Lessons Learned on the Way to Barcelona

by Kelly on May 24, 2008 · 21 comments

in Inspiration. Happiness. Self Improvement,Travel. Photography


The time has come. In about 15 hours I will be getting on a plane to Barcelona, Spain. Excuse me while I let out a high pitched squeal of excitement. But I can’t believe after weeks of planning and waiting that this holiday has finally arrived.

I don’t think I talked about it at the time, but this trip really did come out of nowhere. My husband had to have some business meetings in London and Paris and when I found out I was like “You can’t go all the way to Europe for a week!” Of course what I really meant was “You can’t go to Europe without me.”

In a matter of days the decision was made and we were booked on flights. Overnight we went from talking about the minor house renovations we’re doing, to a European holiday that hadn’t even been on the agenda, but was now only 7 weeks away. It was crazy exciting, especially for a die-hard traveller like me whose pack has been hung up for the past few years while I’ve raised a son and bought a house. But for a few days there, I was back where I love to be, floating around on a warm cloud of anticipation and joy. That was until I saw the cost of the airfares on our credit card and I started going through the Spain Lonely Planet and the reality sank in that we did not have the savings to pay for an unexpected jaunt to Europe.

And so the pre-holiday tension hit. The heart said “Go, this will be worth it. You need this” while the head said, “Are you f*cking insane? You’re going to end up in piles of debt!” The struggle between the two of course led my husband and I to struggle with each other. I think the first two weeks of our trip planning were spent arguing over money as I panicked and Musicman took the opposite tack of saying “We’ll work it out.” I would look at him hopefully, sure he must have a divine answer and ask “How?” And he would look back at me blankly and then say “I don’t know.” I would then resume panicking.

The reason I’m telling you this is because there is a lot of advice out there about managing our money responsibly, living frugally, and saving for our retirement (I still can’t get my head around thinking that far ahead), and it’s good, sensible advice. But when all is said and done, there are not many of us who are happy to be sensible all the time.

Sometimes when you REALLY REALLY want something you have to take a leap of faith, commit and then work your buns off to try and make it happen


About two weeks into our planning, after another exhausting fight, we gave up. We realised that we were just struggling against something we had already made a decision on. The airfares were paid for. We WANTED TO GO and it was time to commit to doing whatever it took to make sure we not only went on the holiday, but we could enjoy ourselves and be at peace with whatever the financial consequences were once we got home. We talked about it and we knew it was likely we’d come home to more debt and some post-trip scrimping and saving to get our equilibrium back, but we acknowledged that to us it was worth it.

Let me make it clear that this is not for everyone. Musicman has a very secure and well-paid job and though I work part-time as a freelance copy writer, if I HAD TO I could teach and work a lot more hours and earn a lot more money. It’s just not how I want to spend my time while my son is still so young.

Funny enough, because we were then so focused on going to Spain and HAVING THE MONEY (rather than thinking “We don’t have the money), that much talked about friend, the Law of Attraction kicked in and things started to fall into place that supported our plans.

  • We experienced a small rise in income and will receive another larger one in the new financial year
  • Some well-paid work basically fell in my lap, increasing my projected earnings
  • We re-jigged our debts and expenses to save some money
  • Our second car died and we decided to try and live without it to save costs. This has been so successful we’re not going to replace it once we return home
  • And lastly we embraced cost cutting so much over the past 7 weeks we have saved a lot more money than we probably expected

All this means I await tomorrow with the excitement of a child at Christmas. Not only are Musicman and I fulfilling a long held dream of going to Spain, but we’re taking out son, showing him new people, a new language and another culture. And I can sleep well knowing this is a dream we MADE HAPPEN with a strong vision, faith, determination, and sacrifice.

If you always wait until you know HOW you’re going to achieve a goal before you take action, then maybe its time to shake things up. What dreams are you putting off? Where could you take a leap and do something bold in your life?

Photo1 by xip
Photo2 by no prawns

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Are Bloggers Allowed To Have A Life? - MomGrind
06.25.08 at 9:06 pm

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aaron Wakling 05.24.08 at 12:30 am

Good Blog. I will continue reading it in the future. Nice layout too.

