Wednesday, December 19, 2012

After 30 Days in Spain: A Conversation with The Dizz.

Last night was our last night in Spain and the end of our first month abroad.
We thought it'd be fun to do a little Q&A with each other to document what's been going on.
And yes, I literally typed word-for-word as The Dizzle was talking.
{I don't know if you knew this, but I'm kind of an excellent typist.}



If you were to re-plan the first 30 days in Spain, what would you do differently?

Michelle: Well, I wouldn’t have chosen 30 days in Benalmadena Costa. Though cheap at the time, I don’t think it was necessary or overall cost effective. I would probably pick different cities ahead of time and book separately instead of overlapping the booking. Also, this city, at this time of year, is pretty dead and very quiet and extremely touristy. So it was hard to feel submerged in the culture when I constantly felt like we were back home in San Diego, with just less people. What about you?

Verner: If I were to do 30 days over again in Spain, I would probably stay in a larger city as my “hub,” like Barcelona. There’s more to do, more people and nightlife. From there, I would do more travel/day trips. Although, I do think it was nice to be in a place like Benalmadena at first because it seemed to be an easier transition from San Diego going to a place that wasn’t too out of my comfort zone.

What was your favorite part of being Spain?

Michelle: Actual Spain I would have to say Barcelona. It was definitely the prettiest city to be in with amazing weather and seeing that Barcelona soccer game was really exciting. But, again, it wasn’t an extreme change of culture and I often felt like I was in any other big city pretty similar to home. Going to Morocco and Gibraltar, however, was far more exciting in that it just seemed way different than any other “normal” experience for me. I loved being submerged in something that was culturally different and made me feel like I wasn’t home. And you?

Verner: My favorite place was Barcelona. And I think my favorite part of Spain, in general, was just being able to walk around, have tapas and beer, and be a part of that “culture.”

What advice would you give someone who wants to do the same thing we did? i.e. sell their things and travel for an indefinite amount of time.

Michelle: As exciting as it is to just be spontaneous and “figure things out as you go,” I’m still a big believer in planning ahead, even if just for the simple fact of saving yourself time and money. Knowing how to get places ahead of time, via metro, bus, etc, was really helpful and saved a lot of money for us. You?

Verner: Do it. 100% do it. If someone wants to see more of the world, do it. The material things that we had back home are less and less important to me. You can make as many excuses as you want, but those are self-made excuses and there is nothing stopping you. There is no job, social commitment, or priority that can’t be shifted for something bigger if you really want to. Planning ahead is important, but I think the first part of planning is making the decision. And if you’re wanting to do it, then you have to shift your mentality to make it a possibility.

What was your least favorite part of visiting Spain for 30 days?

Michelle: Other than having my phone stolen in Barcelona or the freezing cold weather we experienced in certain places, I would have to say my least favorite part of these past 30 days was just not feeling pushed enough out of my comfort zone. I think going in to this, I thought it was going to be a major culture shock and an experience that made me view the world completely different and think that life outside of California was going to be this major change. However, most of the time, I felt pretty comfortable and like I said before, just felt like we were in San Diego. So yeah…I guess I just wanted to feel more out of my element like the day in Morocco or Gibraltar.

Verner: Maybe the shift will happen when we get back.

Michelle: Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking too. What was your least favorite?

Verner: Spending half of it with a mustache. {laughs} Uh, I guess I have the same feeling in that it would be more of a culture shock, but I guess being in Benalmadena, where it’s very touristy, they cater to English-speaking people pretty easily. So yeah, I don’t feel as “out of my element” either. But Spain is awesome. It can feel very vacation-y, but Spain is definitely not the worst place in the world.

What is the thing you miss the most from back home?

Michelle: Family and friends. Hands down. I definitely don’t miss my job. I can’t remember half of the things I sold or gave away, so I don’t miss that. But yeah, having the access to talk and see my family and friends whenever I want. That’s something you realize is easy to take for granted when you’re halfway across the world. What about you?

