Bohemian Agent Blog

Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, manifesting your own happy, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
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Happy 2018 Travel Gals and Guy Pals!

Happy New Year bohemian friends and Happy one year anniversary to Bohemian Agent! Woohoo!  

Thanks for sticking with me for the past year or for joining in with me somewhere along the way these past twelve months.  

I promised you a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, manifesting your own happy, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.   I'd say it's time for me begin to delivering the most exciting part of this journey with you. Your journey and manifesting what happiness means to you!

I''d like to remind you that all roads traveled began with a dream.  That's what got me here sharing my stories with you in the first place.  Do you remember my big impossible idea of moving to Spain that nobody (including myself) knew how on earth I would ever pull off?  Well, I remember it like it was yesterday and it was exactly two years ago nearly to the day from this very moment.  Wow, time flies when you are having fun.  But, it also flies by when you aren't, hence the reason for this little flame under your behind to get you thinking about where you'd like to go this year and those to follow. 

Everything starts with a first step, so here is one to take if you so desire:  Where do you want to go?  

Start flexing your annual travel muscles.  The key here is to get clear about your priorities and not giving a vague answer like "everywhere."  The person that focuses on going everywhere may be going nowhere fast if you get my drift, so get clear and put your visualizing cap on and look into your crystal ball of happiness.   What does happy travel look like to you?  Is it warm?  Is there a beach?  Is it tropical?  Are there mountains?  Is it near a city?  

Okay, that was just a mini warm up to get your juices flowing, but you cannot stay that vague for long if you want to truly set sail on a 2018 journey.  

It's time to get specific.  What country do you want to visit?  Specifically what city or cities will you want to see when you arrive?  Maybe you want to visit two countries nearby one another and a few big cities in both?  The important thing here is to start focusing on the WHERE not the HOW and let yourself fester here for a little while to get your heart pitter pattering and excited.  Dream big!  You never know what type of travel specials or opportunities that may manifest once you have reached clarity and told The Universe that you are ready for this to happen in 2018.    

Give it a try!  Write down three different countries that you would love travel to in the next 6 to 12 months.  Spend time on Google Maps or tap into your inner Rocky Dennis (from the movie Mask starring Cher) and pull out a real map with some thumbtacks to claim your journey the old school way. Push pins and dreams, baby!  Start with three countries you have always wanted to see and get excited about the next manifesting step that we will take together once you have given your dream destination for 2018 some thought.  

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I'll send one summary email a week on Monday. Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Making time between destinations

Tiny adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure was making time in between destinations count.  And, in the end, wasn't this what life was all about anyway?  

Marianna was my very first friend here in the cava capital of Spain. She was one of those instantly special people who took me into her home with colossal love and openness from the very first day we met. It was my pleasure to make time for my pal Marianna as much as possible in our little village, but it was a bigger treat when those meetings happened by chance encounter!  

Today was one of those days!  Hooray!  I had gotten used to walking through the wine village from cava company to cava company teaching English to the local executives and their employees.   I also taught English lessons at a small cultural center in the wine village consisting of groups or one-to-one private lessons with children through retirees wanting to learn English as a second language.  

It's true that I have always been a fast walker.  And while I'd like to believe I have forever taken in the world around me no matter what my pace, it absolutely wasn't true.  Thankfully, here in Spain, I was stopping to smell the roses more than I ever had before.  It was still on occasion that my old habits reverted to the tunnel vision of getting from one destination to the other while missing the beauty of what's happening in between targets, but I tried to make an effort not to do this abroad.   Wasn't life, in the end, what happens between reaching our bigger goals anyway?    

Gratefully so, I was aware of that today and while being present happened to see my beautiful pal Marianna sitting at an outdoor cafe with her head down immersed in a notepad as I strolled by her.  

That's right!  I did a lot of strolling these days, and even my brisk walks had me paying more considerable attention to taking these moments in and being present.  

Today Marianna inspired me to stop my walking altogether and have a seat with her to enjoy a small window of time between teaching classes.   

