Living in a foreign country presents both new challenges and endless opportunities for self-discovery. After spending four months in Barcelona, Spain, I’ve arrived home with a renewed perspective on life and an overwhelming appreciation for Calgary. I’ve learned that spending time with one’s self can lead to new dreams and goals, in addition to self-acceptance and inner peace. Travel brings so much newness and excitement, and I am so very grateful to have lived abroad in such a beautiful city!
While in Barcelona, I was eager to hit the ground running and immerse myself in a completely new culture and lifestyle. It was interesting to discover new patterns of behaviour and observe a new lifestyle contrary to the lifestyle I was privy to back in Calgary. Individuals in Spain frequently schedule time for relaxation, walks in the park, and mini coffee dates with friends. Boutiques and shops usually close between 2:00pm and 5:00pm so that shop owners can take an afternoon siesta and grab a coffee at a local café. The city oozes relaxation and stress levels appear low. I loved how relaxed I felt in Barcelona and I enjoyed infusing myself in such a delightful culture.
As a young professional in Calgary, I have often felt compelled to hustle, network, and “grind,” which has left little time for reflection and self-discovery. I’ve come to realize that time spent alone can be incredibly valuable, especially when living in a big city with never ending demands and overcrowded schedules. Taking a solo drive through the mountains, spending the afternoon in a neighboring city, or treating yourself to a day at the spa can be both replenishing and enlightening. Additionally, spending time with your thoughts, considering your values, and reflecting on your lifestyle are important building blocks in designing a fulfilling life that reflects who you are and where you want to go. I have come to believe that we are more productive when we are proactive in stepping away from our work to care for ourselves. Time alone ultimately allows us to make healthy decisions regarding both careers and relationships.
Going forward, take time away from the hustle and bustle, pursue the things that you love, and follow your passionate heart. What are you dreaming of in 2015?
This year, I’m going for a simple and sophisticated wardrobe. I’ve filled my closet with plenty of basics and neutrals in addition to a few colorful pieces. This outfit makes me feel professional; I love pairing high wasted dress pants with a simple patterned top and a few accessories to add some sparkle.