Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country. Anais Nin
The desire to create a meaningful, cultural experience for our family inspired us to make a seemingly unusual plan: to pull up our roots and embark on a one-year Spanish adventure. When doubts emerged about how we could achieve this dream or whether we may regret taking the risk, we kept coming back to our vision and desire to experience something different as a family; to open our perspective to another way of living and being. Our Year in Spain turned out to be more than we had hoped it would be. Each of us had our struggles and achievements, we experienced excitement, adventure and learned new ways of seeing. Through each stage, the four of us were bonded together as a unit with no extended family to lean on. As daunting as that might seem, living in this way was incredibly liberating and rewarding.
Documenting the experience via this blog became a personal reflection of our hopes, expectations and plans in the lead up to and during the year. It also served as a place to share our repatriation experience, which was far more significant than we had anticipated. We learnt all about reverse culture shock during that period. We never imagined so many people would actually read our story and feel inspired to act on their own dreams. Since we returned to Australia, I have come to know many wonderful families from all over the world who have sought my counsel for their year in Spain. It feels like a privilege to help them and it is my genuine passion.
By living our own dream we have inspired others and discovered a niche to help them create their family experience. I clearly recall, as the plane approached Sydney after our year away, my husband and I turned to each other and said: “What’s next? We’ve lived this great experience but what do we do with it now?” I wasn’t sure, however one thing was clear: I wanted to somehow remain connected to Spain and Europe despite the enormous tyranny of distance that exists between Australia and everywhere.
Little did I know that my hopes would become a reality. As the winter months ambled along, I moped and moaned about the return to normal life after a year of adventure, yet the emails kept arriving in my inbox from people who had read my blog and wanted advice on how they too could live in Spain for a year…..and so I decided to create Your Year in Spain – a tailored service to help families move to Spain. I have since worked with many families, and while they say that my story has inspired them, it is they who now inspire me. They inspire me with their openness, sense of adventure and appreciation. It has been an absolute joy to help each family create their own year in Spain, to understand their vision and hopes and to share what I know. They confirm to me that when you live your dreams, the universe works to break down walls.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” Rumi
By working with so many wonderful and adventurous families (from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK), our own experience remains alive. I have met many like-minded people and also maintain regular contact with people in Spain who will welcome these families when they arrive. It has helped me to stay in touch with what it means to step away from the day to day, do something different, and grow as a family.
What has resulted from this is that in six weeks I will return to Spain to see my dear Spanish friends and expand on what Your Year in Spain offers. I am really looking forward to reconnecting face to face with the first group of families I helped move to Spain whose year is coming to an end in July. I am also excited to hear their stories. It has been 18 months since we first began brainstorming their dreams. These are families whose experiences this past year I have thoroughly enjoyed following via facebook or their blogs. Another bonus of this trip is that I will be able to greet some of the new families I have worked with who will be arriving in Spain this European summer. To think that all the work they have done to obtain visas, find homes to rent, enrol children in school and much more, will result in the start of their own journeys. I am so excited for them.
When you really live your dream and share it genuinely…inspiration abounds. It is like a boomerang. In sending my story out to the world, wonderful people have been inspired to embark on their journey and in turn they have inspired me to keep sharing my knowledge and experience. I love that this new business organically found me and I am grateful for the unknown wonders that lurk just around the corner…