An interview with Kristen from Anywhere There’s An Airport

A few months back I stumbled upon Anywhere There’s An Airport, a blog written by Kristen, and I was immediately captivated by her story. Originally from Florida, Kristen was inspired to travel to Spain after seeing a highlight on “The Today Show” for a volunteer opportunity. Just like a novel, the trip almost didn’t happen due to European airport closures after the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption. Little did she know that when she followed her gut and took that ambitious flight anyway, she was embarking on her most life-changing journey yet. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Kristen via e-mail about her story and the trip that changed her life forever. Here’s what she had to say:

Kristen of Anywhere There's An Airport

Andrea: You’re originally from Florida. How would you describe your life and career in Florida before the move?

Kristen: First, thank you so much for thinking of me and for highlighting my story on your site. I am honored to share a little bit about my life and what brought me halfway around the world.

Just over one year ago I was living in Florida surrounded by family and friends and a career that I loved. I worked in personal finance. Helping other plan their financial future, as well as working on my own. I worked in a private financial advising practice with my father and nothing brought be greater joy than seeing him every morning at the coffee pot!

Kristen and Father

My life was the typical 9 to 5 work week with friends, family, and get togethers on the weekends. There is not one thing I can complain about in my past life (if you will) I was blessed beyond measure.

Andrea: How did you find yourself in Spain?

Kristen: My first Spanish adventure came about via what I call my “restless syndrome.” Life was moving along just swimmingly, but through the years I’ve found myself in the ebb and flow of restlessness. Needing a new goal or challenge. Something out of the ordinary to excite me. In the past this has meant training for a marathon – I ran the Disney Marathon in 2007. This also meant traveling to Africa to volunteer in a remote village for 2 weeks. Thank God I had a friend who thought this was just as splendid an idea as I did! We embarked, just the two of us, on a 21 day adventure that could do nothing but change you.

Africa Picture

Spain came about the very same way. I saw a highlight on The Today Show for a volunteer opportunity teaching English to Spanish professionals for one week just outside of Madrid, Spain. Sounded good to me!

While on this trip I met and fell in love with The Spaniard, my now fiance, and the rest is history. We met and I moved to Spain in 5 months. “What’s the worst that could happen,” I said “I fly home?”

Kristen and The Spaniard

Andrea: Had you often traveled overseas or was this a new experience for you? Did you experience any anxiety over booking the trip?

Kristen: My only European adventure before Spain was the layover in London on my way to Africa. I figured if I could handle Kenya then Madrid was totally doable!

The amazing thing about that first trip to Madrid was that it almost didn’t happen. My trip was scheduled at the same time every European airport was closed due the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption. Every airport except Madrid.

I was in such turmoil over whether to reschedule or proceed as planned. People were stuck all over Europe with no way to get home. For some reason I got on that plane and I can’t imagine my life if I hadn’t.

Kristen Riding Horse

Andrea: When did you realize that Spain was going to change your life?

Kristen: As soon as I met The Spaniard I knew something was different. For the first time, from the very beginning, I was 100% myself. The good, the bad, the scared, the distant. I mean, if you think about it, I really had nothing to lose. I was halfway around the world! He immediately loved me for me. The fun loving brilliant side, (too much?) and the anxious, stressed, emotional side.

Any apology was met with “no apologies, it’s you.” I’ve never felt so completely accepted.

The Spaniard

Andrea: Describe an ordinary day in your life now. How do you spend your days in Spain?

Kristen: Excellent Question. What do I do here!? My days are filled with working, writing, yoga and grocery shopping.

I am still involved with the business back home and work remotely. I put a lot of time and energy into my blog. It has grown slowly and morphed from my personal anecdotal stories to travel recommendations and advice. I love receiving emails from readers with Rome questions or packing concerns. I love the connections and helping others.

Travel

I have always been into yoga and running. I try to move every day. Here I have the luxury of taking the noon class verse the 6 AM if I choose.

Oh groceries! Walking for your food was definitely new to me! In the beginning I ran all over the city to 4 different markets collecting the goods that I needed. This could easily take 4+ hours. Not to mention carrying it all home. Built in weight workout, right there! I have slowly streamlined this for my own sanity. If it’s not at one of two stores then I simply don’t eat it!

Andrea: What’s the one lesson you hope the world can learn from your story?

Kristen: My first response here is Just Do It! Plan the trip, take a leap of faith, go outside your comfort zone… but this isn’t completely true.

My adventure sounds so spontaneous… and part of it was. But if I am honest, I would say you have to live in such a way that these things have the opportunity to happen. I am an anal, type A, methodically organized person. Before my first Spain trip I lived my life in such a way that prepared me to make a big move.

I was responsible with my money and therefore felt financially confident to take a risk. I know if I felt insecure or unprepared, the decision to move to a new country and the logistics of the process would have been a lot harder.

I believe you have to live in preparation for great things to happen.

I never imagined that great thing would be a change of country… but I am sure glad it was!

Kristen and The Spaniard

***

Stories that Inspire highlights extraordinary people living inspiring lives. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story to share, submit it for consideration to andrea at imwaytoobusy.com or send me a “tweet” @imwaytoobusy. I’d love to hear your story!

 
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