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!