From the blog, our 2014 interview with Nancy and Regina aka The Spain Scoop. What has life been like for two Americans now living in Barcelona?
NANCY: Having lived in the same country all my life, I wanted to experience the world anew. Newness meant new food, traditions, architecture, art. I owned a company and designed products for the gift industry; very creative and hard work. All my businesses have involved my creative side. Allowing my creativity to flow, being with beauty and being with creative people are passions.
REGINA: I’m from Portland, Oregon, USA. I left the rain about 11 years ago searching for adventure and sunny weather. That desire took me first to Costa Rica and then for a few years to Guatemala. From Guatemala I moved to Spain, having never been before. Barcelona was my pick because it’s on the sea, near France, and close to great wine! Also the art and architecture appeals to me. Long story short, I had dreamed of living in Spain and made that dream a reality. When I moved in 2005 I didn’t realize that I was moving to Catalonia, which, depending on who you ask, is not Spain.
How did you decide to live in Barcelona?
NANCY: I had never been to Barcelona but had been to other cities in Spain. Barcelona had it all. Mountains. Sea. Seventy museums. I moved as a single woman, knew no one in Spain, and knew I could do very well in a city with many options.
REGINA: Barcelona has the Mediterranean Sea, art, wild architecture and a sunny climate. It’s also more laid-bak and smaller than Madrid. Don’t get me wrong, Madrid is a cool city, but Barcelona is a better fit for me.
Describe Spain in 5 words?
NANCY: Aqua/blue vibrant food wine Art Nouveau architecture
REGINA: Castilian, Basque, Catalan, Galician, Occitan
Are you a serial expat or is Barcelona now home?
NANCY: I live in Barcelona and also spend time in France.
REGINA: I’ve never heard ‘serial expat’ before. I like it! I am not always on the move. Barcelona is my base. Will it always be so? I doubt it. I travel often and when I do I compare the cities I visit to Barcelona and ask myself, Could I live here? So far, Lisbon and Copenhagen have come close, but no place quite compares to Barcelona. I’m open to new places, if they call to me. I’ve been here for eight years and have a dog (The Blog Dog), a Catalan husband, and a flat.
The Spain Scoop – how did that start?
NANCY: With almost 700 posts and counting on The Spain Scoop, I would not have guessed this history was going to unfold. Regina and I met in a writer’s group. We liked each others writing style and felt our styles complimented one another. Regina suggesed we start a fun, expert travel guide to Spain
REGINA: I had heard about blogging back in 2007 and wanted to start one on Barcelona. Later, I met Nancy at a writer’s group in the city (a good place to meet interesting people) and asked her if she wanted to collaborate. She did! We had NO idea what we were doing, but we had a lot of passion. In the end, we decided to feature all of Spain, not just Barcelona. Our site differs in this way from other travel sites, in that we are not global – it’s just Spain, all the time!
Where do you see The Spain Scoop in 5 years?
NANCY: Regina and I attend travel conferences and want to stay on top of the technology in the blogosphere. We will continue to hire consultants to assist us. We want to increase our advertising revenues. We will continue to combine travel info with personal experience. We are not a ‘turn right here,’ ‘directions to the aiport’ kind of travel site.
REGINA: Hmmm, we have so many ideas, and not enough hours in the day. I think it will be interesting to see where blogs and online guides are in 5 years in general. One thing I’d like to see us doing is a eBook guide to several Spanish cities and also tours.
“The problem has always been, that adventure trumps authority, curiosity forgets responsibility, and that the world is too unimaginably large to allow permanence.” – Regina, tell me more
REGINA: Well, just that I think people get too caught up in what they ‘must’ do to think about what they ‘want’ to do. Some might say that it was irresponsible for me to move to Spain without a job, house, or friend to greet me, but I don’t think so. And it wasn’t an easy undertaking to come here alone, but eight years later I know it was the right choice. Generally, I’m restless and feel the need to ‘see it all’, which means being open to moving and changing…evolving. I’m the sort of person who never walks home the same way, always choosing a different route in order to feed the ‘curiosity beast’ or have a mini-adventure within the daily routine.
Favourite childhood book?
NANCY: Babar The Elephant
REGINA: Anything by Roald Dahl. I especially liked ‘The Witches’.
“Balls Under The Christmas Tree” – Nancy, tell us more!
NANCY: My first writing endeavor was a play which I wrote, produced and directed in fourth grade. It was performed in the family dining room. Daisy the cat gave it two yawns. I have no idea what the play was about but imagine it was horribly boring. I loved the creative process.
Regina, what has been your greatest challenge, whether personal or business?
REGINA: As far as our business, The Spain Scoop, the challenge has been technology. Nancy and I had to learn a lot about how to run a professional WordPress site and also hire to our needs. We’re still learning. It’s a challenge to be a computer programmer, social media guru, writer, photographer, manager, editor, accountant, and marketing crack all at once. We do it all, because it’s our passion, but it’s not always easy.
Regina, walking the Camino – we have a few members just about to start. What advice would you give them?
REGINA: I just did the last 110kms, which is the minimum to make it ‘count’ officially. My motivation for doing El Camino was a story I was writing about it. I went with my friend Terje, who I met in Guatemala way back when. We worked at a tequila bar together. It was a lot of fun (El Camino and the tequila bar). Advice: get the right shoes and break them in before you go; pack VERY light like two outfits – one on you and the other in the pack – and a coat and poncho; get into it and meet people! There is such an open and friendly vibe on El Camino that you are sure to make many friends along the way. I’m still in touch with several people I met during my walk.
Nancy, women moving to Spain alone, what advice would you give them?
NANCY: Follow your dreams. Do it. Don’t stress over the details. I moved with no place to live, didn’t know the language, and schelped two suitcases. Join expat groups. Friends you meet through these will become your family. Frustrations are part of the move. Live with it. Know it will get better and enjoy the wonderment of the new.
Your table of 8; who would you invite to dinner and what would you eat
NANCY: Michelle and Barak Obama. Oprah, one of the greatest spiritual leaders and change agents the U.S. has experienced. My two daughters. Georgia O’Keefe. Margaret Sanger. Frank Sinatra.
REGINA: Living in Spain my family is far away on the West Coast of the United States. I miss them. We talk on Skype and whatnot, but I’d choose them everyday over dinner with Joan of Arc or Cleopatra. We’d eat large pans of Fideuà , white wine, and tiramisu for dessert. Yum!
What is on your wish list that you WILL achieve this year?
NANCY: I love my life as it is. The only thing differently I would do is to go back to the States four times a year and visit my family.
REGINA: I have a new goal: one country for every year lived. I’m 31 and I’ve been to 29 countries. I need 2 more ASAP in 2013! So far, Croatia is planned, but I’m not sure what number 31 will be yet. Montenegro?…
Something you would tell your teenage self.
NANCY: Love yourself and value your individually. Don’t try to conform to fit it. Honor your strengths even if they aren’t popular.
REGINA: Pay attention in Spanish class.
Regina, your life would be much simplier if…
REGINA: Fideuà , white wine, and tiramisu were ‘diet-friendly’ foods….
How do we find out more about you
REGINA: I’ve got my own website which is: http://regwb.com/
NANCY: Mine is http:www.nancy-todd.com
AND The Spain Scoop
The Spain Scoop: http://www.thespainscoop.com/ and
Thank you Scoopettes!