Verner: I guess since my family is kind of spread around anyway, I miss them, but I probably interact with them a little bit more now than I did before, via email and Skype. But I guess the thing that I “miss,” it sounds weird, but routine.

Michelle: Yes, definitely that too. I miss having our little routine that we had set up for ourselves.

Verner: I like the fact that we’re able to kind of create our own routine from scratch now and fill our routine with exactly what we want and we totally erased a lot of the things that we realized that we don’t want, but I’m looking forward to, if and when we settle down somewhere, having that routine. It was comforting. But, on the other hand, I guess that is a part of travel.:To get out of some sort of comfort zone.

Michelle: Fo sho.

What are you looking forward to for the next 30 days?

Michelle: I’m really excited for Italy because I feel like visually it’ll be a lot more exciting. We’ll get to see more historical landmarks that I feel will be a bigger impact on us. Plus, we’re about to go 20 days without a central “hub.” So that will be an experience itself moving from city to city every couple of days. What about you?

Verner: I’m really interested in seeing Rome. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Florence too, so I’m excited about that. And Italy is a place I never thought I would see so I’m really excited and happy to know that I’m actually going to see it. So it seems a little surreal. I guess personally speaking, I’m looking forward to more growth and to see what new thoughts pop into my head about the world and see how my answers might change from these past 30 days on what I miss and what I think is important and all that good stuff.

Michelle: Totes.


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  1. I think you guys are going to love Italy!

  2. Hope you enjoy Italy!! That is definitely number 1 on my "If I could go anywhere in the world.." list. Can't wait to see pics!

  3. I love this conversation, the whole discussion, and I'm so excited to see where your conversation will lead to next! :)

  4. Being the first Christmas without aweful. That's what I don't like the most about your travels. We'll survive, but please don't let it happen again!!!

  5. This was fun :) Yay for one month abroad gurl!

  6. Can't believe it has been one month already! So jealous of your traveling life!

  7. Love this!! And I think even though you didn't feel out of your element while you guys were in your first destination the fact that you sold all of your stuff and aren't even missing it is HUGE!! That in itself is an accomplishment!

  8. loved this. totally know all these feelings. enjoy italy!

  9. Loved this and agree with it! Id say Germany was a crazy easy transition, apart from no one really speaking English, we are in a town that is pretty much like a huge downtown. Tons of young people, shopping, bars, clubs, parks, etc. So we do a ton of the stuff we used to do back home, just differently. I love that it was easy however, thats because we live here. If I was vacationing, I would totally agree and would want to have a huge culture shock for sure.

  10. Italy is amazing - Rome is simply beautiful. Enjoy.

  11. ahhh i loved barcelona too! but agreed it's not very culture shock-y. i loved florence as well! ate so so much gelato. not sure if your whole europe time is mapped out, but one of my other favorite places was mykonos, greece - so so beautiful there, maybe check it out!

  12. i can't wait to see what you do in italy. i'm excited for you! ps eat pizza and gelato for me. :)

  13. I like these responses! You know, it was weird how traveling to different parts of the world, I thought it would be SO different from home and that I'd be far out of my comfort zone. But... what you learn after a while is that any place can become familiar, and that people worldwide are not so different from one another. Maybe the creature comforts or familiar places like Target and Taco Bell aren't there, but a lot of things are surprisingly comfortable and familiar! I'd say for your first big trip abroad, it's almost better to NOT be thrown way out of your comfy zone immediately. Imagine going to a remote part of Africa where electricity and clean water were inaccessible? Yikes! I liked this post Michelle! Good thinking!

  14. Lucky little love birds!! You two are just too cute! and did I mention LUCKY!! lol I Cant wait to read all about Italy!

  15. Already 30 days?! What fun lessons you're learning and experiencing! Quite interesting that you both wanted to be pushed MORE out of your comfort zone. But believe me, it will be shocking to go back to the states after all this is said and done! Can't wait to hear the interview after the next 30 days!

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