We are home from our vacation in Spain! The flight back to NYC wasn’t as bad as I expected. In fact, I ended up watching a few movies that I hadn’t seen yet. So, it was actually quite pleasant. In between meal breaks and quick naps, I began to think about everything that we did as a family while abroad and wanted to write a quick post about it because I – personally – don’t want to forget these little nuggets. They don’t necessarily all go together. This isn’t a cohesive list of our vacation in Spain, but it’s one that has a brought a true shift to my soul.
What Our Vacation in Spain Taught Me
- Food matters: I mean this in a variety of ways. Food matters when it comes to quality of food and food matters when it comes to the amount of food we eat. While on my vacation in Spain – and I traveled to almost every side of the country – I could find only a handful of McDonalds. They were pretty much the only ones that had infiltrated the nation as of yet. You really didn’t see a lot of fast food joints and cheap eats. Food matters to the people of Spain. It isn’t a time waster – like how we think of it. How many times have you heard of families grabbing dinner and eating it in the car? Now, after this trip, I can see how detrimental that is! Food matters because it offers up so many different things – a time to reconnect with your family, a time to experience new flavors and tastes, a time to allow your children to go on an adventure. I used to cook all the time when I first got married and when my job didn’t take over my life. Now, I just throw things together and hope for the best. I don’t want to do that anymore. We aren’t people who do a lot of fast food – so I won’t have to worry about changing that. But it’s the QUALITY of the food that I will be changing at home. I am going to start cooking from the heart again.
- The little moments matter: My goodness – my children fought on this vacation in Spain. I am not even going to LIE. They fought a million times over the stupidest things. But then, as we were taking our nightly stroll after dinner by the beach, I caught Natalie giving Liam a kiss on the cheek. He wiped it away of course… but it still happened. A tiny moment happening during an absolutely boring moment of our vacation. A walk. We weren’t touring or body surfing or riding a 100-year-old roller coaster. We were just together – quietly. In those moments, the most beautiful things happened. We need to give our children more downtime. MAJOR no electronic rules coming up this school year. My children are going to be SHOCKED.
- We Need To Move: Those damn iPads have made my family so lazy. Me too! I’m not going to lie. I love Farmville. Still do. They just upgraded the game, so I started to play again – started all over. But those games mean nothing. They suck you in and literally waste your time. Instead of wasting our nights on the couch, we just got up and walked. We went to the park. We sat by the beach. We went out for ice cream. Whatever we needed to do – as long as we weren’t stuck inside. Winter in coming. There will be plenty of moments for downtime in our house. For now, we plan on getting out more.
- Water: Oh my goodness. I am addicted to caffeine. Can we talk about this for a minute? For the last 7 years or so, I’ve started out each morning with a drink from Starbucks. In parts of Spain, I was unable to do that – two parts to be exact. During the first third of my vacation in Spain, I had a Starbucks beneath my hotel, which was lovely. Getting iced green tea in Spain was… hard. So, I stopped asking for it. Instead, I switched over to coffee which I don’t really LOVE but I had to do it because I NEEDED caffeine. Migraine attacks were real for the first few days because my body was in SHOCK. I really need to get used to drinking just water. What if the apocalypse comes? What will I do then? There won’t be a trenta unsweetened iced green tea waiting for me on my desk. It isn’t going to happen. Water. Water. Water. And that goes for my kids too. They are now only allowed one non-water drink a day. We started off with so much soda during the beginning of the trip because our house rule is you are allowed to get a soda whenever we visit a restaurant. I never keep any at home. The problem was… we were at restaurants all day long in Spain. So, the rules got a little twisted!! By the 4th day, we put a stop to it all. It was disgusting how much soda we all consumed. Lesson learned.
