While I love the excitement of arriving at the airport, going through security (total sarcasm here) and boarding my flight to some exciting destination, I also love the fun of a simple day trip. There are so many places that we can explore within a 1-3 hour drive of us, wherever we are. I love taking day trips and where I live in Spain, there are so many!
Over Semana Santa, I traveled in Ireland and England for a little bit. On my way back home, I found cheaper airfare into Madrid. Since I’ve already been to Madrid several times, I decided to take a day trip to Toledo. Toledo is a perfect day trip from Madrid as it’s a one-hour away. And it’s also a city that you do not want to miss. It’s full of so much history and things to see. And the architecture is very unique.
Hi everyone! Today I’m very excited to be co-hosting the Thursday Fashion Files with Carrie from Curly Crafty Mom and Jill from Doused in Pink. I have been following their blogs for at least a year now and have linked up with them countless times. As I have transitioned from just blogging about to fashion to blogging fashion and travel, the times I can link up are less frequent. But I, of course, am always excited to when I can!
So for this post, I thought I’d do a little reflection on how I’m doing. I thought it would be fun to mix some photos in from the different shoots and outfits I’ve worn over the past five months.
Last weekend, I spent the day exploring old Granada. For those of you who do not know, I live in Granada, Spain. I’m an American and I moved there to teach English. And I must say, I absolutely love it in Granada. Some days I catch myself taking it for granted. Then I walk to meet a friend for a coffee and am stunned by my surroundings. I live in one of the prettiest cities in all of Spain. It is simply amazing.
Last weekend, I teamed up with a friend of mine in Granada who volunteered to do my hair, makeup and take my photos (thanks Kat!). Friends like that are the best! Kat lives in the historic area of Calle Elvira.
Why Andorra? Okay so you’re either asking me why or what as you start reading this. If you’re asking what, Andorra is a tiny country sandwiched between Spain and France in the Pyrenees Mountains. Nothing crazy ever happens there that would make national news and it is often left off of world maps. And I’ll admit, I really only learned about the country 4-5 years ago. And ever since, I’ve been fascinated.
So Nina, tell me more!
Oh I’m so glad you asked. Andorra is actually a principality and the only country where Catalan is the official language (Catalan is also spoken in parts of Spain, parts of France and one community in Italy. It is very similar to Spanish but is considered it’s own language. Think like Spanish and Italian … both different languages that share a lot of similarities). However Spanish and French are also widely spoken, as well as some English. I spoke Spanish my entire time there because I figured most people were more likely to be comfortable in Spanish over English (and because I hate being “that” American who asks for English everywhere).
Several weeks ago, I found myself with just a night in Barcelona. The next day I was headed to Andorra, so I reserved myself a room in a hostel for the night. Little did I know that this hostel would be among one of my favorites. If you’re looking for a social Barcelona hostel (and Barcelona is a great place to make new traveler friends), then look no further.
I was very fortunate to spend several days in Glasgow, Scotland a few weeks ago. While it was very cold, I managed to find a good amount of things to do that cost me nothing. When traveling, I do believe that you can save money. Luckily in Scotland, many of the historical sites are free to the public. I spent my three days there touring the city this way. So without further ado, here are 7 free things to see in Glasgow, Scotland.
7. The Glasgow Necropolis
The Glasgow Necropolis sits up on a hill just above the Glasgow Cathedral. From here, you get some of the best views of the entire city. What’s a Necropolis? It’s a Victorian-era garden cemetery. I don’t know about you, but for me, there’s always something neat and calming about wandering through a cemetery.
Ah your late 20’s. Your late 20’s are when you’re supposed to be getting married, getting pregnant (random aside … Pinterest keeps having pictures of pregnant women in dresses pop up on my homefeed. What on Earth are they telling me?), going to grad school, making the big bucks and generally feeling confident in where you are in life. I only have one of those five things on that list (no I’m not pregnant and no, I’m not making mounds of $$). Instead I’m fleeing to Spain.
This fall, I’m fitting all my things into two suitcases and moving to Jaén, Spain in the Andalusia region. I’m basically fleeing to Spain. Excited does not even begin to describe what I’m feeling. I’ll be turning 29 in only a few short weeks and could not be more ready to make a big, international move. Now is the time in my life when I can and will do exactly what I want. And there’s nothing more that I want in life right now than to live in Spain, drink wine, eat tapas, speak Spanish every day and spend my off time seeing all the parts of Europe I haven’t seen yet. Also, cobble-stoned streets and old Spanish cathedrals make for great photoshoot locations. I’ll just need a good photographer … know of anyone in Jaén, Spain? Jk but not really. The blogging struggle when moving far far away will be so real.
But enough about my worries because they will keep coming. I’m moving to another country … of course I will not completely stop thinking about all the things I need to make happen. This is intended to help me breathe and also help anyone else out like me. Maybe you too want to take that big adventure, whatever it may be. Do it!
Anyway, here’s why I’m fleeing to Spain at 29 (almost!)
1. To really experience a different culture
One of the best ways to expand your mind is learn about other cultures. There are over 200 countries in this world. America’s way of doing things may not always be the best way. But how would we know unless we really experience how the rest of the world works?
When I move to Spain, I want as much immersion as I can get. I want roommates who speak no English so that I’m forced to communicate in Spanish every day. I want a group of friends where I’m the only English-speaker. I want to befriend my neighborhood barista. Understanding a new culture through relationships with others will give me a unique perspective I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
2. To travel
Right now, my heart is to be seeing the world. While backpacking through Europe sounds great, in reality I do not know when I’d actually have a month worth of time to just go or the money. Furthermore, I want to go now.
When you’re already living in Europe, a weekend trip to Portugal, Morocco, France, the UK, etc. is not too shabby. It’s also pretty inexpensive. I’m excited to see where my travels take me. If anyone has any tips or a couch, feel free to let me know!
3. To relax and work less
My job next year only requires me to work 12 hours a week. On top of that, many people teach private English lessons for extra money. All together, I doubt I’ll break a 30-hour work week. I’m so ready. We work too much in the United States. Our culture focuses on careers too much and I often question why.
4. To eat and drink
Spain is a wine country and the food is amazing.
5. To really, truly speak fluent Spanish
You know it’s hilarious, really. At times I do start thinking “oh, maybe I should go to grad school. Maybe I should worry about my future. What job will I get if and when I return?”
Then I stop and think … I’ll be effing bilingual when I return. Like for real. Like right now bilingual appears on my business card and I have a lot of conversations in Spanish. But I mess up grammar tenses, misunderstand things, etc. at times.
However after several years of total immersion in Spain, I’ll be good. I also read that the Spanish-speaking population in the US is predicted to be around 138 million by 2050. Job security? For sure.
So in short go after your dreams. Live in a foreign country and eat the tapas, if that’s what you want!