“We’ve got nothing to lose just a lot to win..” A Spanish Leap of Faith
“Are you crazy?” Were the words said by many people close to me at the talks I had given at me renting my house and leaving a safe secure job and life in England during a global pandemic to go work in Madrid and Ibiza for one year, during Brexit as well. “No risks, no rewards” was the phrase I kept telling myself. It was safe to say at the time of moving I needed a change, mentally I had some healing to do and that would only happen away from the place it was caused. Right time, right opportunity, it was time to leave.
2020 was a difficult year in terms of growth and realising that it was time to leave environments no longer serving me – I refuse to live in that ‘stuck in a rut’ feeling. I had worked hard for my home and life in Newcastle but I had always dreamed about experiencing a year away somewhere new. I felt I became obsessed with this idea, daydreaming about it, talking about it and thinking about it all the time, my dream of a life elsewhere wouldn’t let me sleep. I always knew that this adventure for me would be the only thing to ever truly set me free – get me to the next stage in life – but it would mean letting go of the old, and embracing the new. Something we find so hard to do.
Lockdown in 2020 helped me speed up this thinking progress and made me make moves I would have otherwise taken years to make. Lockdown gave me time, time to think, it made me re-evaluate my whole life and make the moves I never would have made.
After returning from Ibiza in August 2020, a job opportunity presented itself in Madrid in September and I took it. 5 weeks from accepting the job, I boarded my flight to Madrid. I’d cast my wishes to the universe and it had responded, it had given me my dream. My house rented very quickly, my boss was really supportive about my move and helped me to make my final decision, I felt everything else in my world just came to a gradual end. This chapter was closing.
Overcoming the fear
Fear sabotages people everyday. The fear of failure, no one likes to think they have failed at anything in life. The first thing we think about with any life change is failure ‘what if’ I end up on the streets or what if it goes wrong, what if I embarrasses myself, what if I lose money. We then go in to survival mode, followed by despair then to nothing. We stay in those comfort zones as they are safe and familiar. Fear mode is survival mode. Breaking these toxic thoughts are hard, but once you survive you feel you can do anything, take on anything. Never settle in anything. Always know your worth and strive to be better. The best project you’ll ever work on is you.
Hard lessons to learn along the way, experiencing life in a brand new place, brand new people, cultures and lifestyles. Even the times of the day we eat are completely different. Wine is only drunk with food, never alone. Everything different to a life I came from. I challenged myself to lean the language and be comfortable understanding it. Languages have always fascinated me, a skill I think we should all do more in. I left England knowing only English and not a word in Spanish other than ‘gracias’. Adapting to a new way of life and language is difficult but the day we plant the tree isn’t the same day we eat the fruit. Be patient, one day it just clicks and you’re comfortable taking orders in Spanish. How good the fruit tastes usually results in how hard we worked for it. There’s no real measure for success in this area: it’s down to you.
The difference in lifestyle and culture is amazing to see and experience on a daily basis. I always felt in England we are totally programmed to think we just need to work. We take annual leave and dread the already are thinking of the dreaded thought of returning to work. Spanish people are not as career driven here, there is no associations to a job titles or companies and work is never spoken about outside of work. There is also no concept of age, people at parities in their 50s, first time mums and dad at 40, marriage at 40. There is no pressure for that dream home, marriage and family by the age of 30 like in England, followed by the feeling of failing in life if we aren’t mums or married by 30.
Life is lived completely different and relaxed here, people are more focused on lifestyles then careers. Parties aren’t just for the weekend and music isn’t just for dancing, It’s refreshing to be around and I spend most of my time with Spanish people, speaking the language and embracing their lifestyle.
The experiences I have felt being here was none to what I ever imagined experiencing. I had some idea of the struggles and challenges, but they’ve not surfaced yet, instead replaced by much more. Growth comes from experience and I’m thankful to have these lessons along the way to help shape me and my experience. I think it’s important to never be ashamed of your struggles, as they shape you who you are today. Set backs only make us stronger and you never know how strong we are until strong is the only choice we have. I would rather fail trying then play it safe.
Finding more about life and what’s important, what I have learnt since being here is I find that when you stop chasing money, you become the richest you’ve ever been: with who and what you have around you and the way you perceive life. When you stop chasing happiness and the relationship, you become the happiest with yourself and who comes in to your life. Gratitude is always the best attitude, I write down daily what I’m happy for and take life from there. All theses experiences matter not just one. I have learnt that money will always attracts money. Energy will always attracts energy. Love will always attract love.
An ever-changing journey
Since my time here I have gained Spanish residency which has been amazing, this means I am a resident for both Spain and England.
I plan to return to England in the near future, I firstly need to complete my Spanish exam in June and I have been working on a project in Playa D’en Bossa helping set up a new business. foreign/international business has always interested me and I am enjoying working on this project. I see an end in sight to life on the island, however I still have some personal goals I need to complete first.
I know that this whole experience has been completely life changing and that I’m not the same person that once left and I won’t try find the old me in the new me anymore. The aim was to create a life I don’t need a holiday from and to heal and learn from some past difficult experiences. I feel I am a new person in every way. Sometimes we need to leave to come back.
What have I done it all for? I wanted something different from life and different requires different options, different everything.
A lot of people have been in touch to say “Alysha you’re smashing it” and “wow it looks amazing” etc. I’ve sacrificed a lot to be here, a home, a job, a relationship in England, time with my mum and a life I came from in England. I’ve learnt that although this is really hard, you’ll never be alone. It’s natural to feel grief and feel lost, being lost is the perfect place to find yourself. You’ll gravitate back together if it’s meant to be, the better you become, the better you attract. The best thing we can do is work hard on ourselves for your future partner to be the best you can be. What’s meant for us will never pass us by and sometimes we’ve just got to brave about things we want in life, achieve the goals we set to take us in to the next chapter. I have found that the only people worthy of being in your life are the ones who listen to you with the hard times and laugh with you after them once they have passed.
To share my experiences is the best thing I can do and I hope they help others. They say time heals, and it does. I’m not where I want to be just yet, but neither am I where I used to be and that’s the most important point in this whole journey for me. Five months left to achieve everything I set out to achieve and feeling so focused.
To anyone struggling just know that peace, happiness and closure is just on the other side of self work, belief and determination.
Never give up on your dream.
Written by Alysha Cook.
You can follow Alysha’s adventure on Instagram here.