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London & Seville

What do London and Seville have in common?

Probably not much, but I wouldn’t know…

We were scheduled to be in both cities in April, but the trips were canceled. The coronavirus quarantine and travel restrictions kicked in here at midnight on March 13.

Initially, it was to be a 4-week quarantine, but it was extended for two weeks, then two more. So now we are stuck at home until May 9!

We felt like we were on house arrest for the first 6 weeks. Only one person could leave in the car for groceries, medications, caregiving, or medical appointments.

As of April 27, children were allowed to go with a parent to run those same limited errands as long as careful guidelines were followed. On May 1, we were finally permitted to start going for walks outdoors.

Hallelujah! How happy we were for some physical movement and a change of scenery!

The Spanish government is easing us back into “normal” ever so slowly. Large gatherings are still banned and many venues are closed and will be for the foreseeable future. I understand why, but at this rate, we will be back in the United States before many places re-open.

Seville was on our travel list for its well-known Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations. We had already found a place to stay and planned our road trip for April 8-13. I was scouting out the best places for flamenco guitar and dance…thus, the photo above! I was also planning to hop into Morocco or Portugal for a little more excitement.

Why not, right?

London was on the bucket list for Daughter #2. She claims she has always wanted to go there and that she wanted to visit a foreign country where English is spoken. She was digging into research for a couple of days in Wales and was making a list for London activities from April 18-23. Thankfully, Ryan Air is processing a refund, but boo-hoo!

Then there was the Flamenco-Gastronomy Fusion Festival near Benicàssim at the end of April.

So much for the Cherry Festival in Serra or the flowery Festival of the Patios in Córdoba in May. Fare thee well, Alhambra in Granada.  And the vibrant coastal city of Málaga? Maybe another year.

Madrid and Toledo are still on our list of places to visit. So is Bilbao and San Sebastián. And a trip to Andorra to hike in the mountains.

What about the much-anticipated trip to visit our friends in Macedonia and enjoy a beachy vacay with them in Greece? This was tentatively set for June 1-10 and I was shopping for airfare. Bust!

Will we make it to Provence for the Lavender Festival in mid-June or early July? Doubtful.

Yes, I know…I am feeling sorry for myself and indulging in a bit of a whine-fest at the moment.

Where is my usual optimism and gratitude?

After all, I am in Spain! I am healthy and safe amidst much suffering and even death due to the coronavirus. We have a lovely apartment where we can soak up the sun from our terrace. Our refrigerator is full. We are living out these “difficult” times in greater comfort than most humans have ever experienced throughout history.

But we saved for almost 3 years, quit our jobs, and moved halfway around the world! It is the ultimate disappointment to be here and be unable to do much of what we came here to accomplish.

So yeah, this post is kind of a bummer.

We are grieving the death of what could have been.

We are trying to figure out how to salvage the last 12 weeks depending upon what we will be allowed to do travel-wise.

Thankfully, we had a 10-day trip in December. We road-tripped through parts of northern Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, and Austria. It was amazing!

We spent New Year’s near Murcia and road-tripped down to Cartagena. Guadalest was a highlight on the way back.

In January, we took a day trip to Sueca and Cullera. In February, we drove to Barcelona for a few days and enjoyed Dénia and Jávea on the Costa Blanca. Then we squeezed in a trip to Paris in March. We have also enjoyed some lovely sites here in Valencia.

For all of that, I am grateful.

But honestly? It took us some time to equip and settle into our first apartment, adjust to the time change, move to another apartment, and settle in again.

We got through the initial learning curve and had launched into travel planning mode. We were ready for the last 4 months to be full of rich and exciting experiences!

While trapped at home, we have tried to make the most of our time. Gonzalo’s master’s degree classes have continued online. The girls and I are doing daily Spanish lessons via Skype and they are homeschooling on study.com.

I am also studying hard and have almost completed the AWAI Program for 6-Figure Copywriting. Through blogging, I have been reminded of how much I enjoy writing. When we return to Kansas City, I plan to continue blogging and to start writing and publishing personal financial planning content. Lots of good ideas are in progress!

