She’s A-Broad: Notes from Spain by Smithsonian Guggenheim

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Smithsonian Guggenheim at Parc Guell in Barcelona, Spain.
Smithsonian Guggenheim in Spain!

Smithsonian Guggenheim in Spain!

I’ve always had the desire to move abroad. I’ve been considering it for some time now but just didn’t know how. I was always thinking to myself that once I finished everything I needed to finish in America, I would do it. As the days turned into months & the months turned into years that dream became further from my grasp & almost impossible to accomplish because of the finishing of ‘things’. I had to figure out was it really things or fear of failure or was the fear of failure the ‘things’. So I figured FEAR was the ‘thing’. I would be venturing out to a world that was unknown to me & I would be by myself & that’s what scared me most.

I was looking for something different—a new place where I felt completely comfortable & I knew it wasn’t in America. I found myself getting increasingly more radical at ‘home’ & just hated the state & conditions of my life. I felt like I was just settling on what was familiar rather than what made me truly happy. I found that if I didn’t fear my dreams then they were simply not big enough. So last year, July 13th, 2012 at a tapas bar in the middle of Madrid, Spain, I made the vow to live abroad & move to Spain the following year and so the wheels started turning.

I decided whatever it took I was going no matter what! I had to devise a plan to get out of my current job that I simply grew displeased about; every day I absolutely dreaded going to it. I didn’t give a damn about my job & it was only making me more resentful for having stayed so long. I was absolutely going nowhere quick & that disturbed & scared me tremendously. Why was I holding on to something that wasn’t beneficial to my spirit? The only thing that my job offered was an uncompetitive salary. I’ve worked at this place for five years & had not received a raise but had my benefits decrease year after year. I also wasn’t respected as a human being & that disturbed me the most. On December 18th, 2013, I walked away from my security & walked into my happiness & that made me secure.

It was quite liberating. I felt free from conforming to what Americans consider a good salary for a good life. I applied for a study abroad painting program & got accepted. This would only be the beginning for me. I cashed out everything because the plan was not to work & just experience life for a while on my own terms. If I ran out of money then so be it. I would figure out what I should do when that time came.

After finding a storage place & giving my landlord notice, I packed up the things I wanted to take & left. Were things perfect when I left? No. But that didn’t matter. I was doing exactly what I wanted when I wanted & how I wanted & that to me was perfect. I landed in Barcelona Spain on June 22nd, 2013 & haven’t looked back. It’s been four months & I still have no regrets. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Things here according to some standards aren’t perfect but it’s perfect for me.


  1. I love the boldness of Smithsonian’s move. Bravo!! My sis and I will be visiting Madrid/Seville/Granada after Christmas, and similar thoughts have crossed my mind. Thanks Jen for sharing Smithsonian’s story. I needed the motivation this morning!!

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