On our way to the Pyrenees

Back again with another post! This time I (Jochem) am writing to you on the way to our next destination: G贸sol. This is a small town next to the impressive Pedraforca; an emblematic mountain in Catalonia. Amazing pictures will surely follow in the next post! 馃檪

The reason that we’re going there is of course our Mission Paradise. Way back when we wrote that very first post, we said already we were going to look for our new home in or around the Pyrenees. So here we are, finally heading to those mountains!

G贸sol is special to us for another reason as well though. It is where Alba’s grandfather grew up, and her family still has some terrain there. So we already have a connection with the place, despite the fact that I have never been there before. Who knows, maybe we’ll love it and decide to stay forever! 馃檪 For now though, the plan is to stay a weekend in the area and find a place to settle down for around a month.


A moment of reflection

So, that’s what we are doing right now. But I don’t just want to write about what we are doing all the time, as that can get boring quite quickly. I want to take a moment to write down my thoughts.

I don’t really have a particular goal with sharing these thoughts, but we will see where they lead. Robert Pirsig called this a Chautauqua in ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ (one of my favourite books by the way). Chautauqua was an educational and social movement that spread through the United States in the late 19th/early 20th century, but in Pirsig’s book he refers to it as a moment of philosophical thought or life lessons, as you will. So yes, just as a warning beforehand: this might get a little deeper than the previous posts 馃檪

We left the Netherlands behind us about two months ago, on the 12th of February. I once read somewhere that it takes about three months to make something a true habit, so following that logic we are about two-thirds of the way to making this new life our… well, new life. And as we are slowly changing our way of living through our daily actions, our minds are slowly adapting as well.

Now that we thus still have one leg in our old lives while the other leg stands in our new life, we have a short moment in time to have this unique perspective before we stand with both legs on the other side.

Before we left, we had many doubts. Would the car fall apart trying to pull the caravan? Would Juna adapt to this life? Would Alba and I try to kill each other living in such a small space? What if this? What if that? …?

Basically, we both wondered whether we were making the right choice.

Thinking back about our ideas, I think we were optimists and dreamers. And yes, we still are in a way. We’ve had reality slap us in the face a couple of times already since then, and I don’t think it’s done wtih us yet.

  • We don’t know exactly what we want
  • We don’t have as much money as we’d like to have to invest in our dream
  • We don’t have as much energy as we’d like to have to work day and night on this
  • We are slowly realising that wherever we end up, this project will take a hell of a lot of time, energy, money, and sacrifice

So, those are the challenges.

Sounds bad, right?

Then why do I feel so incredibly alive?

This morning I went running along the beach with Juna while the sun was slowly rising over the Mediterranean. Seeing this dog bounce around with joy made me realise that we are exactly where we are supposed to be in life.

My mum wrote a diary in the last months of her life. One of the things that kept coming back again and again in her writings were her plans for after she’d come out of her illness. She would finally do what she really wanted to do, live the life that she wanted to live. The cancer was her wake-up call, she wrote.

Unfortunately she never made it. The cancer took her life just before her 50th birthday.


Why is this suddenly relevant?

Because I don’t want to live my life thinking about what I’d have changed when I finally look death in the eyes. In that way, I hope to honour my mother a little bit by never looking back and thinking, ‘What if I had…’.

And so yes, there are challenges.

We might have to change direction more than once.

It’s not going to be easy.

But we don’t do this because this is easy. We don’t do this because we want to put comfort on some pedestal and search for whatever means we can to stay comfortable.

We do this because not doing it would be a crime against our own lives.

And hopefully it will inspire some people, or maybe just one person, to also reflect on what they truly want and take a step towards that goal. Even if, like with us, that goal is a moving target.

As long as you walk in the direction of the target, it doesn’t matter.


Going towards the target

I hope that wasn’t too deep or sounding too melodramatic, but as I said, it was just a Chautauqua. A life lesson.

As I said, our target is moving. Our dream remains the same, but its final implementation behaves like a fluid: sort of the same stuff, but never the same shape.

Currently, I have slowly started applying for remote work, for example. We can see how long this process will take, and to be honest: I miss working.

We also changed how we approach looking for our new home. Before, we thought a lot about it in business terms as well: how’s the access, would guests like this or that, could we offer X service here, etcetera.

Now, we are just looking for our new home. If we can be happy there, others can be too. And if we are not income-dependent on the place for a long time (say, five years or longer), then it doesn’t matter how fast we can grow our business or how much Spanish bureaucracy will hold us back.

We can already start enjoying our new lives. And of course, share that joy with you!

See you in G贸sol!

Oh, and of course I wouldn’t dare to write a post and NOT post any pictures. Here’s an impression of our last two weeks:

Finally… Our first Sangria in Spain! 馃檪
Visiting a coastal village, Vinar貌s, by “accident” on our way from Valencia.
Car cinema in Valencia! Super awesome!
Happy on the beach 馃檪
Visiting the Caixa Forum in Valencia; beautiful architecture, expositions are so-so…
Best part of visiting Caixa Forum: Alba seems to think that astronauts have to hold their breath in space 馃槈
Visiting Mas de Mingall: thanks again for sharing some tips with us, Barbara & Michel!
Beautiful beach right next to our campsite <3
Yes, another beach picture. But it’s so BEAUTIFUL!
YEAH yeah yeah. ANOTHER beach picture. But look at how much fun Juna is having!