After many years of research, travelling and considerations – I’m finally moving to a warmer, more inspirational and cosmopolitan city to live the dream of my life.
I’m so very fortunate to live the laptop entrepreneur lifestyle and have the privilege to choose to live anywhere on the planet. I do treasure having options. But in this case, having the whole world as my destination has slowed down the decision process because I could live anywhere. There are so many great places from which to choose. Should be a lovely Hawaii beach, Australia or somewhere in southern Europe?
A few years back – after becoming single after a long relationship – my instant thought was to move to the Costa del Sol in southern Spain. I had always heard of this place as having the warmest climate in Europe and seemed like the ideal place for people like me.
I really don’t like the cold, Nordic climate with its few weeks of good summer and months of long winters. Months with snow, rain and almost no sun at all. I couldn’t wait to explore my options. But before long, I realized it wasn’t easy to find the place of my dreams.
When you are picky – you are very picky!
At the time, I was teaching online marketing classes in western Denmark three days a week. With some good planning, I was able to fly back and forth touring most of the Costa del Sol from Malaga all the way to Gibraltar – a tiny UK territory on the southernmost tip of Spain.
I don’t even remember how many times I flew down there. But there were many, many flights and I enjoyed all the journeys. I hooked up with Thomas, a local Danish real estate agent. Thomas was wonderful at trying to help me find a great house or apartment suitable to my high standards.
We looked at some fancy high rise properties in the hills with large swimming pools and the most amazing views overlooking the sea. We also viewed penthouse apartments and full-service complexes which all looked very fantastic. But something wasn’t quite right.
After months of research, I figured out that it was the atmosphere and the way of living that wasn’t right for me. In the Costa del Sol you have to drive everywhere to get anywhere. Plus, the overall quality and style of architecture and atmosphere didn’t live up to my high standards.
However, I did find a city that caught my attention. But I quickly discovered that it was filled with super rich people with big fake lips and huge tits! Mostly the women… The name of that city is Marbella. Everything was three times more expensive than elsewhere in the Costa del Sol because of all the rich people (mostly Russians) who have millions and millions to spend. In Marbella, you also have to drive everywhere – of course in your very fancy car if you want to fit in. Nice houses, bad infrastructure and superficial way of living. Naahh, that’s not for me.
Finding the things that matter in life
Designing your life as an entrepreneur is one of the things I help my clients with, but now it was time to design my own dream life. It’s always much easier to tell someone else what to do! I was dreaming of living in a place where the sky was always blue, where I could wear shorts and a shirt every day. I wanted to be able to sit outside and relax at a café while feeling the warm beams of the sun on my skin and the sea breezes blowing softly through my hair.
But that I could do in the Costa del Sol, in Italy, in Cyprus and in many other places on the planet. So what was missing? I had to figure out exactly what was central to my happiness. It was finally time to prioritise my own wishes and make my dream into a solid plan so that it could finally become a reality.
We all have needs in life. We need food and water, we need good close friends, we need compassion, and we need sex – all things I have managed to have in my life.
The way I planned my journey to find this new place to live, was to think of different cups in different sizes. Each cup representing a specific need or wish in life. Each one of them should be full of water in order to have a happy life.
There is the food and water cup, which was full for sure, but I also wanted easier access to truly great food. Then I have the friends cup which was also full, but there’s always room for more honest and interesting people. Then we have the sex cup. Let’s just leave that one out for now without mentioning how big that cup is. Wink wink ;)
Then there are the elements missing in my life represented by the cups that are all empty and completely dried out – hidden in the back of the kitchen cabinet. Most of these cups were actually quite large and I wanted to fill all of them.
It all came down to this: I wanted to feel a big smile on my face every time when I stepped outside my door. I wanted to feel inspired by my surroundings and also by the people. I wanted to be able to walk everywhere. Both my dog and I love walking for hours – if it’s sunny and warm outside, that is!
I wanted to be able to eat healthy and tasty food at an affordable price with a tremendous variety of cafés, restaurants and food markets. I wanted to have access to the ocean and lovely beaches. I wanted a city with a nearby airport with plenty of good direct connections at affordable prices. Simply put, I wanted a great place with plenty of opportunities. From the super luxurious to the local and very affordable.
Getting that big smile on my face
One day while working from home it came to my attention that many years ago I had visited the city of Barcelona. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it sooner. But I packed my suitcase and booked a flight for a 3-day trip and to stay at the fancy 5-star Hotel Majestic in the city centre.
