The past three years have been a whirlwind– and it hasn’t always been pretty.
I’ve been working nonstop (not the best thing for my friendships, health and marriage). There have been days where I’ve definitely asked myself if it is all even worth it. Why escape a 9-5 to start a 8-midnight?
Last July I touched on these feelings as I explained how I started my business in Spain.
My route was clearly not the most calculated, and there are so many things I would have done differently. That said, I don’t regret a thing. Every mistake has been an opportunity to learn, and every decision has been an opportunity to try something new. And despite the long hours, I’m in this for the long run, growing a business is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done!
For those of you who read Spanish Sabores on a regular basis, thank you! Keeping up with writing is difficult, but I truly love sharing my fascination with food and travel.
So what exactly is it that I’ve been up to? I’m sure some of you are thinking that taking people around town to eat yummy food doesn’t sound that hard…
1. Madrid Food Tour is now Devour Spain
When Madrid food tour started in 2012, I never imagined how many people my small company would be able to reach.
Since starting, we have shown thousands of people around Madrid and Barcelona, introducing them to delicious foods, but more importantly to local food vendors. Our tour partners are incredibly proud to show off their food and culture, and often their smiles are what makes my heart really melt.
We’ve recently renamed our company Devour Tours, and made it our mission to exclusively support small businesses, allowing many of our partners to worry a little less during this time of economic recession.
2. Introducing Devour Seville Food Tours!
I am SO EXCITED to tell you that this spring we will be starting food tours in Seville. (That’s where my time has been going guys!).
Most people who know me know that I fell in love with Spain in Andalusia (while studying abroad in gorgeous Granada), and Seville holds a very special place in my heart as I lived there for three years and met my Alejandro there!
Seville is also where I argue you can find some of the best food in all of Spain. The tapas scene in Seville is simply unrivaled (I’d even argue it’s better than the pinchos scene in Basque Country), and the incredible history of Andalusia makes for some of the most interesting and delicious plates in all of Spain, many of which I hope to share this year on my Spanish recipe blog.
We will launch on April 14 with our Tastes, Tapas, and Traditions of Seville Food Tour. The tour is amazing, and perfectly captures the spirit of Seville. You’ll learn about the city’s food scene, but also about the passionate locals and their defining festivals, Semana Santa and Feria. As usual, will feature small local businesses and delicious food tastings (tapas, wine, churros, jamón, and much more!). Check us out to sign up for a tour (which I will likely be leading in April!).
3. I’ve been back to school
This might be an unpopular thing to say, but ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved to study.
I know this makes me sound like a big dork but so be it, it’s true! I loved school, adored college, I even studied two different degrees by taking summer courses– crazy, huh?
From blogging, to photography, to marketing, in the past few years I’ve had to self teach myself a lot of new skills.
Yet apart from a fantastic wine course I took with The Wine Studio and WSET, school’s been out of session for awhile now. But this year I made a choice to change that, and I’m happy to say I am almost finished with a course called Squared Online, a digital marketing course and certification designed in part with Google. It’s been very informative and I’ve met (albeit virtually) some great people from all around the world.
A couple of weeks ago my hand hovered over the purchase button as I made a last minute choice to sign up for very popular online course called B-School. Its founder, Marie Forleo, is one of the world’s most successful online marketers. I figure anyone who has been so successful certainly has something to teach! I’ve only just started diving in to her materials, but I’m hoping to gain some clarity that will be very helpful going forward with Devour Spain’s expansion, as well as with some other projects I have in the works!
4. Public speaking
Despite the butterflies in my stomach, I really enjoy speaking in public.
Perhaps it’s in my genes, as my father is one of Massachusetts’ best trial attorneys. However, it had been nearly a decade since I’d spoken in public, so I decided to change that.
At the end of last year I spoke briefly on a panel at WTM (World Travel Market) in London. It was a wonderful experience, and totally motivated me to take public speaking to the next level. This year I decided to take my chances and applied to speak at the Women in Travel Summit.
My proposal was accepted, and on March 28th I’ll be speaking in Boston about the different monetization methods women use to earn a living from their blogs. I’ll admit, I’m a bit nervous, but very excited to share my knowledge as well as some very inspirational case studies with the travel community.
I was also invited to present on a panel at the American Embassy in Madrid to talk about the challenges I faced when growing my business as an entrepreneur in Spain. I was thrilled to accept, despite the fact it will be completely in Spanish! I speak this evening (March 17th), wish me suerte!
5. Health issues
It’s not all good news today. Something I’ve been struggling with for a couple of years now is a health issue that I’m tired of keeping quiet.
Today is the first day I’m using dictation software to write a post. It’s uncomfortable. The words aren’t coming out the same way. The software keeps hearing me wrong, and “Andalusia” was just transcribed as “Dane and Lucia”.
But unfortunately my wrists and arms have been suffering from what I can only assume is overuse. For the past two years I’ve been suffering from pain and discomfort, including having my arms fall asleep at night, causing me to wake throughout the night with pins and needles. I’ve had an MRI and EMG test, and luckily all seems okay to the doctors. However, despite their reassurance I’m still in pain, and the issue is very uncomfortable and often depressing and frustrating.
So hopefully I can get the hang of this dictation stuff, and give my poor arms a break!
6. We’ve moved!
We moved in February after one too many problems at our old place, and things have been so busy that I’m not even unpacked yet, and we still need a microwave! We now live in the dead center of Madrid right near the Gran Via Metro, and despite never having thought about living in this part of town, I absolutely love it. My new place has great light and I have a small office in our bedroom that I adore. Perhaps at a later date I’ll do an apartment tour– if the boxes ever get unpacked!
Three years is a long time, and during that time I’ve made some important realizations about life, business, and happiness. And today I feel like sharing some!
- Saying no is more important than saying yes.
- Spending energy and time on things you don’t enjoy will drain you.
- I learn better with printed materials vs ebooks/online.
- A business plan IS important– it can change a million times, but having one is essential.
- Health is everything.
- Positive people create positive people
- You are the only one who can define your own version of success.
- Healthy food and exercise are the best medicine.
- There’s nothing better than waking up to do something you love.
- It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it.
So as this roller coaster life continues, I can only hope to continue to inspire and be inspired, take no day for granted, and put love and positivity into everything I do.
What realizations have you made lately?