On Episode 3 of the LOKATE Travel podcast, I sit down once again with Elaisha Jade but this time, we are chatting from my apartment in Barcelona as I have officially moved to Spain! It was my goal to move back to Spain before my 30th birthday, and after a lot of hard work, discpline, focus and a bit of luck - I was able to make this happen. Tune into this episode to learn just how I was able to make my dream of moving abroad happen. We also talk about my transition, the ups as well as the downs and the not so glamorous moments of living abroad.
You can also read the transcription of the podcast episode below! Enjoy!
Elaisha: Hey friend! How are you?
Katie: Great! It's nice to see you again.
Elaisha: I know! It's nice to see you too. You have a nice little tan there what's going on?
Katie: Just you know, lots of sunshine here in Spain.
Elaisha: Mmm, casual!
Katie: So context, we're sitting on my balcony in Barcelona, of all places, drinking cava... again. Cheers!
Elaisha: Okay so who do you want to start Katie because I don't, like everyone's gonna be joining into this podcast after hearing a few really cool episodes that you've done with other people and at that point now they're gonna be like transported in time to this very moment. What do you want the masses to know?
Katie: That I actually moved. I'm here in Spain sitting on my balcony in Poble Sec which is a neighbourhood here in Barcelona, with my bestie.
Katie: We're still drinking cava.
Elaisha: Nothing's changed.
Katie: Nothing's changed, we're sitting, well, we actually have furniture now. Last time we were speaking on this podcast we didn't have furniture because I had moved all of my furniture out of my Toronto apartment.
Elaisha: You literally sold your entire life, like okay let's sit on these pillows and make a podcast and I was like down and it was fun.
Katie: It was so good.
Elaisha: It was. I can't believe you're here I'm so happy for you.
Katie: I can't believe I'm here either this is insane. And so we're sitting on my balcony, drinking cava, on furniture this time, in Barcelona, and this lovely lady sitting across from is here because she came to Spain to celebrate my 30th birthday with me which was actually my goal to be here it was crazy.
Elaisha: You literally set a goal, you wrote it out, power of intentions, you wrote it out, you put it out there and then you literally found your way here. What the hell, Katie! How, how did you do this?
Katie: A lot of hard work, discipline, focus, and then like a bit of luck, some cava as well.
Elaisha: But this is your real life, like damn girl! This is so cool that Katie, one thing I know you guys, is that Katie might make it seem super easy but it took a lot of research, planning, thought like even the neighborhood you ended up in you dropped your ego, you weren't like oh! I lived here before, do you know what I want to do, where I want to go? You talk to people, you research, you asked around like you did the most.
Katie: There was a lot of prep of administrative tasks that you have to do, a lot of prep with your personal life or like furniture, your finances, prep for saying goodbye to people, that was really tough.
Elaisha: That’s like super difficult.
Katie: Yeah! And I had it like a month to say goodbye everyone which was nice and sad at the same time but it's kind of a bittersweet feeling, but it was really sweet to see everyone before I left and had this epic going-away party and lots of amazing delicious dinners.
Elaisha: It’s super fun it was really cool to to see all those people whose lives, like you've been a part of and like how you were a part of them because everyone I spoke to you knew you in a completely different way, like almost everyone there were like clumps of people and every clump was like, Katie! I know Katie from work, or from run Club, or Castle Runners. I know Katie from this thing. I know Katie because we both speak Spanish. I know Katie because we eat things. It was really cool to kind of see it. That's something, that's very important is to build a community. One thing I learned from you that I'm currently applying to my life is I am, in spite of the fact that I know that I don't belong in Toronto, I'm still gonna build a life that I really want there.
Katie: So that's important. I put a lot of work and effort into my apartment, decorating it making it feel like home, even though I knew that Toronto wasn't my forever place, and that I knew eventually I was going to leave. But it's important to enjoy the place that you're in, because I think people get so focused on, okay? What's next? Where do I want to be? But you don't enjoy where you actually are and I think that's really important, so I have no doubt that you will crush your goals, but it is really important to enjoy where you are now be in the moment, be present, which is a really hard thing for us to do.
Elaisha: Here's the thing, guys! Katie and I always chatted about, we are major Type-A personalities and we emote very similarly and also in very different ways, like, with Katie, like she if she feels that she can't do something she'll like hit it hard and, she'll just go for everything, “You know that I'm gonna do it, anyway” literally, and then me, if I feel like I can't do something but I really want to do it, I'll pop some popcorn and sit on myself if it looks really hard, I wish I did it, and then eventually I'll get to it, but I take my time with really doing it, because we do about 20 years worth of research. That's also how we were able to literally visit seven cities.
