When I was in my early 20s the opportunity came up for me to apply for Spanish citizenship. See, both my paternal grandparents were born there, but left as young children with their families, fleeing from Franco’s persecution. Eventually, they arrived in Mexico where they were welcomed as refugees. It was my late grandfather’s birth certificate and most importantly, his refugee documents that allowed me to gain Spanish citizenship. Since then, I had daydreamed about one day living in Spain, or even France. But the years went by and I had neither visited nor moved to Europe.
I had mentioned all this to Fernando, and it was him, who came up with the plan to move to Spain. At this point, we had been together for over 2 years and had traveled together for 8 months, so I knew moving to Spain together would be the best adventure! I was working at a job I love and with the potential to grow, but Fernando was not. He was stuck in a window-less office working on excel spreadsheets all day. It was his great coworkers and the possibility of a life-changing move that motivated him to keep going.
Moving to Spain was our loose plan for months until we decided we had to commit. So we set a date, bought tickets, and started saving furiously. Was I hesitant? Somewhat. Nervous? Hell yes! But we had a lot of things going for us.
- We were doing a great job of saving up $$$
- We’re both fluent in Spanish
- We could both work there (Fernando for being my husband)
- We both love traveling and we travel well together
- We don’t have anything tying us down
- San Diego is home and we can always come back if it doesn’t work out
- Apolo’s coming with us, of course
- I’m applying to grad school in Barcelona, I have about a 35% chance of getting in. If I get in that’s where we’ll live from August 2018 to May 2019.
- We want to spend a few months traveling and volunteering around Spain at permaculture and sustainability-related projects
- Traveling will give us the opportunity to get to know the country and choose where we want to settle down for a bit
- We’d like to buy a van to make travels easier
- We don’t want to spend all of our savings on travels – so we’re doing it on the cheap
- We’d like to invest in something we’re passionate about, maybe start our own business
- We don’t know what we’ll be doing 1 year from now, but that’s okay
- We don’t plan on staying in Spain forever, our parents are here and we’d like to come back
- We can always come back if it doesn’t work out
- We’ve heard really great things about the quality of life in Spain
- Then again, unemployment is high, especially for people our age, so it’s good we saved up.
As far as Zero Waste and Sustainable Living go, I am SO excited about doing it in Spain! Just like our South East Asia trip, we’ll be doing it plastic free and zero waste. This time around, I think it will be a lot easier. We speak the language, I know for a fact there are zero waste friendly stores, organic waste disposal is not uncommon, and the tap water is safe to drink. But just because it will be easier, doesn’t mean it will be easy. It will still require constant attention and preparation, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m packing up my favorite reusables, I have yet to pick them out, but I will be bringing them along!
Like our last trip, we’ll be volunteering at different projects around the country, as a way of traveling inexpensively, learning new skills, and meeting like-minded people along the way. We’ve been using Work Away and have found SO many projects related to sustainable living and permaculture. Having Apolo with us definitely makes it a challenge, but just today we heard back from a Dutch couple living in Catalonia inviting us to stay at their Finca, helping them build with straw bale and take care of the organic garden. If it all works out, that’s where we’ll be spending the month of April, and I am so excited about it!
Now I just have to put together the ultimate travel capsule wardrobe, tips are welcome!