Maximizing these short windows of time and taking breaks seemed to be very cultural here in Spain and I was getting used to this refreshing pace and the impact it was having on my life experiences abroad in the tiniest of moments in time. 

What special treat might you notice in between your destinations today?   

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I'll send one summary email a week on Monday. Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Tiny doses of appreciation

Tiny adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure was a kind encounter with my neighbor which reminded me that when I attempted to see the world through a positive lens with gratitude; I received love back in the most unsuspecting ways.  

It was now the beginning of April, and while most experiences abroad were rather pleasant ones, my shaky relationship with the wifi in Spain is one of the few that continues to plague me to this very day.

Not a significant problem in the world, but this little one was nagging at me due to my line of work.  Frustrated and unable to lesson plan to teach English, I took refuge in one of my neighborhood spots called Tabalots to have a coffee and connect to the free wifi.  It was a small cozy place, and on this very Friday, it was beginning to pack up full of people.  

My coffee turned into a cava (Spain's version of champaign), and while drinking it, I made friends with the man next to me that happened to be my neighbor.  We spoke back and forth using my translator app (a lifesaver for me here in Spain), and I told him that I was at the cafe to use the free wifi since I could not get a good connection at home.  

The next morning I decided to visualize only good things to come and finally committed to staying in my apartment long enough to make sense out of signing a short-term contract with the local internet provider.  Upon walking back from signing on the dotted line with the internet company, I ran into my new neighbor friend again near the apartment.  He saw me, and as I approached, he handed me a piece of paper containing his very own wifi code for access to his connection.  How sweet!  I told him it would only be for a week or two until mine was connected and muchas gracias (many thanks) for being so kind and thoughtful.

The following day my neighbor asked me how the wifi was.  I profusely thanked him, so he assumed that it was working great!  However,  it was his random act of kindness that I profusely appreciated him for.  Unfortunately, as it turned out, his connection didn't reach far enough to work in my place.  Nonetheless, I was so moved by his sweet gesture.  It was just another reminder that when I attempted to see the world through a positive lens with gratitude; I received love back in the most unsuspecting ways.  These tiny doses of appreciation would make for some of my grandest of tiny adventures in Spain.  

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I'll send one summary email a week on Monday. Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

The Foreign Fifteen begins!

Image provided by Cafe de Placa Facebook Page

Tiny adventures in Spain: Today's tiny adventure had me joining a gym in wine country, skipping the workout, discovering my first menu del dia (menu of the day) and topping it off with a tour of the local chocolate factory for the free samples!  Hey, nobody ever said I did things in the right order.  

What is it about joining the gym?  It's the lesson I never learn.  

As much as I always tried to convince myself this was a good idea, being cooped up in a small space with sweaty people does not trigger an athletes-high for me.  Why I thought my attendance or attention span for boring indoor workouts would change overseas is beyond me.  

It sure seemed like the right thing to do while coming to the end of my first winter here in Spain.  It was now beginning to look a bit like Spring was ahead.

Today, I decided to skip the workout and take those un-used workout clothes back out that front door of the gym on signup day and celebrate this effort with a proper lunch.  It would be my first introduction to the glorious Menu del Dia (Menu of the Day) in Spain.  Oh, boy!  The menu is offered midday in Spain and typically comes with three courses (usually giving three options to pick from per course), wine or beer and coffee at the end are all traditionally included.  It is the bargain of the century for any hungry food lover here in Spain usually at a set price starting anywhere from 9 to 15 Euros depending on where you go and the options you have.  You'll find at most places the rate hovers around the 10 Euro mark.  This culinary discovery would eventually earn me my first "Foreign Fifteen."  Ha-ha!  That's right people, coined here first on Bohemian Agent, "The Foreign Fifteen" which would be those fifteen or so pounds you potentially gain when you move to a foreign country and sample everything in sight the first year.  

