Finding Joy in Spain
Spain is so easy to love! It’s full of people who stay up late socializing while enjoying tapas and wine. They take siestas every afternoon and they have some of the most beautiful beaches and countryside of anywhere in the world. We spent one month exploring this amazing country and finally, after eighty days on the road, I have learned how to be joyful in Spain. Complete. Total. Joy.
I’ve battled anxiety and depression my whole life. It’s been on and off for as long as I can remember. I’m always busy going from one activity to the next not giving myself time to stop and feel.
Now, that we’re in this beautiful country with beautiful people who hold beautiful space for me, it’s the first time in my life, I don’t feel lonely or anxious. FINALLY, I’ve given myself permission to sit back and enjoy life. I’m not only trusting myself but I’m also trusting the Universe/God/Spirit (whatever your term for the greater good); knowing things are always going to be alright.
Here’s how I found joy in Spain:
#1 People are Incredible
I write a lot about our Workaway hosts and there’s a good reason for that. All of our hosts have been incredible and have all played a role in our travel experience. Each one showing up in our lives at exactly the right moment (this is the part about trusting the Universe/God/Spirit).
Ricardo and Anton are our hosts this time and they own a Bed & Breakfast named Villa Vital. They have not only provided us with a beautiful, serene, resort-like oasis to stay, but they both have given me the space to let go and to just relax.
Every night, the four of us stay up late talking, drinking wine and enjoying life. These “sessions” have been like therapy for me. I feel as if I’m at my own therapeutic spa (if they even have such a thing). I get to relax in the hammock in the afternoon and have counseling in the evening.
Ricardo is a gifted massage therapist who specializes in Lomi Lomi, a Hawaiian type massage that creates profound spiritual and emotional change. He and I exchanged yoga sessions for a Lomi Lomi massage which helped me open my heart and connecting to something larger than myself.
These two men are kind and loving people. Just the type of people one can open up to and come to find out just the people and place I needed to permit myself to feel Complete. Total. Joy.
#2 The Spanish Countryside
Ricardo and Anton live about 20 minutes from the nearest small town, Alcalá la Real, in southern Spain. Alcalá la Real is located in the Province of Jaen which has a population of roughly 650,000 people and home to 66 million olive trees.
I thought France was gorgeous with perfectly lined rows of grape vines running up and down the hilly countryside. This area is almost the same except for the fact that they’re olive trees instead of grape vines.
When the wind blows just right, you can smell the fresh olives being pressed to make olive oil. It’s these simple and small things that have helped me find the stillness to remember what is truly important in life. Worrying about what I did or said six years ago or trying to get more likes on Facebook is not one of them.
Walt Whitman once said, “Now I see the secret of the best person, it is to grow in the open air and eat and sleep with the earth.” I couldn’t agree more.
#3 Good sleep
When finding joy, it helps to be surrounded by good people and beautiful scenery but getting good sleep is a necessity.
I started missing my Tempur-Pedic mattress shortly after I sold it and we left Colorado. I quickly remembered how much I loved that mattress after my first night of sleep on a hostel bed.
For thirty-five years, I’ve battled insomnia and getting good deep sleep. Then, here in Spain, something miraculous happened!! I began sleeping better than I ever have in my entire life and now all of a sudden, I was sleeping soundly throughout the night. I can’t explain why, but when you surround yourself in a good environment, sleeping becomes much more relaxing (which is what it should be).
Not only has the sleep in the evening improved, but the siestas are the best ideas ever. Nearly everyone outside Madrid and Barcelona shut down for about three hours every afternoon. I decided to partake and this was my hammock time.
I have had a lot of years of lost sleep to make up for and the siestas help make up for the lost time. It’s so much easier to be grateful when your not sleep deprived. Gratitude is a stepping stone towards happiness.
I feel like I’m finally settling into this new nomadic lifestyle. This is something, at the beginning of the trip, I wasn’t sure I would ever get use to (see our blog post here). I’ve realized this life we’ve created is not to be taken for granted. Albeit, it took a lot of hard work to get where we are today. In fact we’re still working hard everyday to keep our blog running smoothly and continuing to create new content.
I’ve learned to trust that things are like they’re suppose to be. I trust my own happiness and finally believe my happiness is deserved. I will never forget this country and how I found joy in Spain. I know this feeling of joy can’t last forever, but at least I know now that I deserve this Complete. Total. Joy.