Next Steps: Life After Spain
“Cada uno escribe su destino con sus actos y no tienes que dejar que los demás te lo escriban .” -Spanish Proverb
I have been taking notes and making edits to this post for the past seven months. It is hard to believe that back when I was just getting settled into my second Spanish apartment I was already thinking about what to do once I leave. Alas, it is what must be done.
There was so much to consider once I decided to leave Spain and not stay another year. I decided to break the problem down based on my five-year goals and the best course to achieve those goals. Now that I have lived abroad and travelled to many countries, I know I definitely want a career where I have the option of traveling. There are so many routes to being a “digital nomad” or someone who works remotely. It allows them the freedom to live anywhere in the world as long as they have an Internet connection.
Realize What’s Important To You
With this in mind, I have ruled out some options that might work for others, but for myself, aren’t the priority. These last two years have helped me realize that as much as I miss my family and friends, I can always get in touch with them wherever I am. I can always stay close to them whenever I’m working in the USA, too. I also realized that I do love living in a vibrant city. As much of an annoyance as it is to always be surrounded by thousands of people, it is outweighed by the closeness of everything and how easy it is to connect with others.
After much consideration, I have decided to return to the USA for no more than a couple of years until I can develop my skills as a web developer. I want to be able to financially support myself without having to work at an office. I will be living near family and friends so I will have the support I need to focus on my goals.
Change Can Be Difficult
This is all to say that it is still hard to stay in the present and focus on the fact that I am still in Madrid. I’m really sad about the notion that I’ll be leaving everything around me: Spanish friends, my students, my co-teachers, my morning commute, the cafe I get lunch from a couple times a week. They will all be a memory very shortly.
am still taking Spanish lessons (with what seems like little progress) and it still feels as if it is all a waste. I am also studying web development for several hours a day to prepare for my mid- and long-term goals. However, I’ve decided to focus on the aspects of living in Spain that I thoroughly enjoy in order to make the most of my time. This means more cañas (beers) and walks around the city for the time being!
Looking to the Future
Now that I have a plan on enjoying what’s left of my time in Spain, I’ve decided to spend only an hour or two every few weeks on the actual logistics of returning to the USA. The first thing to always consider is my budget. As much as I love my life in Spain, it comes at the expense of my bank account (quite literally!). As an auxiliar I make enough to live in Madrid, but certainly not enough to hit the ground running back in California. Thankfully, I have friends that are willing to help me until I get on my feet. For most people who are moving back home, staying with family for a few months is common. It’s a good way to re-acclimate to living in USA.
As my time in Madrid comes to a close, I think of the times I’ve turned a random corner in Madrid and just had to stop and look at the beauty ahead. It does stir a mix of emotions, but I now have a plan to focus on the steps I can take after I leave Spain. This frees up mental space to live in the present and understand that life is a journey. I have made amazing connections here in Spain, whether it be with my coworkers, students, friends or the culture as a whole. My goal when I came to Spain was to figure out what mattered to me most and to not be afraid to pursue those dreams even in the face of adversity. When I look at my time in Spain from that perspective, I have achieved my goal. It’s time for the next chapter.