I have always been a late bloomer.  So, while most people took on those extra pounds their freshman year in college with "The Freshman Fifteen" (the excess weight put on during the first year of school), I was getting some booty in my forties overseas.  I have had a ball eating tapas and sampling drinks like it's been my job here in Spain.  Today all I saw was the writing on the wall in front of me.  That wall being the menu out front, which read: 

Three-courses (I choose to start out with a paella, then moved on to a beef stew as my primary and selecting a flan for dessert), an alcoholic beverage of choice (mine was a glass of cava), a bottle of water, and a cafe con leche, all for only 14 Euros.  You had me at cava-included (Spain's version of champagne) in a village known for this bubbly beverage all throughout Spain!  I took every last bite on this beautiful day.   

On my walk back to the house, I got a whiff of that local chocolate factory again, but unlike my last visit attempt to see inside, it was opened up for business today as I walked by the front door.  I strolled right into the delightful discovery of a room full of free chocolate samples.  Guess who got their sample face on today?  Hallelujah!  

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I'll send one summary email a week on Monday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Easter brunch on the Orange Blossom Coast

Tiny adventures in Spain: Today's tiny adventure lands me, an American-style Easter brunch in Spain on the Orange Blossom Coast and a digestive walk back home in wine country. 

What is it about stuffing your face on holidays in America that is so glorious?  Man, I love it!  Thus, there was no better way to start out Easter morning than sitting seaside with three fine Americans doing just that, brunch-style here in Spain on the Orange Blossom Coast which is what the Valencia area is known for.  I had been one lucky duck to make the acquaintance of an American couple via the art community from back home in Denver.  Even more grateful to be on my second invite to their beachfront home on the Mediterranean sea for nearly ten days.  Today it was time to say goodbye and get back to work where I lived in wine country (it sounds so daunting when put like that).  Ha-ha!  

It was quite a trek back to wine country from their beachfront home in Xeraco, Spain.  15 minutes by taxi to get to the Xeraco train station, 1 hour by train to get to Valencia, 4.5 hours on the bus to Barcelona and another 45 minutes to my wine village in Sant Sadurni by train.  Luckily, I filled my belly with a gourmet-style brunch prepared by my American pal Eric paired up with a Mimosa cocktail but created with a Spanish twist using Cava (Spain's version of the bubbly) instead of Champaign and Valenciana oranges freshly picked by a local farmer earlier that week.

It took hours to get back home, but by the time I did my tiny village was dead as a doornail, and I felt like walking off my travel legs a bit in the vineyards surrounding Sant Sadurni.  I was no church-goer, but Easter is a holy day and nature had become my spiritual stomping grounds here in Spain (mainly the sprawling vineyards in my tiny wine village).  The walks through this nature sanctuary opened my heart and eased my mind allowing for time to become present with myself and my thoughts.  

I had become accustomed to taking these walks alone, but today a man who didn't speak a lick of English paired up with me on the trail. I was previously told these vineyards backed up to another much smaller neighboring village, but I didn't know my way well enough to find it myself. But, today was becoming a triple adventure type of day now, wasn't it? Woohoo! Brunch on the Med, mas transit galore to get home and a stroll in the vineyards back in wine country to discover a new tiny pueblo next door.  I thanked the Universe and my new friend in the vineyards (in Spanish of course, Gracias) for an excellent ending to Easter day.

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I'll send one summary email a week on Monday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Hello, Costa Blanca!

Tiny adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure would land me at the top of a castle overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in a gorgeous beach town called Denia, along the Costa Blanca in Spain.

Today's tiny adventure was so exciting that it ultimately influenced me to relocate my art-obsessed tush directly out of the Barcelona region of Spain and straight to the Costa Blanca (the white coast) along the Mediterranean Sea.  What?  Did I just say that?  Didn't I come to Spain to revisit my dreams of being a creative in Barcelona but in a new more mobile wanderlust kind of way?  Yes, I sure did!  

You heard me, right friends.  I never thought I would pack my little suitcase (or more descriptively, an extremely large van to the maximum, with all my precious belongings) to leave the artsy city of Barcelona and head south to choose the Costa Blanca along the Med as my new home.  But, my sisters and brothers, that is just what I did about six months after my first visit here to Denia, Spain!   This trip on this very tiny adventure, was the one that planted the first seed for my eventual move down the coastline and into the Alicante region of Spain.  