Aaron Wakling

2 range 05.24.08 at 12:49 am

That’s great. I think that traveling opens your mind. I left Canada in 2006 with my wife to teach English in Taiwan. I went back to Quebec in January to go back to school. Now I’m in Taiwan for the summer. Traveling is great.

range’s last blog post..37 Pounds

3 Vered 05.24.08 at 1:59 am

I am SO excited for you!

You know, my husband and I went to Paris and Rome for our honeymoon. We were on a VERY tight budget, but decided to stay at nice hotels, try a 3-star Michelin restaurant and in general not to budget too much but rather enjoy. Looking back, we are so glad we did that. The cost of that trip is completely unimportant. It didn’t matter in the long run and didn’t have a significantly impact on the big picture of our finances. But the memory from that trip will last forever.

Vered’s last blog post..A Peek Into My Portfolio: 5 Great International Funds

4 Mark 05.24.08 at 2:36 am

That should be a trip of a life time. Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy. You’ve been working your butt off. Time for some me time. The “Three Amigo’s” in Spain. Go figure. We are taking a little trip too. It’s only 12 miles up the road from where we live now. But it’s a trip we should have taken a long time ago. Looking forward to pictures and stories of your trip

Mark’s last blog post..Justa moving on up!

5 Monica 05.24.08 at 2:37 am

We can spend our lives making money that we’ll never enjoy or we can make money AND make sure that we have time to enjoy it. Its a balance that I’m working on. Its hard to justify fun things (especially trips) when I’m on a tight budget. Then I get jealous when my friends up and go some somewhere fun.

I’m learning to stop pushing the fun stuff further and further out, and to enjoy them while I can :) I have the rest of my life to work, lol.

I have a “places I want to visit” list, I’m gonna have to pull it out again and start actively planning to do stuff

Monica’s last blog post..I should stop listening in on the conversations of others

6 Terence Chang 05.24.08 at 2:43 am

If you don’t do it, you will never get it.

I quit my job two years ago and went on 7 months vacation. I have learned a lot in that 7 months than my previous 30 years life.

I met many people who was struggling with their job and try to save more money on their dream. They decided to quit their job and take a long break. When they came back, they are like a new man. They start their new life and achieve their dream faster than they expect.

There are so many successful case out there. If you don’t go for it, you will never get to it.

Terence Chang’s last blog post..Start Last – Finish First – Are you the next Zappos?

7 Chris Austria 05.24.08 at 2:44 am

F**K**G AWESOME! I can totally relate because this is how my wife and I operate. When an opportunity like this happens we jump on it and throw caution in the wind, this is probably why we are tight financially on some occassions, but the things that we experience is immeasuarable. And somehow, things do work themselves out.

I’m so happy for you that I can barely contain myself.

Live Life My Friend! VIVA ESPANA! Vaya con dios me amiga!

Chris Austria’s last blog post..Raising Daughters: A Dad’s Prespective

8 Hunter Nuttall 05.24.08 at 6:08 am

My friends had the guts to just pack up and move to Japan, not knowing anyone there, not speaking a word of the language, not knowing how to work the remote control to the bathtub, etc. I have no idea how people have the courage to do things like that and just hope everything will work out. What would I do if I could take a leap and do something bold? Easy – quit the job I hate so much and focus purely on blogging and writing ebooks. But even though you’re hoping for the best, I think you have to at least be OK with the realistic expected outcome.

Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..10 Reasons Japan Is Better Than America

9 Roz Mitchell 05.24.08 at 8:27 am

I woke up this morning thinking wow my daughter and son in law and grandson are off to Spain! I am totally excited for them and I can already taste the feeling that travel gives you.Now it gets my butt into gear for our next trip. Plan,plan, plan. Have a fantastic awesome holiday guys. Look forward to all the coffee we will drink over the tid bits of your travels.

10 Pat R 05.25.08 at 8:26 am

Happy for you all in taking this trip. Sounds like when you finally lightened up and stopped worrying about your finances things started coming in to help. Isn’t that just the way it is.

