Welcome to the new (and improved!) Curated Collective, friends! Not only is today the launch of a brand new redesign of this internet home of mine but we also have a big announcement to make today! Because you know, go big or go home as they say…
I LEGIT CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT TO WRITE THIS POST! And yes, I think the all caps are an appropriate way to express my excitement for a dream of ours that’s coming true. Even as I write this I can’t believe that this is actually happening. We’ve been teasing this huge reveal long enough and it’s time to finally share…
Zach and I are moving to Barcelona.
And in less than two weeks, no less.
While this may seem spur of the moment, this big move has been in the works behind the scenes for years, and is finally coming to fruition. Cue the legit school girl like excitement, endless amount of pinch-me moments, lots of blood, happiness, sweat, tears, anxiety, website crashes, happiness again, website crashes again, anxiety again, happiness again…
Buckle up, baby, because this is gonna be a loooong one. Kudos to you in advance if you make it all the way through.
This has been a huge part of our life over the past few years, and to know that this dream has become a reality, well… “I’m excited” doesn’t even begin to share the emotions we’re currently feeling.
To take a cue from the late great Mr. Anthony Bourdain himself,
“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel — as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go.”
While we’re not quite 22, I think he’d be pretty supportive of this dream of ours.
Moving Abroad, Say Whaaaat?
One of the biggest questions we’ve been asked is “why the heck do you want to move abroad??” Which I’ll be honest, is a tad surprising to me. Since Zach and I have known one another (goin’ on almost ten years here, folks..), one of our common goals was to live abroad. When I was 19, did I think that dream I was talking about to the cute boy at Delta Chi would actually come true, with said cute boy as my future husband almost ten years later?
But the universe works in magical and mysterious ways my friend, and my heart could not be more elated that this is where our path led us.
I’ve lived in Washington State all of my life, first in a very small town in eastern Washington and then to a (mildly larger) small town even further east for college. I moved to Seattle after I graduated, and that was a huuuuge step for someone who grew up in a town that only had a handful of stoplights. I have fallen in love with Seattle and wouldn’t trade the life experiences, lessons learned here, lifelong friends made, and how it’s helped shape me into who I am for anything (I wouldn’t trade the small town part, either!)
But the thing that living in Seattle has taught me? There’s a big world out there, full of people from different walks of life, beauty that knows no ends, and experiences just waiting to be had. And I was sooo ready to experience it. So was Zach. One of the things I love the most about Zach is his sense of endless adventure. We want to surround ourselves in another culture. Learn from people from completely different walks of life. And open our eyes, minds, and hearts to the world beyond what we’re used to.
And with that in mind, nearly five years ago (yes, we’ve been hoping and planning and praying to make this goal a reality for that long..) we stopped making our dream a wistful wish for “someday” and decided to put our plan into motion. Because at the end of the day, dreams don’t work unless you do!
With that fire burnin’ inside of us, we got our wheels spinning, and figured out what we had to do to make it happen. And at this point you’re probably wondering what the heck we’ll be doing in Barcelona, and how on earth we made it happen…don’t worry boo, I got you.
How We Made It Happen & What We’ll Be Doing
As we’ve shared our news amongst friends, family and colleagues, one of the things we get a lot is the thought that you can simply pick up and move to Europe for an extended period of time.
Turns out…that’s not true. Though, it would be verrry nice if it was.
What we’ve learned along the way? It’s a lot more difficult than it seems, but that should absolutely NOT keep you from doing it, because if you want something bad enough, the only person standing in the way of making it happen, is you! Just an extra boost of motivation for ya today.
And when it does happen? Ohhh man, is it so worth it! So back to how we made this happen.
As an American, (for the most part) the longest you can stay in Europe is about 90 days without a special Visa of some kind. We knew we wanted to stay longer, and make this our home for the next few years. This wasn’t a vacation, time “away” from work, or just a trip. This was going to be a new chapter of our lives, a chance for us to actually live, work, and thrive in a culture completely different than our own. So we knew we’d need a long-term Visa (RIP to my sanity during the Visa process. SO much more to come on that, later…)
There were a few ways to make this happen. Work, and school being the biggest two and most realistic options for us. I knew I wanted to get to work online, while that hubby of mine was keen on pursuing higher education, and getting his MBA.
It was about the time we decided we really wanted to make this dream happen a few years ago, that I had serious thoughts about where I wanted my career and future to go. I’ve been working since I was 15 and love the career I have built for myself, and you can bet your cute little butt I wasn’t going to be taking a step backwards.
So how could I advance my career, while simultaneously living abroad? She ponders…ponders again…thinks she’s crazy…KNOWS she’s crazy….get’s inspired…loses inspiration…ponders again…then lands on it.
