8 DAYS IN SPAIN FOR FREE?
I promise this isn't all about Spain. Read on to find out the secret to making your dreams come true.
This week, I’m starting off with a hot tip that might *sound* like a commercial or sponsored post, but it’s actually not.
And, like most of my pieces, I might get a little deep.
First, the non-commercial.
How do 8 days in Spain (FOR FREE) sound to you?
A little too good to be true? Maybe like a scam?
That’s what I thought in 2012 when I came across that headline after looking for an affordable (actually free) way to travel to Spain. I had some airline miles to use, so I was hoping to get my room and board covered during my summer break from teaching middle school.
While that notion seemed like a long shot, I Googled:
A place called Pueblo Inglés (English Village) came up with the promise of paid room and board in a charming Spanish village. The catch? Native English speakers needed to get themselves to Madrid and then be prepared for a talkathon of sorts - eight days of immersing Spaniards in English conversation.
I was intrigued, yet skeptical - because you never know, right?
Again, I turned to Google, this time searching for:
I found a bunch of articles about the program (a good indicator that it actually existed) and contacted a few of the writers to check if they were real people and also to get their thoughts on the program.
I discovered Pueblo Inglés was indeed legit and actually an amazing experience. One person called it “Life changing.” Another told me it was “The real deal and maybe Spain’s best-kept secret.”
I decided the opportunity was worth further investigating, so I asked a fellow teacher friend if she wanted to check it out with me. She was in; we applied for the program, were accepted, and made plans to attend the last week in July 2012.
And with that one decision to delve into the unknown, I completely changed the trajectory of the next 11 years, leading me to where I am today.
I discovered that Pueblo Inglés is absolutely legit, and in case you’re wondering, you don’t have to speak a lick of Spanish to be a volunteer there. In fact, Spanish is banned.
It was during that trip to Pueblo Inglés that I met some of my dearest friends, heard about the Camino de Santiago, got the courage to run my own retreat, and continued to live out my lifelong dream of frequent travel to Spain. (I went on to repeat the program five times and also did Pueblo Español.)
I’m not telling you all of this to share all of the stories I’ve written about Spain.
I share this story to introduce What I’d Rather Be Talking About, which is encouraging you to go after those far-fetched dreams, no matter how off the wall they sound.
Sometimes all it takes is to have someone say, “You should really go do that thing.”
(I’ll take that as my cue.)
Go do that thing.
With that, let’s do this newsletter thing.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m including a couple of podcasts that explore the idea of… feeling good, inside and out. First, a podcast I literally just stumbled upon while researching for this newsletter. “Being Well” is my new discovery. This episode, How to Create Massive Change with Dr. Benjamin Hardy, explores how our past and future selves are with us in the present and how 10X thinking can catapult us into our ideal future selves.
Sometimes living our best lives means going off the prescribed path and making changes. In “The One You Feed,” guests Martha Beck and Rowan Manga show us How to Live Without a Script.
Is learning a language one of the things you want to do? Then check out Spanishland School. Their claim? “We will make you think like a native.” Each lesson comes with a cheat sheet and a free worksheet. Or try “Hola Spanish.” Be sure to watch this episode where the instructor analyzes Ben Affleck’s Spanish. You’ll be surprised!
Speaking of Ben Affleck… or rather his ex… just started watching “The Last Thing He Told Me” on Apple TV. It stars Jennifer Garner, and two episodes in, I’m giving it a thumbs up.
A real-life watch (as in outside your window)… check out the “Flower Moon” on May 5. For more astrological details on the full moon, listen to the podcast Everything is Energy or this YouTube video with astrologer Pam Gregory. All of the above have indicated that May is going to be a bit intense, and we’ll see the effects of this full moon in about six months. You heard it here first.
Edna’s readings on Instagram. I’m not sure how I discovered Edna (@ednaschoice), but she is a delightful woman whose Instagram bio is simple and perfect: “I am Edna, and I will share pieces of literature that I love.” I think you’ll love Edna as much as I do. Give her a listen.
A genius bit of advice from Instagram creator @iamannabryant : Do nothing.
ON A SERIOUS NOTE:
When I used the title (in a dramatic all-caps kind of way), “8 DAYS IN SPAIN FOR FREE?” I thought I might get the attention of Spain lovers, travelers, adventure seekers, or people looking for a great deal. For me, I’d click on anything with Spain in the title. But, if I’d read a similar title with “8 DAYS IN LONDON FOR FREE?” I’d have been like, uh, no thanks. London doesn’t do it for me.
So, if all of my Spain business has you thinking, yeah, sounds great, but… no, gracias… I get it.
But the truth is, I wasn’t really wanting to get into it about Spain, but rather ask the question…
What do you want to do?
We all have something… or things… that reside in the “someday, maybe…” section of our souls.
The problem is, the longer we go on not pursuing our dreams, the less likely it becomes that we’ll ever actually pursue them.
That’s because we think they’re impossible because we don’t have the time, money, wherewithal, you name it… to go through with it. Also likely, we tell our dream to someone, and they either outright or subtly tell us our idea isn’t a good one. This isn’t because these people are bad - it’s simply because our dreams are our dreams… and no one else will think they’re as important to pursue as we do.
So how about we start getting the wheels in motion toward pursuing our dreams? For me, it started by asking a question - How can I travel to Spain for free?
For you, it will be different.
But do me a favor and start asking the question, or questions, that will give you clarity on how you can achieve your dreams.
Put your request in… to God. The Universe. Alexa. Siri. Google. Your guru. Your dog. Ask everyone and anyone.
If one search comes up empty, reframe the question.
Sooner or later, you'll get clues as to how that dream, or a form of it, just might happen.
But we’ve got to stick with it.
Otherwise, those dreams will only come true between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. And I hate to remind you, but you don’t get airline points by flying in your dreams.
Let’s go for the real deal, friends.