I Love You Spain!

I love you Spain!  You are a great place to visit, but an even better place to call home.  Who knew you would touch our hearts?  With Valentine’s day approaching, I thought “why not write a letter to Spain?”I love you Spain!  You are a great place to visit, but an even better place to call home.  Who knew you would touch our hearts?  With Valentine's day approaching, I thought "why not write a letter to Spain?" Read more on WagonersAbroad.com

I remember the days when you weren’t even in my thoughts.  We hadn’t been introduced nor did we have mutual connections.  I was perfectly happy living my life in America and working towards having all that the American dream had to offer.  Then one day, I realized we had it all.  We had achieved the perfect American dream!  

We owned an amazing home, with 2 kids, a dog, 2 cars, and 2 successful jobs.  Life should be awesome.  It was, but Alan and I were craving more of the life experiences from travel, like what we had before we achieved “success”.

beaches turks and caicos Wagoner Family pix 2006

Flashback to travel experiences in my 20’s

In my 20’s I remember selling everything I owned and packing up my Suzuki Samurai with the possessions that remained,  This included my 2 cats, a boyfriend (who didn’t last much longer after the trip) all together for 6 months of travel, and a $3000 budget.  The living on shoestring experiences exploring Mexico and Central America were unforgettable. 

Being stopped by the police and riding on the rooftop of a school bus through the Guatemalan jungles.  Finding the bruja in Oaxaca or playing with the neighborhood kids to learn Spanish.  Having Cuba Libres with the neighbors or a coffee in the plaza.  Listening and feeling the church bells in Mexico city or hearing a growling sound while hiking in the jungles outside of the indigenous village of Zunil.  Happening upon a sloth crossing the road or running into a friend of a friend in the middle of banana fields in Costa Rica.


Flashback to travel experiences in my 30’s

Just before turning 30, I was on one of the most exclusive 10 day Caribbean cruises with 4 amazing gentlemen, who all treated me like royalty.  We were the youngest passengers on the cruise and had an absolute experience of a lifetime, with cocktail parties, happy hours, and crashing the crew parties too.  This was a changing point in my life when I felt how great it was to be appreciated and respected.

Not too many months later, I met my sweet prince, Alan, in Cozumel Mexico.  I was on a solo trip and thanks to a hurricane, our paths crossed.  We were both from the Bay Area in California and the next thing you know we were dating and then married.  A month after that we were off to live a few years in London.  We have some exceptional memories of our travel all over Europe, as well as working in London. 

Austrian Salt mines train

Then back to the USA and our family was started.  Read more of our story here. 

We first had our yellow lab Baker and then two spectacular kids.  This was our life and we had certainly achieved the American dream.  The kids were thriving, Alan and I were doing great with our jobs, and we took some spectacular vacations.  The only problem is that we didn’t have enough time on the vacations!  We would just begin to relax and enjoy and then it was time to return home.

Home in the USA, we had it all and the hamster wheel too.

When the thinking began to change

We wanted a longer holiday, so we could really immerse ourselves in the culture.  From a young age, the kids were experienced travelers.  They’d been all over the USA, to Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, and more.  They were ready for something bigger and experience even more.

We had planned our 1-2 year immersion experience.  It was primarily for the kids to experience another culture and learn the Spanish language.  This is when you came into our thoughts.  This is when we started to check you out and ultimately choose you as the country to provide us with our dream.  We have various reasons for choosing Spain, but it was just supposed to be a brief encounter. 

We weren’t supposed to stay and fall in love with Spain and the Spanish culture.  Look at what you did to us Spain!

Happy New Year! Our first new year's eve in Spain. I love you Spain. Read more on WagonersAbroad.com

I love you Spain

Looking back all of these years later, we certainly miss many things from America.  That said, I’ve realized I love the Spanish lifestyle and the flexibility we have.  Spain you were meant to be temporary, but you’ve become the childhood home for our kids.  We always thought that they would think of North Carolina as their home with roots.  It does to some extent, but Spain you are where they will have had the most memories and the most life experiences.

I just think of all of the festivals and celebrations you have provided us.  From throwing tomatoes at La Tomatina to lobbing buckets of water at the Lanjarón water fight.  We watched the running of the bulls in a small village and climbed through prehistoric caves.  From Semana Santa to the Feria de Abril in Seville.  We stayed in a teepee and yurt glamping and in a cave house in the Granada hills.  We attended one of the biggest Carnival celebrations in Cádiz and rode the waves surfing in Santander.  The list feels endless, but with every moment our love for you grows.

Surfing Champion. Lars is all smiles because he got up.

Love of the Spanish Lifestyle

Because of the lifestyle, you have provided us, Alan and I are available for our kids at any time.  These are the things that have made us a very close family.  Each of us has experienced challenges along the way and endured those uncomfortable moments.  We’ve also seen the kids flourish and grow.  At the moment, they likely think of Spain, as any teen would think of their home. Nothing too special or it’s just the place they grew up, but one day they will know how special it was.  But ultimately you will always be a warm hug from the sun and a welcoming kiss from the fresh sea breeze.

Alan and I already know that we live in just the right atmosphere for raising our kids.  Of course, we reviewed 65 reasons why we love Costa Tropical Spain many years ago and those reasons haven’t changed.  It has also been a great launching point for us to explore more of Europe and take some memorable European road trips.  Living in Spain has helped us focus on our family.  We wake up each day with the sun rising over the Mediterranean and experience culture and history on a regular basis.  

Almunecar sunrise december 2020. Read more on WagonersAbroad.com

Lasting Love

Would this have happened if we had lived in a different town or country?  I’m not sure and it doesn’t really matter, because I love you Spain.  I love you for giving our family some roots, for providing us the memories to last a lifetime, and for being welcoming and taking us in.  The desire to continue to live in Spain has driven us to become entrepreneurs, to think outside of the box, and to be creative with our finances.

Sometimes you can have a dream and it can grow into something you never knew it could be.  This is what happened to us and I will forever be grateful for our time in Spain.  Even if one day we move on or hop in and out of the country, Spain you will always be the place where our kids grew up and blossomed.  Thank you, Spain!

Lars and Anya Almunecar Sailnplay boat trip la pinta. summer on the Mediterranean sea. Read more on WagonersAbroad.com

Read more about where we live in Almunecar Spain!

4 thoughts on “I Love You Spain!”

  1. Hi Heidi,

    Wow. What a life of travel. Well before your love affair of Spain you had quite the experiences in Central America. I love it. Life is to be experienced by seeing a bit more of planet earth outside of our home town front door. Travel!


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