I clearly remember the feeling I had while sitting in the taxi from the airport heading towards the hotel. I was looking at the most astonishing buildings with the most beautiful architecture – one after another after another.
I checked into the most fabulous hotel – of course, it was 5 stars! I can’t help it, I like fancy hotels. I was escorted to my lovely room to park my suitcase and then took the elevator directly to the ground floor and stepped outside.
Walking just a few meters down the main avenue of Passeig de Gràcia, I could feel the big smile on my face. I couldn’t help it. Oh, how I loved it in Barcelona! Walking down to the old town and onto the side streets away from the fake-lips-and-big-tits-stores, and all the way to the beach. It was so very inspiring and vibrant. This was exactly what I was looking for and after spending a few days in Barcelona, I was determined. This was to be the place of my future home, with the lifestyle I truly loved.
Living out of a suitcase for a few months
Being back in Denmark and feeling all inspired I decided to move out of the house I was living in within just a few months’ time. This was simply to kick me in the behind to get me moving – and also to move out of the house where I used to live with my ex.
With the only backup plan of being able to stay temporarily with some good friends and family, I started my apartment search in Barcelona. I’m glad I made that backup plan because I hadn’t yet found my dream home upon moving out of my house. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be with all my requirements and wishes. But I knew I could find the right thing, and I didn’t want to compromise.
Some friends were so kind to take care of my sweet dog Lucas while I basically lived out of a suitcase. I was still working my butt off with my online marketing courses. After a few months of this, I started to feel restless and needed to know where I belonged. I decided that I needed to find a place to be in Copenhagen so that I could have a base somewhere.
After some intense search for about a month or so, I was fortunate enough to move into a great penthouse apartment near the port and city centre. Finally, I had my own place again. But there was just one problem. It was in Denmark with the poor climate, not in Barcelona.
Winter was on its way. I would have to wear gloves, a woolly hat, and a big winter jacket while feeling like a trapped eskimo navigating through a heavy snow storm!
I knew there was a perfect place for me. I just had to find it. I was still working in western Denmark and travelling back and forth to Copenhagen. It was a hard job that I really loved but I decided to end my teaching as I wanted to focus on some new projects and continue my search for the adventure of living the great life in Barcelona.
The first big Spanish encounter
Now more than a year after discovering my new city I still haven’t found the right apartment. It was a tremendous challenge to find a decent long-term apartment for rent at a reasonable price. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who found Barcelona to be a wonderful and exciting place to live in.
I decided to rent out the apartment in Copenhagen. This again forced me to move. After some months the apartment was rented out and now I needed to put all my efforts into the Spanish apartment search. Now I had a move out date.
Oh my lord – the estate agents in the city of Barcelona are the most unreliable people you can think of! I’m aware that I come from a somewhat organised country with certified agents, but gosh these people have really put my patience to the test.
Anyone and everyone can apparently be a real estate agent, and all agents bid on the same properties while offering you different terms and prices. Then half of them don’t reply or get back to you when you say you would like to view or even see the rental agreement terms. When you finally get the papers you only get half of them.
A handful of times I actually did book an apartment. But then the agents just decided to give it to someone else for no reason, leaving me waiting in despair for days and days. I ended up hiring a local Spanish lawyer to negotiate on my behalf and even that didn’t help out. I was about to lose all faith that I would ever find an apartment and if Barcelona really was the right place for me to live.
But I finally succeeded with the help from the lawyer! With a signed rental agreement, I now have myself a lovely small apartment in the middle of the city centre of Barcelona. It’s actually less than a hundred meters from the fancy Hotel Majestic. Exactly in the wonderful and vibrant Eixample neighbourhood, I fell in love with that day I stepped out of the hotel entrance.
I can’t wait to move in and start my new and exciting life! It’s been a very long journey. Luckily for me, I love journeys in life and the experience it gives, not just the destination itself.
The lesson I learned from all of this is, that I’m only here on this planet for a short period of time, so I better remember enjoying it every day. Today, not tomorrow or next week!
I don’t just settle with the ordinary, and it’s okay not always to compromise. I want to be challenged and achieve my goals and enjoy life at the same time. Reach high and set realistic goals for myself, work for it and then succeed. Even though it took me some years, I feel that I archived just what I wanted by designing my new sunny and warm life abroad in the right surroundings.
How about your cups of dreams and desires – are they all filled up?
Please do let me hear your thoughts and comment, so please write at the bottom of the page.
Until next time, take care.