Katie: Well! No, we did even more than seven cities in two weeks cuz we also did Malaga which you didn't count.
Elaisha: Yeah! Like eight cities in two weeks, I don't even know how but it involved a lot of spreadsheets.
Katie: Spreadsheets and a Google Doc.
Elaisha: Absolutely! And that also comes down to our personalities but I do believe that anybody who says their mind to something can do it. You just have to know where their weaknesses are. Like our weakness is in not being able to relax, and not necessarily be able to appreciate, just like you're saying “we're grateful” for the opportunities we have, but we always have that one foot out the door like, at least a pinky toe out the door to be like, okay! Where's the next adventure? Like we're always kind of waiting for that next thrill, but really just kind of like sit in it.
Katie: I think that was the thing for me because I was doing a million and one things before I left, because fear setting as we talked about before, trying to make backup plans for all of your worst fears and how you can mitigate those risks or mitigate the problems that may arise, and so I was working three different jobs, saving as much money as I could, and then also doing run club with Nike, and then trying to have a personal life, and see friends and organize my life and so on my furniture and just I was so go-go-go-go before leaving that it was when I arrived I was like, okay! I'm here and I want to just live for one to two months, and not think about responsibilities and just appreciate the fact that I have actually landed and I'm here and then start to get back into the million things that I do as a Canadian, as a functioning Type-A personality. I'm constantly doing all the things, and it was kind of nice to just like sit, and appreciate what I had achieved, and actually landed and getting all of my life sorted out, here that was also another thing. So arriving I took a week off from work to just get my life sorted administratively speaking so registering within the city, and trying to find an apartment, registering for Social Security so I can pay taxes, and getting all that set up to be, you know, 110% legal in the city and then I started working remotely, with my job, and that was a really cool experience, and it has been so far and I've adjusted really well to it I think because....
Elaisha: You have like a very intense and incredible schedule that I would have loved to follow while I was here but jetlag
Katie: it works well my schedule here. So I start work at about 10:00 in the morning and I finish around 6 or 7, sometimes 8 depending on my day and meetings. Usually in the morning I go, and I work out and then I where I work out actually has is a co-working space as well. I go to Soho House which have houses all around the world and they have one here in Barcelona, so I use their gym which is really nice, and then right after I shower and then I use their space to work and then in the afternoon I come back on my little bike and I bike through the city to my apartment and then I make lunch, and then I start the second half of my day, and by the time I start a second half of my day it's when my team is just waking up because I'm six hours ahead so it's really nice I have this amazing intense focus in the mornings where I'm able to just crush a lot of work and then in the afternoon is when I have all my calls and my meetings and chatting with people on Slack, and then yeah and because in Spain they don't eat dinner until at least 9:30-10 o'clock, you know, even though I'm finishing my day a little bit later than I would have in Toronto, it still fits really nicely, and then I get up and do it again. So it's, it's a nice sort of schedule, as you mentioned.
Elaisha: Routine is possibly one of the most important things you can set up for yourself, that we've both learned in our lives. We do the exact same thing every single day, like we have the same snacks... and of course I've read all those magazines that talk about you, know the world's most successful people, and the fact that - PS: Katie's just topping up our cava right now. There it is, the most successful people, they do the exact same thing, every single day, and it's so odd that routine is just very important to me and it does kind of take a second for you just take a step back and be like, whoa! I've done so many cool things and you bring it up all the time. You're like you're so young, stop trying to get 20 years ahead of where you are, and just appreciate all the things you've done, and like, yeah! I guess like in managing a department - I'm doing this thing, and doing that thing, like it's so much fun, but I'm still kind of like beating myself up with, but I'm like there's more, there's more, there's more, but once you take a step back and you really appreciate it, like it makes it all better I think. So it's about living in the moment again, right! We have a really hard time, just like appreciating where we actually are.