So, what the heck happened here that was so magical?  Oh, I don't know maybe it was the artisan crafted vermut for a mere 1.80 that came with a free tapa at the first adorable joint that we stopped at in Denia, as we made our way through the curvy beachfront streets lined with Vespa scooters in this beautiful port city?  Or perhaps it was the breathtaking view from the top of a seaside castle that won my heart or the magical vibrations from the scenic mountain Montgo that often was the backdrop to some of the most interesting angles in this beach city?  It's anybody's guess, but the sole purpose of this tiny adventure today was to take a taxi ride from the beach town my friends currently lived in (Xeraco) and see what this more substantial, more vibrant beach town (Denia) was all about.  

My friends were looking for a potential rental that would sit directly in front of the Med.  When they asked for my feedback on whether to consider the one we saw on this tiny adventure today, my two thumbs couldn't perk up fast enough.  You bet I told them to take it and you can bet they did just that!   Denia, we all loved you at first sight!  Oh, and what a place it is!  Say hello to my little friend, the one and only, Denia, Spain.  

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I'll send one summary email a week on Monday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

Tiny adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure was to see one of the 12 treasures declared by Spain called the City of Arts and Science building (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) by way of a sunken city park called the Turia in Valencia

This discovery was a happy accident during a tiny walking adventure through the city of Valencia.  Two friends and I made our way through Valencia using the Turia (a former riverbed that was drained out and turned into a beautiful sunken city park).  We walked and walked our little hearts out, all the way to the very end of this picturesque sunken beauty (which allows access to a most of the city without the use of the roads above).  You know I love myself a good sunken treasure "Goonies style," especially when it leads directly to one of the most valued 12 treasures of Spain.    

This tiny adventure couldn't have been more stress-free to complete and all the while passing by gardens, flowers, walking trails, ponds, and cafes.  Valencia, I was made for loving you baby, and you were made for loving me!   The adventure is seriously just built right into this under-rated Spanish city.  Being the third largest in Spain, it doesn't get nearly the cool cred that Barcelona does, but let me tell you, it isn't a place to miss if you are traveling to this side of the world.  I have loved every moment that I've spent in the city of Valencia.

Anyway, back to one of the 12 treasures of Spain that even George Clooney himself couldn't stop raving about.  Clooney embarked on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known as "Tomorrowland" in his feature film set in this very place.  Yes, the place is known as the one and only "City of Arts and Sciences building (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.  This space-age shaped structure took 3 x more than the 300 million that they budgeted to build it and is worth a look if you are heading to the city of Valencia for a stress-free afternoon adventure.

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I'll send one summary email a week on Monday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Fallas de Valencia

Hello friends!  It's been a while since I have told a tiny tale of my adventures here in Spain.  Did you think I had forgotten about you?  No way, Jose (and I said that in my best Spanish accent)!  I'm back to pick up exactly where I left off.  

Now, where was that?  Oh, yes!  The Fallas de Valencia!  One of Spains biggest celebrations was my next grander than tiny adventure to be had.  As a creative person, I was about to be in for a citywide treat here in the inspiring community of Valencia.

I have made a piece or two of original artwork in my day, but never did I create something with my heart and soul and then publically set it on fire.  Ha-ha!  Yes, you heard me right!  These fun-loving Spaniards are always stepping it up a notch to keep things interesting around here.  The name, Fallas, references not only the title of this crazy event but also the original monuments that are burnt down to commemorate St. Joseph.  

Each neighborhood in Valencia erects a montage of gigantic artistically made paper mache ninots (Valencian for puppets) in a competition to win the best in show.  Each of these creations that take approximately one year to create and are firecracker-lined to ensure that they will inevitably light up and burn to the ground on the final night of the celebration.

