a wandering woman writes

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Starting from Scratch

Es que no sé dónde empezar.

I say that a lot, don't I? Even here in the blog. I don't know where to start.

I have a lot I'd love to write about my trip back to the States, because I can't possibly tell you what a brutally accurate mirror a trip back home is. Ouch. And I have lots I'd love to write about my landing back in Spain, and, well, my now long ago stay in Cazalla de la Sierra at Christmas - because you all just never know when you might need a night or a week in a restored monastery with wonderful art and fabulous food, and a singing Mexican sculptor who'd be happy to teach you to throw a pot, or share a bowl of cocido.

But tonight let me try to dive back in here with a turbo answer to the (very nice) emails landing in the wandering-woman account asking me what's up.

Yes, I am staying in Spain!

My trip back to the States was a work trip, a project for a friend and client who I worked with when she launched her now very successful business in 2002, before I headed back to Chicago, and then here to Salamanca. I snuck in two absolutely spectacular, no really, no doubt about it, absolutely spectacular visits in Chicago where I caught up, finally really caught up, with three of my favorite humans and my favorite intersection, Wacker and Michigan. But the trip was work. Work that worked out well: I'm back with ongoing consulting work for the company in California, and a small retainer that covers my Salamanca rent and basic expenses.

Whew. So, on to the hard part. When I booked my trip to California, I agreed to work one final month - February - before leaving my company here in Salamanca. I've survived all the counteroffers and midnight legs-quivering doubts - and dodged them all successfully, if not gracefully.

So, much to the shock and utter disdain of my fellow Salamantinos, who assure me nobody in Spain would ever quit a job AND turn down a supposedly fatter counteroffer in Madrid, I am leaping into midair to see what I might find there. Personally, I expect a few white storks carrying brilliant business ideas, but we'll see.

The strange part is that while I can tell you how I plan to start - with the California work, marketing and PR freelance work for the company I am leaving, and whatever other freelance work turns up from the seeds I'm planting, long term I haven't got a clue where I'm headed, professionally. What I do have is a notebook full of good ideas, a houseful of people dying to help me, work with me or cheer me on and an unresolvable problem. The problem? I'm out of patience. I want to work when I want, I want to live to the values I claim, I want to put purpose back into what I do with my time, and I want to make space for my many, shall we say, less profitable? passions. The piano's tired of being ignored. Never mind the dusty new camera. A writing course has left me spouting poetry, and while I join you in your scepticism about my writing financing anybody's retirement, I just need to keep at it. I just need to. Blame beautiful Salamanca. Finally, I travelled here to live -well, partly because I love to travel. And I intend to.

The shocking part, of course, is that I write a killer business plan. For other people. For me, I'm just going to start walking and see what happens.

See, it's another one of those little voices, like the one that told me I wanted to move to Spain. I have long said I want to see what would happen if I just tried to build the life I see in my head (ok, it's a foggy scene, admittedly, but it's there!) and just do something I love to do, and do it my way.

So here's to small city Spain's work to live lifestyle, and my beloved Salamanca's sweet cost of living.....and the growing Spanish economy. All those lovely little Spanish firms wanting to promote themselves in English....May they all combine to get me started walking.

And here's to little voices.



  • Ha! I had a dream last night that I lost everything. EVERYTHING. Had not even one dollar on me and I had to start walking.
    Okay, my sister, let's see where the road goes...
    BTW, I am joining you today in that fine tradition of not watching the superbowl.

    By Blogger Laura Young, at 1:17 AM  

  • Haha, yeh, well your dream is pretty darn close to my reality. I've been reading want-ads again. It's a compulsion, I think. I made myself put them away, then went off into a miserable lament about having my own house again, knowing darn well if something doesn't spark I'll never have one. Then there's that delightful image of the 60 some-odd Erin less than prepared for her own old age ...sound familiar?

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 7:42 AM  

  • Forgot to add:
    So then I decided something would spark and went out for pinchos.

    All better.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:16 AM  

  • I'm allways surprised by the power of your will to succeed and change your life. You try to try new things, moving from one place to another, from one job to the next one.

    I, on the other hand, follow the very veritable legion of spaniards that wait for their salary and benefits to grow in the form of "trienios", and expect a secure payment at the end of the month... I envy you, from my confort, but I don't think I would like to change.


    PS Wellcome!

    By Anonymous Alex, at 9:56 AM  

  • I learned the hard way that life is not a dress rehearsal, and that you should really do what you want. My Life with Gee taught me that life is far too short to spend any time being unhappy, or doing work that doesn't allow you to live your life.

    I wish you luck, and I believe that it will all work out for the best.

    By Anonymous Dan, at 3:36 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger chriswah, at 4:35 PM  

  • I belong to this amount of spaniard legion, but I have learnt from WW a thing, to make a list of objetives. I check it up and I feel very happy when I cross one of them.

    By Blogger Nomadita, at 7:11 PM  

  • Alex, I just learned what trienios were this week, that's funny, when one of the guys who works for me came to me with a passionate complaint that he hadn´t received the adequate trienio in his check (and found himself facing my blank, "Ok, José, I can fix that, but first tell me what the h* a trienio is" face.) When I was your age, jejeje, spoken like the wise old wanderer I am, jejeje, I had worked for the same company happily for 7 years and watched American "trienios" - stock options (and vacation time I never took) grow and grow. I think I´ve finally figured out what you just said about me ---that right now I´m all about open waters.

    But Nomadita! Ouch! Here I'm trying so hard to be spontaneous and Spanish, and you tell me you've learned to list objectives!!!!From me!! Aargh, my boring corporate counterego lives on, and you've apparently met her...but I did teach you to mix a mean Cosmo, too right?

    Dan, I've really wanted to spend some time on your site, BTW, your story and your writing intrigue me. I will meet you there soon, I'm hope. Thanks for stopping by here and joining the conversation.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:57 PM  

  • Woopee, Here you go!
    I love that you just 'keep on keeping on' in an original way - not for the 'trienios', but for the life.
    So the thing is to notice that you've got it, now, each and everyday that you get up & make the decision to keep listening to the voices.

    Quoting you, now, "I want to work when I want, I want to live to the values I claim, I want to put purpose back into what I do with my time, and I want to make space for my many, shall we say, less profitable? passions."
    ........just keep making that one decision. And that life is here for you in the moment.
    THAT keeps repeating for me - the moment.

    And thanks for the 'modeling'. I understand your messages better now. Doubly, thanks.

    By Blogger Kate Winner, at 2:10 AM  

  • Buenas,
    Great blog! I lived in Andalucia for almost 4 years, and am now an expat living in my own country. It has been 3 years now and I can't get Spain out of my blood.

    I have to get back, but easier said than done. I was originally there with the military, but now that I am out, I am finding it almost impossible to get back, to live that is.

    Not a day goes by that my heart doesn't ache for Spain. But it seems that everyone but us Americans can immigrate to whatever country they choose.

    I am a Human Resources professional. If there is any advice you can give me, I would so much appreciate it.

    Que tenga un buen fin de semana,
    Yusuf (Pepe

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:18 PM  

  • Hi Yusuf,

    If you want, send me an email: wanderingwoman42 at hotmail.

    But I'm curious...
    what is it about Spain?

    (I have my own list, but curious about yours...

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:33 PM  

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