Katie: So hard! Oh my god! And I was sharing with Elaisha that you know I was so go-go-go when I first got here, because you know I did have a week of technically “vacation”, when I first landed but it wasn't vacation, it was, it was very go-go-go every day because I was like okay! I have a week to figure out my shit, so it's like I have to get all of this stuff done with the government and with the local city of Barcelona, and try and find an apartment, etc, because I was staying with friends, the first week I landed here they very graciously offered me to stay with them which was really nice and a really great landing place, but at the same time I didn't want to take advantage of that and I wanted to get us settled as quickly as possible because the following week I was starting as a remote, and it's like okay! I have my full-time job, I have to be responsible and get back to it, and so there's that pressure, but at the same time it's like, you know, you have a life when you're in Toronto, and this is my new life so it's like I have to remember that it's like I have to have that balance again and it took a waiter, a very kind waiter at a restaurant one day when I was having lunch during my first week as a remote. I think it was like the third day and they have something here called Menú del día, so menu of the day for lunch. So you typically get three courses, so when appetizer, a main and a dessert, and a drink and some bread and it's usually for like 10€. And it's amazing and delicious. And I was really concerned. I got there at around 2:10pm and I knew I had a meeting at 3:00, and one of their menu items was paella, obviously. And I was like oh! I really want to have paella,but usually paella takes like 30 to 40 minutes to cook, and so I was concerned if I was going to have enough time. And so I asked the waiter in Spanish and I was like hey, I have a meeting at this time, how fast does the paella take to come out? And he was like, don't worry about it! You have lots of time. And he literally just said, “just sit there and relax, here's your glass of wine” which is totally kosher to have at lunch in Spain. Just sit there and enjoy yourself and then, he walked away, and it was just like, yes! I have to sit here and enjoy myself and be present and be like, holy shit! I'm here. But it’s crazy that it takes someone else to be like, you need to chill out, and just relax.
Elaisha: Literally, though it's weird it does take an outside perspective to kind of remind you, but sometimes even keeping a journal, updating people like on your day to day life as you speak to people like on messenger, or whatever as they kind of reply back or really reading those comments and replying back to people on Instagram or Facebook or whatever, and really taking them to heart. Like if somebody says, “Wow! that's really cool”, don't just skim over it? You sit in it and you say, “it is cool.” Like feel it, enjoy it, embrace it, and it's tough to do, because of course, we have task lists that do not end. I guess this podcast has been about like relaxation, moving and appreciation, and gratefulness.
Katie: And also just like reality, right! Because it's so easy to see on Instagram, and obviously I've been posting photos and sharing my experiences, and, that's what I want to share on LOKATE, what it is actually like to move and to live abroad and you know, going beyond what you just see on Instagram. Because on Instagram, Oh my god! My life is totally perfect, like how great is it, but at the same time it's there's so much hard work that goes into moving abroad. It's a really big decision, it's an exciting decision and your life is never necessarily easier, it's actually in fact harder.
Elaisha: But it's worth it and you have to let them know what happened.
Katie: Oh! I'm getting there. So you know life looks perfect on Instagram, you think I totally have my shit together, etc and I've lived abroad three times before, and I've gone through a rollercoaster of emotions, previously and when I landed everyone was like, oh my God! Like you're getting things done so quickly and just like boom boom boom, and like again Type-A personality, and I was also very prepared I researched everything I needed, was very prepared, had appointments, set up at the bank with like health insurance, like even before I landed was already looking at apartments from Canada. When I landed I could literally hit the ground running, and so I think it took me a while before the adrenaline actually dissipated and wore off, because you know I was feeling fine and I had a friend one of my other best friends came to visit three weeks after I moved, and I was like that's gonna be perfect because who knows what I might be feeling by then and I might have a complete breakdown and we'll need her support emotionally and physically whatever. Like I might just need a hug, you know. She came and she's like, how are you? And I'm like “I'm great, I'm fantastic, life is fantastic” and she's like “wow! I'm really impressed”. I was like “Yeah! Me too” and then another friend came, and I was fine then, and you know life was fine and it wasn't until you know the week before you came and we were having our scheduled Google hangout, you know. I can't lie to the girl, but she was like video hangouts, and for some reason before we spoke that week previously, you. I just woke up and I felt like I just wanted to cry and there were some days that I woke up and I just cried and I was like, what is wrong? Like, why do I feel so much anxiety? I'm living my dream and I'm like why do I feel this sadness? I was like what is going on, and I think it shows that I'm getting older, and maybe hopefully wiser but it's like I started to help self diagnose myself to be like, okay! What's going on? What's going on in my head? Because something's not right. If you're waking up and the first thing you want to do in the morning is cry, like something is wrong, and so I was dealing with that, and you know I was doing meditation. I was like okay! I need to chill out. I need to meditate a little bit, and so I had this meeting with Elaisha, and even before I got in the call was like, I'm gonna cry! I'm gonna break down! I know I'm going to, and you know you put on a brave face, and she's like, oh my god, hi! How are you? And I'm like, great! How are you? Just like I think she asked like a trigger question, I forget what it was, and all of a sudden you know, you, you and you know, you're gonna cry. And you pause, but you don't want to cry because you're in front of them.
