The Intentional Expat

Living Your Best Life Abroad


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#TBT: Bienvenidos to the Cold and Flu Season (2009)

Every Thursday I publish a post from another blog I used to have in honor of Throwback Thursday (#TBT). This week’s post is from exactly five years ago (October 2009) when I’d been living in Madrid and working as an English teaching assistant for a little over a month. It seems appropriately timed since Madrid’s weather is just as strange right now. Although Madrid’s weather patterns seem to have remained the same, my life has changed a lot over these past five years though and I’m hoping my immune system is quite a lot stronger too!  Continue reading


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Walking the Walk: Taking Pleasure in the Small Things

Each Thursday (in honor of Throw Back Thursday #tbt), I feature a blog post from the past and for the last three weeks I’ve been doing a series on my experience doing a section of Spain’s El Camino de Santiago last year. Last week I wrote about how my second day on El Camino taught me the importance of relying on your friends to help you push forward during tough (especially rainy) times. This week I’m on day three and although there was less rain, the distance and hills made for a long and exhausting day. 

Day three on El Camino would be our longest of all, with 28 km (17 miles) lying between Palas de Rei and that afternoon’s destination of Arzua. The prior day the hostel receptionist had warned us that this section of the trip was incredibly difficult. Even people who had completed the entire Camino several times agreed that this part was the hardest. Continue reading


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Walking the Walk: Getting Set for the Camino de Santiago

Welcome to my latest #tbt Blogger style post. This time I’m trying something new by featuring a series of blogs from the past. For the next few Thursdays you can read about my experience walking the last 100km of the Camino de Santiago, a popular experience among those seeking an alternative tourism experience, a chance to reflect and meditate, or the opportunity to get some great exercise and see the beautiful countryside of NW Spain. While I knew I wanted to do the Camino, I never expected the ultimately life changing experience it would turn out to be.  Continue reading


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When I Get Homesick, I Stop Being Homesick and Be Awesome Instead

As part of my #tbt blogs, I´m posting a story I wrote back in May 2010. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)was created in order to help individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. However, many of the techniques used by this discipline can be helpful for people dealing with other psychological problems, or even emotional distress that can happen to any of us on any given day. One of the techniques DBT uses to deal with distressing emotions is ¨Opposite to Emotion Action.¨ In short, it means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing by carrying out an action that is going to have positive effects rather than negative ones. For example, if you wake up feeling sad and don´t want to get out of bed, you get out of bed. If you´re angry and feel like hurting someone, you walk away. It doesn´t mean you suppress your emotions, it means you put your energy towards doing something that may ultimately help to decrease the distressing feelings. And it can be a great trick to use to fight homesickness.  Continue reading


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Orange Tree Lined Avenues and Flamenco Dresses on Every Corner: My First Taste of Sevilla

I’ve decided to bring the #tbt trend that’s flooding social media sites each and every Thursday right here to my blog to post some of my old e-mails and blog posts from the past. I hope these give you a glimpse of how I fell in love with travel, made my dream of living in Spain a reality and figured out how to navigate the experience of living abroad. This particular e-mail is from Spring 2005 on my first trip abroad. Visiting Sevilla during their annual April Fair gave me and my fellow travelers a once in a lifetime experience that felt like something out of a movie. Continue reading


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Getting Bit by the Travel Bug

Back in March 2005, I travled abroad for the first time. For 12 weeks I traveled through Spain, France, Austria and Germany along with 30 students from my university and 2 professors. I hadn´t been in Madrid for more than a week when I wrote this email home to family and friends. I was already learning that travel was going to gift me with awkward moments that would turn out to be great stories to write home about (I would later say that they were ¨blogworthy¨). I´m still not sure when and why my initial dream of going abroad was born, but once I got a taste of travel…I was hooked!

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