July 2, 2008

Checking off that New Year's Resolution.

The first week of January is a big time of the year for a lot of people across the world. Many make resolutions for themselves that range from losing weight to getting a new job to breaking a bad habit to exercising more. The first week of January for me was no exception as I am a big believer in new year’s resolutions and physically writing them down. So I did what I do every year – I made my list. I checked it twice. And then I decided to go about following through with number 1 on said list:

“Travel to a new country”

This may sound easy for some and difficult for others depending on what their traveling experience and history has been. For me, I have always loved going to new places and trying new things but haven’t really left the confines of the United States to do so. Road trips down both the east and west coasts, a summer in Hawaii, and drooling over travel magazines and reading the travel section in the New York Times has been the closest I have been to actually experiencing Europe, South America, Australia, Africa, or Asia. Then, at age 26, I left the country for the first time and traveled to Israel. This trip opened my eyes in many ways to the land of this gorgeous middle eastern country but more significantly, awakened the travel bug inside of me. It thought of all of the places in the world that I hadn’t been to but read about and wanted to go to; “Everything is really only a plane ride away!” it told me. This bug then fell back to sleep and lay dormant inside me for a year and a half until January 2nd when I began reading a book that woke it up.

This bug insisted that I follow my dream/thought of the past 8 years and go to Spain and live (not permanently, but for a bit longer than a work-sanctioned vacation). But where in Spain? Yes, I asked myself the same question as I knew NOTHING about the geography or specifics of this country. After a couple of days of web searching and talking to a former client who has spent a considerable amount of time there, I decided on Barcelona. The idea of living on the Mediterranean with the mountains nearby, sunshine, paella and sangria plentiful, and amazing art and architecture all around sounded like as good a place as any.

Researching all of the specifics of my travel to Spain came next as well as answering my own whos, whats, whens, wheres, and whys. The who would I stay with? The what did I want out of this? The when would I go? The where would I go when I got there? The how would I get there and get around? The why would I do this? The how could I do it monetarily? All of my answers came in the following week (as well as another long list of questions) and by Thursday I decided that this was officially going to happen, told my roommates of the past 6 or so years, and on Saturday I made the “big call” to my parents to inform them that their daughter would be leaving the city she has called home for the past 5 years and moving to a new country (which didn’t have English as it’s first language). I braced for the worst and hoped for the mediocre. What I got was the best: “We totally support your decision.” For a moment I thought that the phone number I had called had not actually gone to my parents’ home in New England but to another Mom-and-Dad-sounding couple.

Armed with the moral support of my family and closest friends and the information about Barcelona I had gleaned from friends, friends-of-friends, and hundreds of various websites I realized that this dream was going to become a reality. I was moving to Barcelona for three months later in the summer...which is NOW less than 50 days away. Amazing how a decision made when hot chocolate is brewing and winter coats are donned, can finally come to life when fresh-brewed iced tea and beach days are around.

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