That’s when two words entered my world, and I’ve never let go of them since. Those two words: Digital Nomad. What the heck is a digital nomad, you might be asking yourself?
A digital nomad is essentially a remote worker who has the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, and not be tied down to a physical location. Sign. Me. Up! And that’s exactly what I did. I got to work, researching the skills I needed to actually be able to work online. Then I took classes. Loooots of classes. Educated myself. Tried. Failed. Tried again. Failed again. Put in the work. Sacrificed more weekends, early mornings, late nights, than I can count…and finally put myself out there.
Then I started this blog, which become a huge stepping stone in the direction of making my Digital Nomad dreams a reality. And then, landed my absolute dream client.
As you’ve noticed, The Curated Collective got quite the refresh! So what exactly do I do, you might be asking? The newest arm of The Curated Collective encompasses a boutique online content creation, graphic design, and social media management studio. I manage, strategize, and create content to take your brand to the next level. I’ll be writing about this much more in the future, but for now, you can check it out right here.
The best part? I can do this from absolutely anywhere in the world, and have the freedom to work on my own schedule. I’ll be writing sooo much more about that digital nomad life so soon, but before this post turns into a novel, let’s get back to the other half of this Lyon-Badger sandwich.
As for my sweet husband? Zach has always wanted to get his MBA, but due to a blossoming career, that was put on the back burner a bit. Initially when we began seriously discussing this, he set down on this path and began studying for the GMAT, with the hopes of receiving his MBA from a university in Europe.
But with all great plans, come diversions in the road, and this happened mid-way through his studies, when the opportunity for an internal transfer at his company could take us abroad. We were SO excited, we thought this was the sign we’d been waiting for, but alas…a bump in the road removed this possibility.
Initially we were quite bummed about this, it had been years now that we’d been talking, planning, and trying to make this happen. Maybe it just wasn’t in the cards…but we turned that negative attitude around faster than a Seattle Summer (pretty much the blink of an eye..;) ) and we returned to the original plan. Zach would pursue his MBA, while I’d get to work garnering the skills needed to become my own boss, and truly live the digital nomad lifestyle.
Turns out, the hard work is always worth it. Zach was recently accepted into an incredible MBA program in Barcelona, and I am SO damn proud of him. He sacrificed just as many weekends and late nights studying for his exam, applying to schools, and ended up becoming a candidate for one of the top MBA programs in the world.
Yeah, I’m a proud wife. While he’s bustin’ his tail off at school, I’ll be working on, hustlin’ and runnin’ my own online business, remotely from Barcelona. To say we are so beyond grateful for this new chapter in our lives might be the understatement of the century.
SOMEONE. PINCH. ME.
There were so many factors that played into the city that we considered when we decided that we really wanted to make this happen. The biggest factors were cost of living, school accreditation, and of course, location.
London was a place that we tossed around forever, it has incredible schools, they speak English (obviously a major plus for us!) but, as it turns out, it rains in London about as much as it does in Seattle. Oh, and it’s also expensive AF.
So with that in mind, we set our sights elsewhere, bounced around the idea of Amsterdam, Dublin and Paris and finally landed on Barcelona. When we visited last summer, we absolutely fell in love with the city that seemed to be bursting with life at every new corner, and knew we could absolutely call this place home.
And home it will be, for the next few years at least.
You might be wondering why I waited to reveal such a big life update! Lots of factors, but mostly we were in the process of waiting for our Visa’s to get approved which JUST happened. WOOT! Yeah, I just “wooted.” THAT’s how excited I am. Like I mentioned, getting our Visas was one of the craziest processes of my life, and I’ll be sharing more about it very soon. But essentially, our fate hung in the balance of the Spanish Consulate. That trip to San Francisco we took recently? It was to meet with them there. So yes, we are just oh so sneaky, but this has been such a hard secret to keep! 😉
When our Visas arrived over the weekend, Zach and I wasted no time in putting our plan into action, as that was the final piece of the puzzle we were waiting for to make it officially official. So what did we do? We headed straight to one of our fave family owned Mexican joints, ordered a celebratory margarita, and booked our ONE-WAY tickets right there.
It was the most exhilarating feeling in the entire world, and a moment we’ve been dreaming about for years. It feels wildly surreal to think that this is all finallllly happening!
So now, with less than two weeks to go before the big move, we’re doing everything we can to get all of our hugs, quality time, and essentially do all of the Seattle things we can possibly think of before the biggest move of our lives in just a matter of days.
At this moment, we’re trying to soak up each and every day with our friends and family, and continually just feel so damn grateful that somehow this is happening for us. Oh, and brush up on our Spanish (and Catalan!) too…
I’m so thrilled to share this next chapter of our lives with you guys, and can’t wait see what it has in store for us.
Adios, for now!