In 2008, I had the privilege of living and working in Mallorca for 1 year during my career with Meliá Hotels & Resorts. I fell in love with the island and vowed that one day after I get married, I would return with my family to spend some time there. After constantly hearing about me rave about Mallorca and its beauty, Sina agreed that it was time to spend some time there. So we planned for eight months to spend the summer of 2018 with our girls on one of the most stunning islands in the world.
Mallorca has so much to offer. Palma de Mallorca is a vibrant city teeming with nightlife and full of history. The beaches of Mallorca are incredible, and each one has its own unique offering. There are charming towns in the mountains and on the coasts that too many people never take the time to visit.
Spending three months in Europe changed our lives. Even though Sina is from Austria originally, she has not lived in Europe since high school. As an American, I believe there are things about the cultures in Europe that we should look at emulating. In Mallorca, people work to live, they do not live to work. They take the time to enjoy life and the phenomenal island that they call home.
The time in Mallorca was extremely valuable for us as a family. Since I work for a Canadian company, I was able to spend at least some time with my kids every morning before people in the US and Canada started waking up around 11am to 12pm Spain time. Granted, I usually had to continue working before and after dinner, but that isn’t much different when I’m at home on the East Coast. The fact that the girls were on summer vacation certainly contributed to our ability to spend more time together.
As you get older, it can be difficult to have a close group of friends. The people that I consider friends, from college or grad school, live all over the world and I rarely get to see them. Here in Charlottesville, there are plenty of nice people that we enjoy spending time with, but that’s different than having close friends. On one hand, there is a limit to how much people want to let you into their lives. As an example, when someone throws a birthday party for their kids, it is typically limited to 2 hours and then it is understood that everyone is to leave. It feels like “please come to my house so that my child can have a party but then get out.” Maybe we just don’t fit in here. In Mallorca, we felt like the friends we have there just ‘get us’ and we could sit around for hours just talking about life, love and happiness.
Here in the United States, our lives revolve too much around money. I sit down in my seat on United Airlines and by default I’ve got the CNBC ticker tape in my face. Ever day I open my mailbox at home and have to carry the armful of useless brochures and fliers to the recycle bin because of all the companies that bought my data in an attempt to sell me something. Not to mention the spam phone calls I get from robots telling me about that business loan that I’ve been approved for, or the CIGNA health plan that they are selling. More importantly, our work consumes our lives in this country. This is very different in Europe.
For some reason, people in Europe take more time and energy to dress nicely, even if they are just popping out to the grocery store to buy some eggs. Not everyone… but here in the United States you have to really look for someone who has gone out of their way to dress nicely. It makes a difference when you walk down the street and people are fashionably dressed. This does not mean they are wearing expensive name brands or fancy suits. It just means they put some thought into combining colors and expressing themselves through fashion instead of throwing on the first pair of jeans or sweat pants they could get their hands on.
I don’t know why it took living in Mallorca for the summer to wake up and realize that I have been putting off doing the things that I really enjoy for far too long. Photography, film making, music… these are all things that I want to spend some time on each week. Entrepreneurship is a great way to kill any chance of spending time on hobbies unless you can somehow incorporate those into your work. Over the summer I was able to take some time and spend it learning how to mix music and beats in Garageband. I created the mix used in the video above. I wonder if one can be sued for copyright violations if the music is changed enough. Comments anyone? Since we have been back and the girls are learning to play the piano, I have also started to play a little bit each day and get back into the music I used to play when I was younger.
It was only three months, but it had a huge impact on our lives and our outlook. It was difficult to come back home. While we love our home and it was extremely difficult to leave our pets with house-sitters, something just didn’t feel right after we came back. Sina and I are not the type of people to accept the status quo and we tend to follow our instincts. So we have decided to move to Paris for a year. I plan to blog about our travels and experiences over the next year.