In my previous article One Way Ticket To Europe, I was telling you about a new adventure and trying a nomad life for the next couple of months. As you can read from the title, things have turned out much differently than I anticipated and in quite a short period of time, forcing me to go with the flow and leave the updates and explanations for later.
So, how did I get from Eurotrip to moving back to Barcelona when it wasn’t at all in the plan?
Moving back to Barcelona was always in the back of my head. I knew that at some point I would it make it my home again…it is just that I wanted to explore other destinations before settling once more in this magic city. After resigning from Emirates in the summer of 2013, I tried several times to come back to Spain and applied online to different jobs while being in Romania, but it simply didn’t work out because Spanish people are old-fashioned when it comes to recruiting candidates (phone instead of email, face to face interviews, etc). Unfortunately I didn’t have enough money saved to just buy a one way ticket and figure things out while there, so the only option was to try from distance.
In the past two and a half years, I pursued hundreds of ideas, researched numerous destinations and job opportunities in order to find the one which aligns best with the new me and the lifestyle I want to have. I found a couple of them and they liked me too but visa problems appeared and I had to let them go. Last autumn, when I was totally lost and upset with the visa failures, I received an email with an invitation to a group interview in London for an European Tour Guide position with Busabout. I didn’t think twice and I went, it was either that or nothing. I guess my enthusiasm conquered them and a few days after I was invited to join the 7-weeks training trip starting in late March 2016. But before that, we had a big list to research (14 countries, 46 cities) and about three months ahead of us to finish them all.
The following months passed really quickly with the amounts of research I had to do. While filling the templates and sharing information with my future colleagues on our common Facebook group, I was getting really excited about the life that was expecting me in 2016…lots of travel, new and old destinations, experiencing a nomad life, meeting new people, talking at a microphone in front of a full coach and getting people excited about what they are about to see. It was mind-blowing! It meant pushing my boundaries once more and also getting paid to talk about traveling.
Fast forward until March. I was slowly starting to say goodbyes to the few people who knew what I was up to. I felt ready to take this new step…physically, mentally and emotionally. Finally the time had come to fly away from the nest and show everyone what I was capable of. I packed my bags and left to the airport to join the training trip in Paris and start living out of a suitcase, not before stopping for a few days in Belgium to see some friends and also passing through Bruxelles-Midi station just a few minutes after the bombings in Zaventem airport and the start of the madness all over the country. I felt so blessed to have escaped safe and sound!
On March 23rd, we started the Eurotrip adventure with lots of energy and enthusiasm. A group of 47 people from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, South Africa, Netherlands, France, Croatia or Romania who were finally meeting each other face to face after a few weeks/months of communicating via social media. We spent the first few days roaming around Paris, exercising our first speeches, learning admin stuff and also things about each other. As expected, free time and rest were limited and they became even more limited once we hit the road in the big blue coaches 5 or 6 days later and passed through Switzerland, Italy and France in just 3 days. We all knew what we have signed up for, maybe some of us (especially the ones who traveled with Busabout before or had friends as tour guides with them) knew it better than others. I, for instance, haven’t even heard about the company until last summer when I somehow found it online and liked the concept of their product. After a couple of nights with not more than 4-5 hours of sleep and days with rushing around the cities to check attractions, fact find information, finish up and practice our speeches, I was stressed and exhausted. I felt I didn’t have enough time to breathe or to enjoy all those places. I wasn’t able to picture myself in the same rhythm for another 5-6 weeks, so I started thinking and asking questions to myself. The irony was that at the same time I was also enjoying this new adventure and the company of these amazing bunch of people with whom I bonded so quickly, but something felt wrong.
If I was to choose only one important thing that I learned in the last few years, I would definitely choose to always listen to my heart in spite of all rational thoughts. You can also call it a sixth sense or an instinct or a gut…it never failed me or made me regret my decisions, that is why I don’t ignore it. As we were approaching Spain, I realized that it was time to make a call…either to keep going or to stop, but if I were to stop I should do it while we are still in Spain. My mind was so confused and my emotions so messed up! Barcelona was the first city we arrived in and it immediately felt like I came back to the nest to heal my wounds. Two nights and one full day in the city gave me the necessary strength and energy to say that I want to continue this adventure. The road from Barcelona to Valencia was different though. Once we stepped foot outside my favorite city, I started missing it so much and I knew I want to go back, so on the 2nd of April after 2 weeks of training trip, I decided to stop. Almost instantly I felt relieved, like a heavy stone was removed from my heart, and in that moment I was sure I made the right decision. I packed everything and went to spend a few days with some friends I had in Valencia until I figured out my next move.
I must say I have never had such a feeling. It simply didn’t matter anymore that I didn’t have a clear plan for the future or the money in my pocket were limited. You can call me crazy or unconscious, but I somehow knew that things will work out for me in Barcelona.
I guess sometimes the best thing we can do is close our eyes, hope for the best and jump…and this is what I did when I took that bus from Valencia towards Barcelona on the 7th of April with all my life stuffed in a red suitcase and a blue backpack.
What happened after that? Oh, many things…but that is another story waiting to be told. 😉