March 27, 2019. Exactly 3 years ago, on the completely random date March 27, I shared a very personal story about why I left my 9-5 behind for a freelance career. A year later, in 2017, I looked back at those first 12 months of my new life. Last year, I did the same thing, so it’s time for #4: My Story – 2019.
Every time I write this yearly update, I read through the previous ones. Reading them all again today made me realize that more than a story about becoming a freelancer, it’s a journey of following my heart, my passion, my dreams. All of it based on that one motto I had since I was a teenager: ‘The only thing that matters is being truly happy.’ The last 12 months have been very interesting with for the first time in those three years a feeling of lacking direction. But let’s back up a little.
In March 2018, I had been living in my dream city for 5 months. I discovered the city, built my social life, work was going well, and I was enjoying this new life. I think around the time I wrote all that, I started to feel like I had really settled. I knew my way around town, I had a great group of friends and a handful of very close friends. I also got my motorbike back to Spain in April, so I had everything I had dreamed of for so long.
But then what?
I gave myself some months to simply enjoy my new life, but in late spring of 2018, I started feeling restless. See, I’ve always had goals throughout my life. When I was 17, it was to one day work in the MotoGP paddock and for the next 10 years, I worked towards that. When I was 24, I wanted to move to Barcelona, and I spent 6 years to make that happen. But what was next? Where was the next challenge?
There was no way that I was going to leave Spain. I was – and still am – so happy to finally feel like I’m home. Some people suggested to pick up a new hobby, but although I like trying new things, I knew I would never be as passionate about them as I am about motorbikes. It wouldn’t give me a purpose. So what about a new goal in work? Well, I love my work, but I don’t necessarily want ‘more’ of it. I considered starting an agency and manage a team, but although managing a team would have been a new challenge, it wasn’t something I got very excited about. For a second I considered to set a goal of making €100.000 in a year, to be a ‘ 6-figure freelancer’ but just money in itself really isn’t a reason for me to get motivated.
Basically, for some months, I felt a bit lost. I lived in the city I wanted to live in, had a good social life, a good income, liked my job… but I needed something to excite me. Then came August 2018. I realized I was 30 and freelancer, and that I had no idea about a retirement plan. One afternoon I started looking into some options and then I found the FIRE movement – Financial Independence, Retire Early. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but basically, to me it was a perfect framework to get serious about money and start saving. In fact, it made me realize that it would actually be quite achievable to buy my own apartment in the next few years. I had never considered wanting to buy a place, but now that I finally felt home in a country, it made complete sense! Now that I’m happy in the country that I live in, I would love to have a home that’s really mine, that I can renovate, decorate and change as I like. I guess the only thing that’s currently missing from my ‘feeling home’ is my actual home!
For weeks I behaved like a maniac; I read maybe over a hundred blogs posts, listened to hours and hours of podcasts, and added a few books to the mix. I wrote down the numbers, and in true Thalassa-style: I made a plan. A money plan. And according to the plan I made in August 2018, I should be able to buy an apartment in 2023 (and to have paid of my student loan!).
I finally found something again that excited me, that motivated me to jump out of bed every morning! The sudden realization that owning a home was actually possible gave me such a big energy boost. And just like every time something gave me an energy boost, it had a huge effect on all other aspects of my life. In fact, an updated plan based on my current situation estimates that perhaps I could already buy a place in 2022 or even 2021!
Reading the story from 2016, I wrote:
My boyfriend’s life was amazing, with the big house and the fancy restaurants, but it wasn’t my life. I missed motorbike riding. I missed traveling […]. And most of all, I realised I really did want to move to Spain.
And I shared the doubts I had at the time:
Would I ever find a guy who is as amazing as this man? Would I be able to make enough money to be independent? And then, would I be able to make it to Spain and settle there all on my own?
And look at my life now: I made it to Spain, all on my own, and was able to build up my new life here. I can financially support myself and even save money to buy a home in the next few years. I spend my weekends riding my motorbike, eating paella, drinking vino, all in the sun, and since a couple of months now, I often do all of that together with an amazing guy.
Because it’s still quite new, I was doubting if I should mention him (especially because obviously he will be reading this – hi you!), but well, why not. With what I went through back in 2016, I realized how important it is to both have dreams and ideas about the future that don’t necessarily need to be the same but at least don’t exclude each other. So we talk quite a bit about the money plan – now known as the Masterplan – and we talk even more about all the big motorcycle trips we want to make. So far, his vision and mine go quite well together.
Who knows what the future brings; hopefully it will work out, maybe it won’t. But either way, all the things that have happened in the last 12 months showed me that all those doubts I had 3 years ago were perhaps fair, but unnecessary. It wasn’t the easiest year, but not for a second did it make me question myself if I had made the right choices. I guess this was simply a year of growing pains. Now I’m ready for the future. Ready to smash those Masterplan goals. Bring it on!
Lots of love,