Weekend getaway to Cadaqués, Spain

I can sum up my weekend like this:

boats in Cadaques


Shelby and I headed to Cadaqués, Spain by way of a train to Figueres, then a bus ride over the mountains into the dreamy bayside town of Cadaqués. It’s one of those places that takes your breath away – all white-washed buildings with blue shutters, charming older couples winding their way through the streets and children playing ball on the beach.

We had our fair share of red wine, pizza, chocolate desserts and deep, contented sighs. (Totally worth the carsickness on the bus ride there and the inflated price of tapas in the town.)

I also read a book while I was in Cadaqués! Yes, it’s true! (This is likely not shocking to you, but it shocks me since I’ve had precious time for anything but my TESOL course since I arrived in Barcelona.)

Take a look at some of the pictures I snapped with my phone (I’ll post again when I’ve uploaded my camera’s pics to Flickr), and put Cadaqués on your must-visit list when you come to Spain …

A fancy little shop:

shop in Cadaques

Shelby, leading the way to our hostel:

Shelby in Cadaques

We only got lost *every* time we tried to walk back to our hostel. The narrow streets all looked the same.

A view of the town from where I went jogging:

View of Cadaques

I think I fell in love on this run. Who wants to buy a house in Cadaqués with me?

The town at dusk:


Cadaqués doesn’t have much in the way of things to do (if you’re on a budget), but that’s part of the appeal. We wandered the streets and simply relaxed. We walked to the nearby town of Port Lligat, where Salvador Dalí lived, and we lingered over glasses of wine at several seaside cafés.

More than once, I thought to myself, How is this my life right now? How am I so lucky?

While it’s easy to get caught up in some of the uncertainties here and begin to stress about money and visas and plans and to-do lists, I let most of that go this weekend.

I’m happy to be here. I live in Spain right now. Wow.

I’m grateful for the chance to have this experience, no matter how long it lasts.


it’s getting real

Can I share a little secret?

I am loving the fact that I haven’t had to step foot in an office all month.

Not working is goddamn blissful.

There! I said it!

Instead, I’ve traveled, started prep work for the TESOL certification course I’ll be taking in Barcelona, spent lovely long evenings with friends and enjoyed waking up without an alarm.

You know what’s also great about schedule-free days? I can go to the gym at whatever time suits me – and work out as long (or as little) as I want. Today I even took a yoga class. YOGA! When’s the last time I did that? (Can’t remember.)

Sigh. It feels wonderful.

I’m leaving for Barcelona in one week, and it’s all becoming oh-so-very real. Like the kind of real where I’ve broken out in giggles more than one time in the middle of the grocery store, or while sitting in my car in traffic. Not unlike this:


I’m just too silly excited to contain it.

And the kind of real where my eyes well up with tears whenever I have a Portland Moment.

Port·land Mo·ment: proper noun. A particular instant whereby I’m reminded just how quirky and significant and fucking awesome the city of Portland & its people are. Usually involves a restaurant patio, an IPA, a bicycle or a baby wearing cool shoes.

I’m going to miss Portland.

Even if I’m only gone three months.

Especially if I’m gone more than six months.

But, I’m ready to DO THIS. Bring on the Spanish wine, daily siestas, midnight strolls and Mediterranean beaches. Bring on the communication challenges, new friends and churros con chocolate.

Know anybody traveling in Spain this fall? I’d love an introduction! 

adiós los estados unidos

Recently I wrote about making big life changes, and now I’m ready to tell you mine!

In less than a month, you might find me at La Playa De Vila Olimpica:

La Playa de Vila Olimpica

picture via barcelonaturisme.com

Or getting lost in narrow, winding streets:

Fernando Stankuns

photo by Fernando Stankuns on flickr

This will be my commute:


photo by JasonParis on flickr

I will eat tortilla de patatas and drink cafe con leche:


Photo by minusbay on flickr

I’ll be surrounded by architecture by Gaudi:

Casa.Battló by frankartculinary

photo by frankartculinary on flickr

And this will be my skyline:


photo by CrashSunRay on flickr

That’s right, I’m moving to Barcelona. ¡Olé!

I enrolled in a program to get a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification, and I’ll try to find a short-term teaching position after the program wraps.

There’s no guarantee I’ll get a position (luckily, the TEFL certification is internationally recognized so I can use it anywhere, if I choose), so the shortest amount of time I’ll be gone is 3 months. If I do get a position, I’ll be able to get a work visa and stay longer (six? twelve? months, whatever I want).

Sweet, right?

And thrilling and scary and unbelievable, too.

Since I studied abroad in Seville nine years ago (woah, nine years), I’ve always said I wanted to return to Spain. I talk about wanting to live abroad, be a nomad, travel even more than I do. Become fluent in another language.

Yet … I’ve often held back. Stayed put for a job, a man, a lifestyle. And, no doubt, my lifestyle in Portland is pretty wonderful. But it’ll be here for me when I come back.

This summer, in a strangely mystical series of events, the universe revealed to me that it’s time to fucking woman-up. To quit my job, because it was no longer a fit for me. To pursue this plan, even if it’s not traditional. To take a leap, even if I don’t know what’s on the other side.

So here’s how it breaks down by the numbers:

  • In 1 day, I’m done with my job – and my apartment. (Oh, and most of my possessions. I sold a ton of stuff.)
  • In 7 days, I fly to Peru to hike Machu Picchu with my mom. (Why not throw in another epic adventure right before Spain?! My mom and I have actually been planning this trip for almost a year.)
  • In 27 days, I fly to Barcelona to start the next chapter.

And, then?

Who knows?

I’ll figure it out as I go.

And the uncertainty, surprisingly, feels really invigorating right now.

Know anyone in Barcelona? Or Spain? Do you have recommendations for places to go, things to see? Dígame, por favor.