Now this is a story all about how…
Okay, my life certainly is not flipped turned up-side down (yet?) but I am going to tell you a short (as possible) but sweet story about how this recent Euro-traveling excursion came about. It will likely answer a lot of questions that people may have about why I am in Europe, and Spain at the moment, and more specifically, why I will be here for the next 3 months (if not more).
Around Christmas time last year, I was down and confused about where to turn in life, where to go. That same old story we twenty-somethings go through on what seems like a daily basis to be honest. But this particular day was one of the bad ones. The deep, life-questioning, depressing ones. It dawned on me that I not only love travel and am very experienced in it, but maybe it is an actual passion. Something that I want to do as a job! Or at the very least, a regular hobby and not just once a year on my birthday and holidays to my family’s home. That night, I started googling like crazy “how to travel for free” and “programs for traveling the world” determined to find my life’s mission at the end of a search bar. That didn’t exactly happen but I did stumble upon many interesting ways to travel that I did not think about, one of which was being an Au Pair; basically a nanny in another country for any of those unfamiliar with the term.
Hmmm, I thought. Kids? I don’t know… But I signed up on one of the random sites I found anyway and continued signing up on other sites promising world travels and free adventures (working on farms, at wineries, teaching english-there are a lot of unique options!). Night passed, morning came and while I still felt down the next day life had to go on. Honestly, I forgot that I even signed up on the Au Pair site until about two days later when I started getting multiple e-mail notifications saying I had messages at the website. I logged on to find that about 10 families had sent “applications” wanting to get to know me and tell me about their family and needs with regards to an Au Pair. I was surprised as I wasn’t even sure if that site was a scam (it didn’t cost but it just seemed a little too straight-forward for my comfort). But no, real families from all around the world were contacting me, saying they liked my profile and they wanted to know my availability. Over the next week or so, I must have had over two dozen applications!
I started speaking with these families and even was in serious talks with a family in Italy. I Skyped them, they met my parents via Skype, we exchanged multiple e-mails, had agreed on dates and payment terms. But after our last Skype call they decided that it did not feel like the perfect fit for them. I was honestly relieved because everything had moved so fast! It went from me signing up on the Au Pair website in December to communicating with only ONE family by the first week in January and busting my a** at multiple waitress and writing gigs to save money to be in Italy by March. It was a lot and I did not feel I would be financially stable to be honest, so when they decided that it was a no-go I was pretty happy.
I decided to lay off the Au Pair site after that, to put it in the back of my mind, and keep working my multiple gigs to save money, cut down on loans and debt, and decided maybe in the future I could look into working with another family when finances were better.
Fast-forward to this October. One of the families I had very briefly interacted with last year (before Italian family swooped in and said they wanted to hire me) contacted me. The mother, Olga, said she realized I was still on the site, that they were looking for an Au Pair and I was one of their favorites from last year but since timing did not work out she wanted to know if it could work now. I remembered this family from Spain well! They were also one of my favorites; The kids, 9 and 12, were great ages (I don’t think I could sustain working with toddlers for an extended period of time) and the daughter wants to be a fashion designer living in NYC when she is older. It felt like a great fit! But at that time, they needed someone by January (mind you, I signed up on the site in December) and that was in no way feasible for me.
We began to talk and I told her, very honestly, that I was not pursuing Au Pair roles at this time but would be happy to explore and talk to them anyway. I explained that since I had not been planning for this, I had not been saving separately to travel to Europe and did not know if I could invest the money to cover rent in my apartment for the time I would be away. Olga completely understood and I assured her I would let her know within a few days whether I could do it or not (this was on a Friday AM via e-mail). I was going to take those few days to really debate, calculate, pray and see if it was time to just try this- which I had already been doing by the way.
The same Friday that I e-mailed her explaining, I had already gone from 75% yes to 50/50 because I did not feel like it was financially wise to pay for my apartment AND travel and live in Europe for a couple of months. See, I would have loved to just Air B’n’B my place in NYC but I have a ton of clothes, shoes, and accessories (being I work in fashion and blog), on top of art and random knickknacks that would not be an easy job to pack up and store. It seemed like a lot of work for just two months away, plus the uncertainty of whether any renter would try to claim squatters rights when I returned was enough for me to decide against renting the room out in itself. I said to myself, if by chance I have a close friend that needs a place, then I will feel like I can, and should, definitely go.
What do you know? A couple of hours after I sent Olga the e-mail explaining my financial situation, a dear friend of mine contacted me in frustration because his roommate had gotten into an argument with his landlord and they were getting kicked out. They had to be out by the end of October. Olga needed an Au Pair in Spain by the first week in November! My friend knew my Au Pair predicament and I offered him my room for rent to which he agreed, not feeling confident that he could find a new apartment within 2 weeks (we were already mid-October). My heart lifted.
In that moment, I knew in my heart without a doubt that it meant it was time to accept this position and go and see what unfolds for me in Europe.
I told Olga the good news ASAP and hustled like crazy for the next three weeks (set to leave Nov. 9) picking up extra shifts and many doubles at my serving gig, writing as many articles as possible, selling old clothes on apps and at the thrift store. I was set on going, my flight was booked and now it was just time to prepare. I decided that I would stay with the family for 6 weeks (their minimum request), then travel various places in Europe continuing to create content for my blog. And here I am. Just beginning.
And yea, I said this would be short but I tried! =p
Just one last note: one of my goals while I am here is to build my follower base. I am asking everyone to follow my blog- all it takes is entering an e-mail. Then, please just ask one friend (or as many as you would like) to do the same. It’s that simple!
I can’t wait to share this journey with you all. Thank you for being a part of it with me already.