Elaisha: Yeah! I'm like, is Katie frozen?
Katie: And I was like oh no! It was coming! And then all of a sudden I just like broke down and I was just like crying, and she's like, “what's wrong?” And I was like, “I don't even know” but I think it was a mixture of you know self-diagnosis again, is just like it was a lot of little things that bundled up into one big thing. So it was you know the fact that I, I was starting to feel, I was starting to miss my friends, right! Because it was at that for four month mark where it was like, okay! I'm not seeing my friends I just witnessed three of my best friends weddings, on Instagram and Facebook, which I had to miss, which was really sad, you know. I'm seeing other friends have babies that I can't be there to meet.
Elaisha: It's like your dreams don't wait for the perfect moment.
Katie: There will never be in a perfect moment.
Elaisha: Exactly it's like a breakup, like there will never be a moment where it’s like, oh! Like his birthday's next week, know like rip off the band-aid, like it's, it's time now to kind of do those things.
Katie: And when you move abroad it's a reality. You can't be there for everything and it was something my Mom even warned me about, you know. My mom, when she moved to Canada, when she was 23. She sort of prepared me and was like listen! You're gonna start missing birthdays and weddings and eventually you'll start missing funerals, which is really hard and it's just the reality of living abroad. Like sometimes you can't afford to go home, or sometimes it just doesn't work out in terms of timing and you can't be there for everything, and I think I was seeing things and I was missing friends so there was that aspect and, then there was like this impending factor of like my 30th birthday, where you know I was having like that quarter life crisis moment, where I was like what the hell am I doing with my life? And is this the right decision, and you start second-guessing yourself and you're like oh my god what have I done I've moved literally my life across an ocean and you start freaking out and then I also had stresses with like work and personal stuff in terms of dating and it was just like all of these little things, all of these small little balls of stress, snowballed into this massive ball of stress, which then, and it, and it fell on Alicia! So thank God she's an amazing friend! She’s just like what is wrong? And I was just like, um so many things.
Elaisha: I watched you and I literally made a mental note to pack tissues.
Katie: And it was such good timing for you to come now, because I didn't know what I was gonna feel it to be honest. I thought I was gonna feel all of this much earlier when my friend Basia was coming three weeks after my trip, I was like oh! for sure. I'm gonna have my first like emotional breakdown then and I think that's something that people don't talk about enough is that like you go through such intense rollercoasters of emotion when you live abroad, both good and bad, and it's waves and even though I've lived abroad three times previously, like this isn't my first time, I know what to expect, I know life is gonna be hard, I know being away from friends and family is difficult, but it's like it still hits you and it hits you hard and I think now because I'm completely financially independent and I'm on my own. Luckily I have family in England which is just you know like a two-hour flight away, which is great, whereas my mom is still in Canada which is like an eight-hour flight, a little bit further so I still have you know family relatively close but at the same time like I'm here by myself and I do have friends, I do have a really good network here in Barcelona. I'm very lucky but at the same time it's like, I'm here on my own and everything that I do I am solely responsible for and that's, that's gonna be heavy sometimes. And when you factor in different languages, different cultures and different stresses of everyday life it's not easy and that's why I think people don't talk about it enough. That, it's okay if you wake up feeling sad or overly emotional and you're just like what, what's wrong? And just talk to your friends, who might not be there physically but message them. Tell them what's wrong, like talk about your feelings and talk about what's going on, right!
Elaisha: Know that's so important and that was one thing that I mentioned to you too, is even about the whole point about you living completely independently and like the fact that you know you're doing remote work like your job is set up in a different way than it was before, etc but I said honestly Katie, everyone's jobs are up in the air, at any point in time, like just one of those things where you have to kind of just roll with it regardless of what you're thinking, what you're feeling, it's just really day-to-day and I think what stresses us out the most are things that have not happened and will not happen. Genuinely like we don't get, honestly guys, we do not get stressed out about the day-to-day too much, we get stressed out about the what-if’s a lot. Things we can't control, literally, things we can't control, things we can't control we'll control so we know it'll get done but we're still nervous about not doing it, and it just kind of snowballs into unnecessary energy that can be put into other things like even relaxing.
