Just To Hear Myself Talk

I’ve had goals in my life, and then, I’ve had GOALS.  Normally, my little goals are easily attainable and don’t cost me much in achieving them.  My big goals, however, are often lost in the land of fantasy.  Let me see, I suppose the first big goal I set for myself just a few years ago was to open my own business, a coffee shop that featured a variety of sandwiches and a drive through.  I bought books on starting a business, I took classes on writing up a business plan, and I looked into loans and even locations for a possible store.  Unfortunately, the prospect of taking out a loan for around $100,000 scared the daylights out of me, and the goal became nothing more than a dream.  I still think about it from time to time, but unless I inherit some ridiculous amount of money, I won’t be opening my place anytime soon.

After spending a good deal of time studying Spanish and talking to native Spanish speakers online, I got the idea in my head that I would travel to South America or even Europe either in search of a beautiful Spanish speaking bride, or possibly just to live a new and different life.  When those ideas began floating in my head, I looked into getting a passport (yeah, probably a good first step since I have never traveled outside of the United States).  I started researching the cost of plane tickets, and I even searched for places to live in various locations.  Again, as the prospect of my goal grew into a possibility (albeit a very slim possibility) my fears took over and I realized leaving the country would not relieve me of my financial obligations here and were I to renounce my job here in the states, it would be very difficult to re-establish myself here once I returned, which would have been the inevitable outcome.  While I am certainly not rich, were I to attempt a move to South America or Europe and it failed, I would pretty much be financially ruined and looking to live under a bridge somewhere.  Fear wins again.

Before I go on about my newest GOAL in life, I should say that it is my inability to let go of the things I have in order to achieve more.  While my apartment, my car, and my job are important things to me and while they are by no means luxurious, if I were to attempt to take on one of these goals for real, something would have to go.  I would likely lose all three things, and right now, those are the only things keeping me afloat in this world.  I have bills to pay and I can’t just toss aside my life here for a new life somewhere else.  I may have mentioned previously that my boss’s wife had offered to help me achieve some of my life goals.  She called it my bucket list, which I hate to say as I am not feeling all that close to death just yet, but I have been going back and forth as to whether or not I should even try to make a list like this, as I rarely accomplish what I include on the list.  Then, the other day, I was inspired once again.

I have not been following the language learning blogs that I used to follow as closely as I once had, but I still check in from time to time to read about other’s adventures in learning languages.  I watched a ten minute documentary chronicling two men’s journey to Spain without any prior knowledge of Spanish and the goal of not speaking English for the entire three months they were going to live there.  They filmed themselves from day one, and believe me, the change from the first week they lived there to the twelfth week was quite impressive.  I would not say either one of them was fluent, but they could carry on conversations with others and were confident in what they were saying.  They were living in Valencia and based on the video alone, it looked like quite a nice place to spend a few weeks and learn a language.  I started thinking that with my current level of Spanish, I would not have to go into the country completely mute, as I already know a lot more than just simple conversations.  I began thinking about going to Spain, the one thing I was able to put on my bucket list, and I thought that instead of making it a vacation, I could spend a month there learning more Spanish.

Of course, once I have an idea in my head, I start to run with it, so I began working it all out in my head as to how I could possibly do this.  Spending a month in Spain would require quite a bit of planning.  I can’t just hop on a plane next week and be done with it.  I wanted to develop the idea into a legitimate goal, so that even if I never go through with it, I can at least say I planned it out and didn’t just talk about it.  I decided to give myself a two year window.  OK, perhaps that is setting myself up to fail, but here’s what I got.  By the time I am 35, two years and a little less than six months from now, I would like to have all the things necessary to take a month off from work to travel to Spain for the entire month of May, 2016.

The first road block to that is taking that much time off from work.  My hopes are that if I were to go through with this idea and my boss’s wife assists me, she can talk my boss into giving me the time off.  I have two weeks vacation I can take every year, so it would be a matter of a few more weeks off, and I wouldn’t even ask to be paid for the extra time.  My second concern is what would happen with my car and apartment while away.  I assume I could ask my family to keep an eye on my things and I would contact the apartment manager to let her know of my plans, and while I am sure people take extended vacations all the time, I still worry about leaving my apartment unattended for a month.

Part of the reason I am giving myself two years to prepare for this is that I need to save a significant amount of money to pull this trick off.  I have no idea what round trip plane tickets to Europe cost, but I am guessing plane tickets and a passport are going to extend well over a thousand dollars.  If I am going to have a place to stay while there, I would guess another thousand dollars or so will be needed.  I don’t want to stay in a hotel with a bunch of English speaking travelers so I would have to look into subletting a place for a month.  It probably goes without saying that I would need to feed myself while I am there so I would probably either need an additional five hundred dollars or so just to live off of, never mind additional spending money.  I thought maybe it would be possible to have a part time job during the day while I was there, but I don’t know the laws regarding foreigners having jobs so unless it was an under the table deal, it might be difficult to do that.  In any case, I figure I need to save not only for the specifics of the trip, but also to pay for the things back home that I will still be responsible for, i.e. rent, car payments, loan payments, blah, blah, blah.  Start adding all that up and I am looking at a cost probably close to $5000.  I could give up right there and say I will never save all that money, but let’s try to keep a positive outlook for now at least.  I have a savings account which, unfortunately, I continuously have to dip into, however if I can somehow manage to avoid touching it for two years, I can set aside over $6000.  That won’t be easy, as I constantly am finding reasons to take money out of the account, but even if I can save $4000, I will be on my way.

Of course over the next two years I would have to really step up my efforts in speaking as fluently as I can.  I think that alone is reason enough to have a goal like this.  Even if I never get on a plane, the motivation to continue learning has been reignited and I am hoping I can inspire others to help me in my goal.  After seeing the video of Valencia, I think that is the city I would like to see, however Madrid also sounds like a lot of fun.  I guess spending a month in the country should afford me the opportunity to see both, but who knows.  Again, I have never traveled very far in my life and if I am going to do this, I need to start researching things.  I think I may start using my Spanish blog to chart my progress.  And so it begins.  Here we go.

~ by James on December 14, 2013.

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