Going to Spain was a bit of an accident. It all started with an Australian construction heavyweight going unexpectedly bankrupt.
Back then, my expiring work visa ended my employment with said company, however Boyfriend planned to see his project managing role through to completion. Since I’m not an Australian citizen and had no way to remain in the country, I chose to wait as nearby as possible. We all know how rare it is for a construction project to go over deadline, but I thought, “Better safe than stuck unexpectedly far apart and irreparably miserable!”
I picked Thailand as my purgatory place – a country I have loved and used as a home-base for years. I’d wait for Boyfriend in “the land of smiles” and catch up on procrastinated medical and dental care.
That leg of the journey planned, we set our sights on America. Back when Boyfriend and I agreed to a long holiday, he said he wanted to go “anywhere, as long as it’s with you.” (Aww…) I persisted, however. The only proactive travel interest I could coax out of him – the USA – fit nicely with my personal goal to return to my homeland every 18 months.
You’d think, in our geographical situation, the cheapest choice would be tickets from Asia or Australia straight to America. However, I urge you to remember “cheap” and “Australia” are diametrically opposed terms, cornering you into an oxymoron every time. We also didn’t have the luxury of knowing our travel dates all that far in advance.
Using my insanely-cheap-plane-ticket strategy, I found a flight to Europe from Asia for just $300. The strategy relies on fleshing out possibilities one wouldn’t normally consider, so I followed it to it’s conclusion, finding Europe to USA tickets for $200. At the time, the best trip from Asia or Australia over the Pacific was well over $1,000. Obviously, the $500 round-about route appealed to two people entering a bout of planned unemployment and looking to experience new places.
Final step: sussing out what we’d do in Europe between landing from Asia and taking off to America. The obvious move upon arrival in Frankfurt was to visit two good, Germany-dwelling friends of mine for a week each. But what to do with the five other springtime-weeks preceding our Stockholm to L.A. flight?
Countries were proposed, cheapest flights were assessed, weather and temperature averages were checked. Boyfriend and I, unfortunately, do not have temperature comfort zones in common. My average body temp hovers at about 1,000 degrees, while a slight breeze in Tahiti could start him shivering.
Me: Oh, look! We could fly to Sweden after Germany for, like, five dollars!
Boyfriend: What’s the average temp in April and May in Sweden?
M: Hmmm… says here about 40°F. Not too bad.
B: What’s that in Celcius?
M: I dunno. I would guess maybe, like, 10°C or 15°C?
Oh, wait. The conversion thingy says 4°C.
M: Okay… well, we could do Germany to Spain, Spain to Sweden for $100?
B: What’s the weather like in Spain in April and May?
M: Umm… the best you’re going to find in Europe.
B: Spain, it is.
And that, my friends, is how we ended up touring wine country in Madrid, eating fartons in Valencia, settling into a beachfront apartment on the Mediterranean island of Minorca, helping Catalonian farmers on the French border, and discussing the future of our relationship in Barcelona.