to narrow in on my “passions” and “talents” they say. What value can you provide the people with? And that, that question I cannot answer. I’m pretty self-aware and know myself. I know I’m passionate about health, design, travel, career, wealth, and family. The whole talent thing though? That’s where I struggle. I’ve always been a Jill of all Trades. Good at a lot of things but not fabulous at one. What can I do or say or provide that will attract the people’s attention? The views are what count!

Aside from the whole idea of vlogging floating around in my head I have more astute ideas like itching to go back to school for my Masters in Business. My brain has been so educated (or trained) for the arts that I am dying to activate the entrepreneur inside of me…rather than fallback on the trend of vlogging. Or even get a certificate of some kind whether it’s a nutrition degree, writing degree, IELTS (International English Language Testing System) degree or personal training certification.

With all that said, currently, career-wise, I’m happily (if not a little anxiously, obviously) focusing on my career(s) at hand. One is being a Home Critic for Plum Guide, a company based out of London, here in Barcelona, by consulting the design and amenities of homes to be added to the luxury vacation rental website’s collection. The other job being a remote Consult Designer for the online Interior Design company based out of America called Havenly. Both jobs are really appealing to me, especially considering that I’m consulting…something I’ve always wanted to move toward as an Interior Designer, plus both jobs keep my creative thirsts satiated fully. Not to mention, one job is fully remote which is extremely ideal considering I love to travel and love the idea of being able to make money while moving around the globe.

So even though I’m fairly isolated, don’t have a whole ton of friends around me (yet), and am toying with the idea of vlogging, I’ve found the positive in my solitude and “free time”: writing here again now, and up’ing my career game by working two jobs and pursuing education and entrepreneurial endeavors (as well as some fitness goals!). Because recall that, “6 months of hardcore focus and alignment can put you 5 years ahead in life – you can’t underestimate the power of consistency and desire. You have what it takes to become the best that you can be. You can’t doubt yourself. Harness your power, exceed your expectations.”

And I will leave you on that note. Tell me though, what are your thoughts on vlogging? Do you think it is a worthwhile pursuit? Do you watch vloggers? Or do you prefer reading? Do you think I should give it a shot?

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In life, as you age, you encounter people… and you learn how you, and others, conduct themselves and try (emphasis on try) to relate to others. You will figure out if you are one of those people who keep all the secrets of success to yourself – or – if you find joy in helping others. Personally, I am the latter. Although…there is something to say about those who seek the clues to success on their own.

Currently, I am two days out from starting a new chapter for my life in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain. I visited two years ago and have wanted to move there ever since. Finally, the timeline has effortlessly presented itself for me to move abroad. The unknown of what will unfold because of this decision in the years to come is the most exhilarating feeling in the world.

All of this has made me think back to when I first decided to embark on that journey across the globe two years ago. I initially sought out my friends who had gone on similar travels in order to pick their brains about every question I could think of. My hope was that they would give forth some advice – or better yet, help paint the daunting / terrifying picture of traveling to a land I had never been to. And one I would be extremely far away from anyone or anything I knew, and where I didn’t know the native languages. However…that wasn’t the case exactly. My questions would get answered but not much was ever given forth. I guess for some all you can do is answer the questions people ask and the rest of their travels is for them to experience and learn from. I personally would find it immensely enjoying to sit down in front of a computer and notepad with someone and help them plan out their WHOLE trip. Maybe I should be careful what I wish for, ha!

To each their own I am learning as I “age”.

During my travels I kept a Note going in my phone about some things I felt would be convenient to know prior to or during my travels. So here they are:

  • Don’t bring a hat – and if you do, make sure it’s able to be packed into your luggage…not atop your head. Unless you’re like me and don’t mind looking like an oddball on the plane with 3-7 hats stacked on your head.
  • Pack on the lighter side because if elevators/lifts do not exist in the buildings you are visiting, than it will be quite the task to get those suitcases up to your flat.
  • Walk to the end of a train (not front) because there will be less people, which = less bodies, which = not as hot (if summer).
  • Bring a bluetooth speaker (boombox). #fun
  • Carry a wine opener. But pack it in your luggage not your carry on. (because of the knife that comes with most openers) In case you want to open a bottle on the Eiffel Towers lawn at midnight.
  • Have euros (or the country’s currency) on you at all times. As well as ensure you have a debit card that has an international chip on it, however be wary of the fees. Get an international credit card that doesn’t have international transaction fees. I recommend Chase’s Sapphire card.
  • Bring a swiss army knife – you never know when you will need a tool. Again, put in checked bag – not carry on.
  • Bring hand sanitizer.
  • & Wet wipes! that can be used for all body parts. You never know when a public bathroom won’t have toilet paper. #nightmare
  • “Lo siento” means I’m sorry in Spanish. You’ll need this to apologize for not knowing the language and if you run into people on accident so you don’t come across as a rude tourist.
  • Never book through Vueling airlines out of Spain. It is a nightmare to get checked in. Get to the airport EXTRA early (3 hours) if you do book with them.
  • Know how to ask where the bathroom is in the language of the country you are visiting
  • Keep your cross body bag (recommended) or purse in front of you, not behind you.
  • Just nod to the peddlers – there is an immense amount of people selling items to you in certain areas of Europe.

To be truthful, traveling to Europe was not nearly as daunting as I had originally imagined it to be. Their money is worth a few cents more than ours ($1.00 = €1.17) and lucky for us we have smart phones that can convert on the drop of a dime, literally – and translate for us in a matter of seconds. The metro systems in multiple countries are super easy to use, enjoyable really. #adventure – Adventure is just the mentality you have to go in with and know that if an emergency happens no one’s going to leave you high and dry…you just might have a large medical bill…which leaves me with my last tip! Purchase travel insurance. You’ll feel a whole lot better while traveling.

And that’s all I have for you guys for now! As I begin my life living abroad I will be sure to create another “Tips List” and post at a later time. Feel free to leave any advice you may have in the comments below.

Thanks for following and have a wonderful day!

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