 Valencia, you so crazy!   The annual themes are pre-agreed up and usually take a satirical jab at the latest and greatest political situations along with tons of sexual references and provocative posing  

There are different stories behind the history of this unique celebration.  One of them was that artisans initially burnt broken artifacts that they saved through the winter to celebrate the Spring Equinox.  The situation has evolved itself since the middle ages and has become quite a spectacular show worth a visit by today's standards.   Over time, with the intervention of the church, this event slowly began to coincide with the celebration of St. Joseph. 

What you can expect at the Fallas de Valencia: tons of thunderous fireworks, elaborate parades performed by each of the neighborhoods to represent their spectacular Fallas and the inevitable burning of these beauties around midnight on March 19th each year.  

I can sit here and talk about this event all day long, but you just need to pack your bags and see it for yourself for the real Valencian experience of a lifetime.  

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I'll send one summary email a week on Monday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Bohemian Agent has been traveling, hooray!

Bohemian Agent is traveling!  Stories coming soon.  

Enjoy your Monday soul sisters and brothers!

xo

Jeanne

Spanish Grandpa's in a sand ditch, oh my!

Tiny adventures in Spain:  Today's tiny adventure would be helping a couple of Spanish Grandpa's out of a sand ditch and getting an invite to dinner on my first day of vacation in Xeraco, Spain!  

It had only been a couple of weeks since my first trip to Xeraco, Spain and my very first love affair with the city of Valencia.  My fabulous new friends had invited me back to their home to relax some more near the sea, to explore Las Fallas (one of Spain's biggest celebrations), and to enjoy my first Easter holiday with my new family away from home.   Who would say no to any of that?  Not this gal, so I was heading south of Barcelona on a road trip, hooray!  

It would be the first time I took all transport directly to their current hometown of Xeraco straight from Barcelona.   This journey consisted of a 45-minute train from my wine village to Barcelona, 4.5-hours from Barcelona to Valencia, 45-minutes from Valencia to Xeraco and a cab ride to the sea with the only off-season driver that didn't speak English from here.  Luckily, I had a ton of handy apps to help me along the way, and my gracious hosts awaited my arrival with the one cabby in Xeraco to help me navigate to their home with the driver.   Phew, I made it!  My friends had some work to do at the start of the trip, so I did what I loved best, which was to walk and explore their little beach town by the sea on foot with my trusty camera.  

From this small Mediterranean town, I could see the coastline for the next biggest beach town named Gandia, so I headed in this direction along the beach for an exploratory adventure.  As I made my way down the beach, I veered in and out of the first line of homes and streets if I saw anything interesting along the way.  As I made my way off the beach and over a bridge and then back onto the beach, I saw two older gentlemen drive a big Mercedes in front of me heading straight toward the sand.  While thinking this was odd, it wasn't until I got closer to the beach again that I saw these same two gentlemen and their large car stuck in the sand.  It's like I had a severe case of Deja Vu: a stuck car, two men alone and nobody else helping.  Well, I had to put an end to this lack of citizen chivalry again!  Dun Dun Duuuunnnnnnn!

I saw the two stranded men and darted toward the sand to help them.  Naturally, they were Spanish speaking, and so I did my best with my translator app to communicate with them about how I might help.  As I mentioned, the two men were elderly.  One was now in the driver's seat and the other left by his lonesome to push this massive car out of the sand.  I began to press the vehicle with the cute little Spanish Grandpa to try and move it toward the concrete.  As other people now saw a woman come to the rescue of these two old men, they began to join in to help remedy the situation as a team.  All it takes is one to start an army of good, and that is just what we did!  A surfer camping along the sea came to our aid, along with a couple walking the beach from Scottland.  Together we pushed and pressed and finally got the car back on track to its final destination of Gandia.  Woohoo!  

The driver of the car was so incredibly grateful that he insisted I give him my contact information so he could treat me to a meal on my trip.  What a way to make new friends.  And so, my first day in Xeraco ended with an invite to dinner, which I, unfortunately, had to decline.  But I went to sleep with a smile that night knowing that I had done a little good in the world that day. 

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I'll send one summary email a week on Monday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

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