- Language: Why don’t I know another language? WAHHHHHH. I’m so depressed about it. I’m four seconds away from buying Rosetta Stone or something! It is my goal to get my children to learn Spanish. They are both taking it in school. Bill was really trying to pick up some sayings here and there. There are so many wonderful apps available!! I didn’t try at all because I was so depressed about it! My kids NEED TO KNOW SPANISH. PERIOD. They are totally on board, too. Both were begging for tutors when we were at a park in San Sebastian. There were dozens of kids playing and they couldn’t speak to any of them. Then one kid came over and asked them if they spoke French? They said no. Then he asked if they spoke English and of course they jumped for joy. They couldn’t believe this one child knew Spanish, French, and English!! It blew their minds! Hopefully, this will stick with them. Natalie made me PROMISE to help her study this year for Spanish. I am going to because I want to learn as well.
- Presentation: Every woman was styled to a T. While out to dinner at a restaurant, people were dressed up! I’m talking – how I would look if I was going out for a night with friends. Meanwhile, they were just with their one child and husband. I couldn’t help but soak it all in. Every single woman. I’m not exaggerating. Such style. Effortless style – but nevertheless. These women were completely put together. No yoga pants. No high buns with unwashed hair. Chic beyond measure for an everyday meal on a Tuesday. I was dying. Luckily, I brought some of my nicer clothes over because I was on vacation, but if I was home, I would have been in my pajama shirt and ripped jeans. That is a FACT. I do NOT get dressed up EVER to do ANYTHING unless it’s to WORK. My friends know it. You might not know it because I always post nicer photos of me, but it’s true. Even big parties at home – I’m usually pretty casual because I’m tired from doing some big segment for work where I just had hair and makeup done. At home, I am R-E-L-A-X-E-D. Well, let me tell you. That ended on my flight home. These women taught me a lesson. Have pride in yourself. And again — it’s not about GLAM. It’s about getting put together whenever you leave your house. I almost started to photograph them all. Everyone looked like a Zara ad. I don’t know how else to say it.
- Keep Traveling: Last year, when I visited Dublin, I was SURE that it was my favorite city. I had SUCH a fun time on that trip and I just loved that country with all of my heart. However, this year, having stepped foot in San Sebastian, I can tell you without a doubt that San Sebastian is IT. I would move there in a second. It is paradise on EARTH. I don’t know how else to say it. We even thought it through — whether or not I could do my job there and still be successful. The answer is a resounding no. I guess that means I will have to leave it for another lifetime, then.
My Vacation in Spain Had Many Facets
I know I have so many more lessons to share, but it’s 3AM in NY and I can’t sleep. This is all that I have right now. So much more to come from my vacation in Spain and my from heart. I am so blessed to be able to take my children with me on my adventures. I am someone who wants to see the world. We paid for the majority of this trip using points from credit cards and miles from airlines. It still ended up being pretty expensive, but we saved about 50% doing the points route. If you are someone who wants to travel, I strongly encourage you to get a credit card that rewards you with travel points. Nothing else matters!!!!!! I don’t want a toaster. I don’t want a $10 gift certificate. I want free rooms in a hotel so I can see the world and learn more about what this world has to offer. That’s just my personal point of view.
And while we are still talking – the Barcelona terrorist attack derailed my plans to visit that city. We were slated to check into our hotel two days after the attack. Timing kept us away from it all. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t feel that wave of reality every now and then. If we had skipped San Sebastian, we would have been in that square. Our hotel was located right there – in the heart of it all.
We ended up spending a good portion of an afternoon switching out our plans and moving our reservations to a beach resort because I didn’t want to have to explain to my children what had just happened. I also was afraid to be in Barcelona so close to the attack. I am just being honest. So, some might say that terrorism is stopping them from traveling, and I can understand that because I didn’t want to go to Barcelona right after the attack. However, I ended up extending my vacation in Spain by one day because I was having such a glorious time at my beach resort. They cannot win and they will not win if we don’t let them.
My vacation in Spain wasn’t ruined because of terror. It was changed. It was altered. We all must keep pushing forward and living our best lives. There is no end to it. There is no snake head to cut off with this beast. There are a hundred thousand enemies to fight and they are all fighting alone. This is our new world. Go out and see it and bring an extra battery for your camera because it is beautiful.