March 25 2017
I suppose I’ll go ahead and breach that subject of money and how I budget. An interesting topic at best, because when I initially got here, I very much doubted I would be able to survive.
Now, that being said, living in Spain is much, much less expensive than living in Northern Virginia. But I suppose that goes without saying, as there are a lot of places that are cheaper to live than Northern Virginia.
But it occurred to me the other day as I viewed my bank account, that I’m actually doing alright. Which is pretty cool.
It probably helps that these past three months have been quiet ones. Illness, winter, and trying to figure out life tends to fill the gaps, though I will admit to being frustrated with myself for lack of planning adventures. But, alas, I digress.
Side story on this one. The other day, I had a private lesson for the first time. Halfway through, we begin to discuss the gym and if I like to workout (do I?) In the sweetest fashion, she explains that she has a class she takes and Saturdays they allow you to bring a guest, and do I want to join. Only in Spain would a stranger so sweetly offer such a thing. It’s one of those things that continually catches me off guard. Because there are rude people in every country, but here in Spain I’m constantly taken back by the hospitality and random offers of kindness. From giving out a better glass of wine, to free food as the bar is closing, to offers for fun weekend trips, to free tag-along gym classes. It’s disarmingly wonderful.
Top Websites I Use for Cheap Travel
Here are some websites I use pretty much every week for planning cheap travel. Skyscanner.com, momondo.com, hostelworld.com, hostels.com, airbnb.com, pinterest.com (for itinerary’s. Tons of people post per country with tips and tricks to travel there cheaply.)
**Skyscanner is one of my favorite websites. They have an amazing tool that allows you to search for flights based on the cheapest month. I usually set my departure from Madrid and select ‘Flexible’ as my destination, and cheapest month. It gives you a list of places from cheapest to most expensive. I cannot tell you how much this has helped me choose which places I visit and when.
Letting it all go.
Before I moved to Spain, I worried about money all the time, and I was making more. What’s shocking is that now it seems so much less important. I’m not saying my financial decisions are feasible for the rest of my life. (You need savings at some point…) but for right now my paycheck is what it is, and I’ve never felt richer for being so poor. Here things that mattered back home seem less important. I’ve cut things out of my life that brought me happiness back home in exchange for other things that bring me happiness here. And in an even stranger way, I’ve learned how little you need to be happy.
Because you don’t need a lot.
I equate this idea to a week of travel. You pack your bag and do the entire journey- bus, airport, walking to your hostel. You’re back is killing you by the time you get there because you brought along about ten pounds worth of stuff you really don’t need. And you realize that as soon as the pain sets in. You didn’t need those extra four shirts. Or that set of shoes. Life makes us anticipate the things we might need. And yah, maybe sometimes you do need those extra things, but in the long run, they are just extra weight to carry on your shoulders.
I’ll be keeping all these things in mind as I make my way to Portugal this coming weekend. (Did you know? Lisbon/Portugal is one of the cheapest places to explore in Europe and the country offers so much- castles, history, beaches, charming medieval towns, and amazing food.) Me and my selfie-stick are pretty excited.
Spain will be joining the rest of the world in Daylight Savings this weekend and is celebrating the first week of Spring by raining. Happy Saturday!