I have also been reminded of how much I love working as a financial planner. In the past few weeks, I have started reaching out to various firms to see who is hiring. Hopefully, I won’t be looking at hiring freezes given the current state of the US economy.

I’m not afraid, as I believe things have a way of working out. But practically speaking, I am aware of that possibility.

This leads me to another question: that of whether I should take a leap and start my own independent planning firm. I have toyed with the idea for the past couple of years, but it was never really a serious thought. That switch may be flipping for a variety of reasons.

But I’m 50, not 20. Whatever I choose, I want it to be for the long-term and to carry me into my own retirement.

I am taking some deep breaths and prayerfully seeking divine wisdom. I want to make the most joy-filled choice for me, my family, and my future clients!

Until then, I’m here…

Ironically, we’re watching YouTube travel videos on our travel sabbatical since we can’t go anywhere!

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6 Comments

  1. Sally Looney on May 5, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Oh Kelly, everything you express hits home as the rest of us are missing out on our lives as well. Keeping busy around the house if fruitful but not rewarding as living normally would be. Cancellations of all kinds have brought us all to the commonly referred to “quarantine fatigue”. I haven’t been able to comfort friends who have lost family members and that is especially hard. On the bright side, I volunteered to reach out to members of my church to check in on them to see if there is anything they need. I’ve met some interesting people over the phone who have had some very sad situations so I feel more than blessed to have just quarantine time to complain about. I hate it that you’re missing out on everything you had planned for your time in Spain/Europe. This means only one thing–that you will return! And the return will be the sweetest because you will have worn the hat of disappointment and survived. In the meantime, you are still in my prayers for safety and wellness. I’m so happy for this experience to live vicariously through you. In this time of “stuck”, blessings truly abound! Love to you and your family.

    • admin on May 7, 2020 at 11:33 am

      Sally, How wonderful to hear from you! I was just thinking about you yesterday and was planning to call or email. You are such a giver and it does not surprise me that you are volunteering to reach out to people from home. These are strange times we are living in and yes, “quarantine fatigue” is real. The financial hardship is also real for many, but my greater concern is the lack of contact with friends and family during such a difficult time. We need our hugs! And we need to be physically present with other people…especially those who live alone. My prayers are with you and I look forward to a non-socially-distanced lunch date or happy hour as soon as the coast is clear on this!
      Yes, I think my blog will continue after I return to the US. I may need to start a new page that says “to be continued” or “PS” for post-sabbatical. The travel bug will still be biting and I will need to keep traveling!

  2. Oksana Weiss on May 5, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Maggie, I think it’s a great idea to start your own business during the crisis. Because if not now, then when? And if not us, then who? I am also taking now a distance learning course as a Weight Management Coach, planning to start helping people to reduce weight in November, when I get my certificate. It’s a bit scary to change a career in my age (I am 46), but the children are almost grown-up now and I have already done it when they were 5-8 years old (there was also a crisis then, in 2008-2009). I have not only started a new business, but also moved to another location and bought a house there. And I have succeeded in my business so that I have got a burnout and now I am actually looking forward to a predicted recession as for an excuse to start something new:) I wish you all the good luck and patience, and I also hope that the lockdown will soon be over.

    • admin on May 7, 2020 at 11:25 am

      Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your story here! I love your optimism and positivity. The current global environment is causing many of us to rethink our assumptions about work. I remain hopeful that we can create new ways of sharing our professional skills and personal passions while enjoying a happier, more balanced life. Best wishes in your studies and your business venture. Keep in touch!

      • Joyce Hursman on May 7, 2020 at 5:41 pm

        Kelly, you have every right to whine. You are missing a big part of your dream. At the same time, you are aware of all your blessings. Guess what? YOU ARE HUMAN. Keep the blog going.

        • admin on May 11, 2020 at 8:24 am

          Thanks so much, Joyce! Sending a big hug from Valencia!

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