Six months ago I quit my job, left my house and country and moved with my husband and our two teenagers to a little village by the sea in Spain. During this time our kids have attended a british school while my husband and I gradually slowed down from our (work) life in Sweden. This is my story about what has happened, what I’ve learned and what’s next.
What has happened
Being a food lover and suddenly finding myself living in Spain you might understand that I have dived into liters of sangria, countless pans of paella and tons of tapas. I also had a crazy backlog on hours of sleep which is why, after buying a top mattress for my rock-hard bed (how do people sleep in this country?), I have slept and slept, and then slept some more. The area where I live has great sightseeing so my family and I drove into the spanish mountains, saw waterfalls, tiny old villages and endless beaches. Our rental home has a view of the mountains and the sea from the living room and balcony so just being at home is an amazing experience in itself as well. Round the corner from this house lies Serra Gelada, a breathtakingly beautiful nature reserve which trails I have walked almost every day. And of course not to forget: books. I’ve read piles of them which has been absolutely wonderful!
All this eating, sleeping, walking, reading and not-working slowly transformed me. It took a while but gradually I could feel more clarity inside myself, like a cloud lifting from my head. And as soon as that happened I started to write, which then resulted in this blog. I can’t begin to describe how big this was (and still is) for me!
Three months into my timeout I also traveled to Italy to start an education to learn the art of working with people. I chose to do this because, just as I loved writing when I was a kid, I also intuitively felt that I have the potential to be a good therapist. However I realized that in order to become a good one, it’s preferable if you first have your own **** pretty much together so that took me on an intensive five-year track of deep inner work and personal development. This inner work has not always followed what society would call a traditional path but the effects of this way of working with people have proven to be extremely deep, positive and transformational for me. This is why I chose to follow a similar path for my education which will result in an accreditation allowing me to give sessions to people as a Holistic Counselor.
What I’ve learned
I’ve learned so much during my time in Spain, it’s a bit difficult to choose only a few things. My timeout has been an even more amazing experience than I ever could have imagined! Here are some insights I will take with me from this adventure:
Slowing down = facing yourself on a new level (which is not always a walk in the park)
Before I moved to Spain I had this (naive?) hope that I would be filled with joy, like pretty much all the time. I mean: no work for half a year, such bliss! Right? Well, this turned out to be not quite as easy as I thought. The voice of my mind, this critical and judging voice whom I call Lennart, has been in my way a lot. I have also experienced times where I felt really low despite living in this small version of paradise on earth. Slowing down for real for an extensive period of time has forced me to face myself and my issues on a deep level and that has not always been so easy. But I have chosen to meet whatever came up heads on by practising awareness and not giving into the temptation of escaping. This has been immensely rewarding!
Living here and now is key
Because of wise people like Eckhart Tolle and practises such as mindfulness and meditation the concept of living in the present moment is gaining popularity. It seems to me that it should be such a simple thing for us human beings, to just be and live here and now, right? But it really isn’t, as you might have noticed as well. How long time for example can you be with what is and just observe, before you feel the need to grab a mobile phone or turn on the TV? Taking a timeout from your regular (work)life and moving to another country really challenges you in your ability to live here and now, believe me. During these six months in Spain I have felt on a deep level how vital it is for me to live in the now instead of either in the past or the future in my head most of the time. It’s something I am determined to continue practising for the rest of my life!
A lot more than you think really is possible
You wouldn’t believe how many people told me they had the exact same wish, when I told them that I was quitting my job and moving abroad for a while. But they also added: it’s not possible for me. Or: I will never dare to do that. Or: I like feeling secure too much. People, believe me: So Much More is possible than you think! And before you bite my head off: I do understand that I am extremely privileged in my life. To have my health and to be able to save the necessary money, to name a few of these privileges. But still I believe that we are capable of pretty much anything if we are courageous, focus and follow our true path in life. Check out Elon Musk for example, sending cars into space and stuff. He inspires me tremendously! By moving to Spain I did something that scared me but I took a conscious decision to jump off this proverbial cliff anyway. Life really is a lot about trust and letting go. The insights that I am not stuck, neither geographically or in life, and that I can always move are ones that I’m incredibly grateful for!
So, to quote my favourite TV series: what’s next? That’s a good question. I’m moving back to Sweden soon and will find myself without a job. As my savings are pretty much depleted by now I will therefore first and foremost focus on finding work again. I’m open to many suggestions with a base in Stockholm so if you would like to work with me or have a tip, check out my LinkedIn profile and please contact me!
As I wrote above, as soon as I’m finished with my education I will also offer people counseling sessions. This really will be a dream come true for me because it feels strongly as part of my purpose in life. And talking about dreams: if there happens to be someone out there who would like to pay me to write, that’d really be amazing as well…
So there you have it: I will combine my profession in the field of marketing & communication with a lot of new things that fit me, feel exciting but above all: feel right. I deeply feel that this is the natural next step for me to take in life and I’m convinced that I wouldn’t have been in this position, with this much clarity, without my timeout in Spain. A new path has truly emerged in my life and I’m already now looking forward to sharing the next steps with you!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post as much as I have enjoyed writing it. As always: feel free to leave a comment! I’m really happy to hear from you. I will end this post with some parts of the poem called Do it real by Jeff Foster because his words beautifully capture the way I feel about my timeout in Spain, so here goes:
Say no if you mean no.
Say yes if you mean yes.
Stop trying to do it right.
Do it real instead.
Speak your truth without apology.
Let your heart break.
Let your certainties crumble.
Be a blubbering mess on the ground of love.
You will lose ‘safety’
but you will feel
Photo: me (taken at Blush, one of my favourite cafés by the beach)