Looking forward to stories of your trip and pictures.

Pat R’s last blog post..Meme Tag – You’re It – If You Want to Play

11 Michael Moniz 05.25.08 at 12:25 pm

So simple and so powerful! “Sometimes when you REALLY REALLY want something you have to take a leap of faith, commit and then work your buns off to try and make it happen” Love it!

Michael Moniz’s last blog post..It is Time to Listen

12 Phylisg 05.25.08 at 3:14 pm


I’m a 67 year old grandma that packed her bags and moved to Fiji ( retired teacher) My kids, and grandkids were a tad upset with me. but from behind this palm tree.. I see that they are all doing fine. I return to visit about twice a year.. and found that my grown daughter I was supporting is now independent.
I buit a home, put in a garden, work on marine eco projects, walk the beaches, photograph butterflies..
Do I get lonely.. yep. do I need to have fellowship, yep, Skype is wonderful as is the internet.
I live on a fijian village land.. and there is community. I find that I have to “work” at being with myself. ..but all relationships require that.
Don’t get caught up with never doing the things you’d love to do if you had no “Fear”

13 Louise Pool 05.25.08 at 4:35 pm

Kelly, you go girl! Have a wonderful time in Spain and tell us all about it when you get back.


Louise Pool’s last blog post..Birthday Present to Myself: Quit Smoking

14 Jess 05.26.08 at 11:21 am

How exciting! My hubby and I have been saving for over a year for our European dream vacation. Funny thing is, we just dropped a huge chunk to go back to Toronto to see his family at the end of June. We managed to come up with that money fine (with a little help from the “economic stimulus” package…) so what’s stopping us from just doing it? I love that law of attraction thing, you’re exactly right. Sometimes, you just go for it, worry about it later, and everything falls into place. Enjoy your fabulous trip!


15 Shilpan | successsoul.com 05.27.08 at 3:19 am

Kelly –

I’m impressed with your courage and determination. I can relate to these types of decisions that an entrepreneur has to make to achieve success. Planning is always good but sometimes it takes leap of faith and action with strong determination to succeed. Your trip to Europe proves that argument.


Shilpan | successsoul.com’s last blog post..How to Work Less for a Happy, Balanced Life

16 JEMi | Tips for Life, Love, You 05.27.08 at 6:41 am

I’m so excited for you :) I could imagine the arguments.. then the hopeful “How?” as I held my breath.. and his response that cued more arguing. I try to be sensible with money all the time but there are times when.. well.. its important enough for me to strap my bootstraps and deal. Thats when I want something badly enough. Spain.. how lovely.. how romantic.. how exciting.. how you-better-come-back-with-pics-and-details!


JEMi | Tips for Life, Love, You’s last blog post..7 Guaranteed Ways to Drastically Improve Your Life

17 kailani 05.29.08 at 1:44 pm

Woo Hoo! It will be here in no time at all. I’m so jealous!

kailani’s last blog post..WW: Punchbowl Cemetary

18 Sara 05.30.08 at 9:36 pm

I love this! It’s nice to be forced to do something you really want but can’t logically do, and nonrefundable tickets are certainly one way. I have to say, though, I don’t think it’s the Law of Attraction–I think you finally had a compelling reason to make some good choices. (the car, examining debt, cost-cutting). I could learn a lot from your overall approach: when something good’s going to happen, stop fighting it and just enjoy!

19 Gunfighter 05.30.08 at 10:15 pm

A brilliant ending to the tale.

Someone once said: “Enjoy your life right now, while you are on your way to becoming what you will be”

I can’t wait to hear your stories.

Gunfighter’s last blog post..Calling All Lurkers

20 Cath Lawson 06.12.08 at 6:00 pm

I’m glad you made the decision to go Kelly. I did the same thing as you – booked the flights then regretted it and wished I’d booked a cheaper holiday. But often it can be expensive just going somewhere in your own country and the savings you make don’t always outweigh the dis-satisfaction of not winding up where you really want.

Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Are You In The Business Of Misery?

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