Katie: It's been, it's been a roller coaster arriving here and moving here, but it's been so much fun and it's scary to think that I've done it. When I first arrived it seemed very surreal, like it felt like I was living a dream or that someone was gonna pinch me and I would wake up from this dream and be in my apartment in Toronto, and it took a really long time to actually sort of believe that I was here and also for it to get past the “vacation phase”, right? Because you know being in Spain again you're like, oh my god! Like this feels like a vacation and then when you start getting into a new thing for me which was remote work and getting over that challenge and then sort of developing a routine like you're mentioning before like developing routine is number one and sort of getting into the groove of everyday life here, then it started to be like really real, and then the adrenaline started to like wear down and it was like okay like this is real life, like I have my apartment like I have this everyday life, I'm dating someone like this is, I have friends, like this is crazy. This is sort of my new life, and it takes time, but I've also done so much in like four months, which is crazy and sort of freaks out some of my Spanish friends. They asked how did you find an apartment so fast in Barcelona? And I said I was lucky!
Elaisha: It's a mix of manifestation but you also did research on apartments, you did research on where you wanted to live. A lot of people that kind of go into the real estate game thinking, okay! I'm gonna find a place. Okay! Where? How? Who's gonna help you do that? Like why do you want to live in a certain area? I'm having experienced it before have you even walked around there or are you just showing up for a viewing? I think that a lot of people will look at your pictures and will look at your statuses and think, oh wow Katie! Like this is so easy they have no idea like what it took to get there, like the task lists that you made the things you have to put on the back burner we talked to with us, even with LOKATE you really wanted to launch it right away, right! And at this point, it's already been launched as people are listening to this, it's already been launched like there's already content, there this is that there's a lot, but you wanted to do that before you left for Spain and I said, Katie! Um, question like why don't you consider NOT launching an entire new brand, before you move to another country? And you're like, yeah!
Katie: It's true! She was like maybe you just like wait till you get settled. Classic overachiever in me and the person who wants to do all the things before I left, because I want to, you know close out everything and be like, okay! I got that done, I got that done, I got that done, and then I wanted to launch LOKATE, and she was like, how about you don’t and you just wait and give yourself some time. And I was like, okay fine! I need to breathe, and honestly that was like the best thing you could have said because I probably would have burned out right before I left and putting too much pressure on myself because there really was no deadline.
Elaisha: I've always learned you have to sort things into urgent, important, and you could hit pause on it, that’s literally my three sorting things and if LOKATE doesn't launch tomorrow will you die, or will the economy collapse? If neither of those things, let's hit pause.
Katie: That was really good advice. So always listen to your best friend, yes, because they know what's up and they can call you out on your shit. So there's that, but yeah moving here was, crazy and a whirlwind but like so much fun and I've had multiple guests come through like multiple friends come, it's been amazing to see them and it's to every time like I'm sort of feeling like, I really miss my friends or, oh! I really miss my connection back to Canada, it's like, someone appears. And I'm like, oh! This is great. And I get renewed again which is really nice, and yeah it's just been like more so developing a routine and getting back to real life even though this is like my dream life but it is real life now which is super exciting and just sort of focusing on the important things so, work is number one, and being remote, and you know connecting with my team well and being available for meetings and dealing with six and nine hour time differences.
Elaisha: For now I think it's cool to kind of put it out there and relax, it will honestly all come to you as long as you're being an awesome person, you know you want to do and you're embracing your purpose and your truth, you will live your best life. Actually though it's not just a hashtag, you will literally live your best life. I came here and I almost started crying because I looked at your life and I looked at what you're able to do, I looked with who you surrounded yourself with and I was like my baby is okay! Alright! Okay good! And I literally look around I'm like there's nothing for me to do here like, other than just be here for you, because you've set your life up so incredibly but obviously it took lots of work but it took you being like a great person what you really are. It took you being an amazing person and like one of my biggest pieces of inspiration. I should just put you on my mood board, be like mood: Katie. There's so many who miss you back home, and you knew that but you decided which is an awesome thing guys, be selfish! Like you were like, no! I have this dream, I had this thing like, and I'm going to move across the world and do it because you felt it in your gut and it took a lot of things to get you to that point but you felt in your gut and you knew it and you remembered your dream and you did it. So honestly guys your dreams can come true. Stay focused, stay disciplined, surround yourself with the right people, believe in yourself even when life doesn't tells you no! And you think everything is going wrong in your life and you're never gonna be able to make it, I think it's super important to just like believe in yourself as corny as it sounds and just surround yourself with the best people, focus, discipline, a little bit of luck, keep trying and you got this.
Katie: Absolutely! So do one thing that your future self will thank you for today.
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