It is now, by my not-very-official laptop clock, 11:59…. no wait, 12:00 a.m. (that would be in the morning) in beautiful, delicious, amazing, Dénia, Spain. And I just got back from dinner. No, I’m not kidding.
And why should you care? That is the question. Chris Guillebeau, poses in his brand spanking new book, The Art of Non Conformity. He says that when you write your blog, your book, your Twitter or FaceBook post, you should always keep in mind what the reader is thinking: “Why should I care?” That point has been ringing in my head since I finished the book on the plane a whopping 36 hours ago.
So, why should you care what I have to say? Well, I’m hoping that you, like me, crave a life full or rich experiences. We all define that differently, but great experiences are worth more than their weight in gold. It doesn’t matter if your definition of a great experience is having a day completely to yourself, just to read a great book, or whether you want to travel the world.
It just so happens that my flavor of “experience” turned out to be Spanish. And I’ve been lucky enough to create a lifestyle that allows me to indulge for several months each year. The interesting part, that is a little difficult for people to comprehend, is that I’m not independently wealthy. I’ve found a way to follow my dreams without first having to be dripping in money. Now I hope you have a reason to care what I have to say.
“Let me be perfectly clear.” Before you start thinking that I’m advocating a life of poverty — NOPE! I don’t think that money and enjoying life are mutually exclusive. I tried that. It’s not fun.
Right now I’m sitting in an apartment that is a 10 minute walk from the Mediterranean Sea. This is a place that people from all over Europe flock to — despite the fact that it is not a major train stop, and has no airport. It takes some work, and some planning to get here. But Europeans love it, and they take the time and effort to get here. Why? Because the beaches are wide and long. Because the food is incredible. Because the wine is spectacular. Because — most of all — the people here will teach you a different way to live.
Lunches — “comidas” — here are long and casual. You stop your work day at 2pm. You go home, you eat with your family (weekdays) and you take a nap. Then you go back to work. And on the weekends? Your normal 2 hour lunch often turns into a however-many-hours-that-may-stretch-into-dinner lunch. The waiters and waitresses don’t hassle you, there is no hurry, and by the way, the food you will eat during your day is healthy and incredibly delicious.
So this is why I hope you will care what I have to say — not because I’m trying to impress you with the fact that I am so lucky that I get to spend time in Spain — absolutely not. But that I want to connect with people who crave something different. Maybe not radically different, but something that fills you up with joy, and makes you want to dance. A different way of looking at the world. A different way of telling time. Yes, working hard is important. But it’s not everything.
Here is my challenge to you. Right now, right this minute, think about the moments in your life when you were so happy you could fly. What were you doing? Who were you with? Where were you? Now spend a few minutes thinking about things that you could do to experience those feelings again. I don’t mean that you should try to duplicate the same experience. What I mean is to find the elements that created the experience. Can you incorporate at least some of those things in your work? In your daily life?
Being Spanish doesn’t mean you follow my path, or anyone else’s. It means that you focus on the things that bring you joy. And the best part? Your happiness is contagious.
Feel free to comment and share what great experiences you create for yourself — or that you crave.
Eat, Drink, and Be Spanish!