February 13, 2018 0 Comments Europe, Nomad Life

I Am Not A City Girl: Figuring Out What I Like When I Travel

I'm Not a City Girl

November 2, 2017…

I have a motto (one of many)… “Wake up excited to start each day.” Today, I didn’t abide by that motto because we were headed to Barcelona. I know what you are thinking, Who wouldn’t be excited to see Barcelona? 

Well, me. 

One of the best things about traveling so much is that you get really good at knowing what you like and what you don’t like. 

We’ve been to a lot of different places in the last few years.  Canada, Washington, Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Utah, Oregon, Nicaragua, 13 countries in Europe, and Idaho…I’m starting to know exactly what I want in my travel…nature, sports, open spaces, amazing foods from good sources, a nice kitchen to prepare big meals, good affordable wine, and what I don’t want… crowds, tourist attractions, shopping.

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

In my head, I wasn’t going to get any of what I wanted in Barcelona. But I also believe in living outside your comfort zone and going into a big city does exactly that for me. Not that I’m scared or overwhelmed per se in a city, it’s just too claustrophobic for me and usually doesn’t have my adrenaline filled activities.

So why go into cities at all? Well, I’m still curious

I want the experience even if it’s not fun. And I really do want to see cool historic building like Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Parc Guel, Casa Batllo, and Arc de Triunfo.  I also want to know what those cities look, feel, and smell like. (I’d be lying if I told you it doesn’t smell like pee!)

I can’t exactly remember why I booked us four nights in Barcelona because usually, my idea of stepping out of my comfort zone and into a city is a one-day affair, not three days. 

La Rambla, Barcelona

Even when I’m out of the cities, I find myself getting pickier and pickier about what I’m looking for out of my travels. My expectations are rising and in the end, that can set me up for frustration. In my book, The Road Less Traveled, I talk (extensively) about how Victor has no expectations about travel and in doing so, he is never disappointed. However, he’s not exactly excited to jump out of bed either. Not that I’m saying it’s wrong, it just is. I’m a rollercoaster of emotions. He’s consistent and dependable. Although, with how much we’ve traveled in the last three years, he’s starting to have an opinion about what he wants too, which is great!  We are a good match. 

This last six-week road trip through Spain, France, and Catalunya really opened the eyes of all our family into what we want from our travels and how we can achieve a little bit of what everyone wants/needs. 

La Boqueria, Barcelona

La Boqueria, Barcelona

Gabi and I have always been the driving force behind our lifestyle. That’s not to say the others don’t love it. They just don’t want to step up and choose where to go and what to do. (Good thing- you can’t have two captains of a boat!)

This trip was a huge experiment for us. We wanted to feel out a lot of scenarios. The big difference in this trip was that we had booked Airbnb’s for the entire six weeks. If you don’t know, we’ve been living in our RV for 3 years, except for the 6 months in Europe last year where we lived out of a tent for 52 days.  

For these 6 weeks, we had 9 different houses/apartments along the way. Each place we stayed in was so different and so educational in figuring out what and where we are happy. I make my kids do math and read every day because I feel it’s important, but knowing what you like and where you feel happy is equally important. 

Restaurant on La Rambla de Catalunya, Barcelona
Calle de Petritxol, Barcelona
Cathedral of Barcelona
Casa Mila, Barcelona

After all, what if you spend your entire life getting straight A’s and a full college scholarship only to realize you’d rather spend your days on a rock wall or trail and need very little stuff to be happy?! (Yep, that’s me.)

Even though I’m not a city girl, we had a great time in Barcelona, but the trip we are planning for next year will be spent in the Pyrenees and Hossegor, not in Barcelona. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to Barcelona. Most of my friends and family should visit Barcelona, it’s amazing! 

La Rambla de Catalunya, Barcelona

La Rambla de Catalunya, Barcelona

The point here is to know what makes you excited to jump out of bed and own what you like. 

With a family as large as ours, you can’t make everyone happy. I ask my kids every day what they want, what makes them happy, what do they want to work towards. I really want to give them the ability to chase their dreams, but I want their dream to be original. To be theirs. To not be the status quo. 

I want them to fully understand the ramifications of their decisions and be willing to stand behind them because they can see a result that others may not. 

Parc Guell, Barcelona
Parc Guell, Barcelona
Parc Guell, Barcelona

Sitting in a small ass apartment in Barcelona, happy that we found really good food, with the desire to return to Europe and go to the places that bring us the most joy, we revel in the journey we are on. The first world problems of a digital nomad. The things many people never stop to question. The stupid things we’ve done and the unrewarding places we’ve been. 

If I could be thankful for only one thing, it’s that I know exactly what I don’t like.  Luckily, I have hundreds of things to be thankful for.

If cities are your thing, great!  There are plenty of them to visit and getting to them is fairly easy.  But if you have a two-week vacation and aren’t sure where to go, don’t just book a ticket to Paris or Rome just because that’s what everyone else does.  Go where your soul will feel free and rejuvenated.  Where your lungs expand and your shoulders drop.  Find the place where life just makes sense.

Arc du Triunfo, Barcelona

Arc du Triunfo, Barcelona

Comment below if you love traveling to big cities or if you’re more of the outdoorsy type (both are greta by the way)!


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