This week, we’re happy to welcome Connor and Clinton Zehr (our sons) as guest contributors for our blog. We hope you enjoy.
Connor – I need to give a disclaimer about having cool parents. When you tell people that your parents have decided to take a year off to live abroad, the response is inevitably: “Why?” Most assume they have retired, or we have family or some kind of connections to Barcelona. Then you tell them that in actuality, they just sort of had a wild hair to take a year off of work to live in a foreign country, which in turn has led to a renaissance of sorts that includes, but is not limited to: Painting, 500-mile pilgrimage hikes, getting in shape, blogging, and various other mediums of “enlightenment”. Which is great, right?!
And then you look in the mirror. Next thing you know, you’ve got a couple of super cool parents, and you are just their lame, unenlightened child who still gets excited about a cheesy gordita crunch from Taco Bell. So to all those who think its sooooo cool to have hip parents, just be prepared to have to examine and cope with your own uneventful life!
In all seriousness, I feel extremely blessed to be able to see the example my parents have set in their recent adventures. I’ve been blessed with a great job out of college, but sometimes I have wondered if I should be out exploring and traveling in my youth. They have showed me that it’s not an either-or decision. Thanks Mom and Dad for facilitating this awesome trip!
Question #1: You’ve both expressed that you enjoy traveling, why?
Connor – For the last year and a half, with starting a new job and studying for my financial licenses, my life has been very structured. This trip has been a great get away. Traveling really opens your horizons and shows you different ways of living. If you haven’t really experienced how other people live, you have nothing to compare your life to. I realize how easy it is to become engrained in doing things a certain way.
Clint – I agree. When our parents told us that they were moving to Barcelona, we were really happy for them. They said their goal was to re-charge and re-focus. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting anything like that for me, but I was surprised. It’s amazing how traveling to a new country shakes you from your normal routines and re-focuses you on your goals.
Question #2: Have you been surprised by anything you’ve experienced on this trip?
Clinton – I was surprised at how appealing the lifestyle and culture is in Spain. I could definitely see myself living here, or at least returning. I love the beach. I love the type of food they eat. I was also surprised by the Picasso Museum. It was really interesting to see how his art changed over time.
Connor – I was surprised at how comfortable it is here. It’s been a while since I took high school Spanish, so I was a little worried about going to a country with another language. But, if you’re willing to feel little uncomfortable with communication, it is easy to traverse a city like Barcelona. There was nothing that kept us from getting around. And, the Picasso Museum was great. I’d definitely go back to that again.
Question # 3: What were some of your favorite foods?
Connor – Everything was great. I really liked the “Full English” breakfast we had in Wales: Sausage, bacon, black pudding, eggs, mushrooms, beans, tomato, and fried toast. The fried toast was something else. In Barcelona, the churros and chocolate were incredible.
Clinton – It was really fun to go to St. Catherine’s market in Barcelona. There were a lot of foods there that I had never seen before; it made me want to try all of it. In England, my favorite was the different flavors of crisps (potato chips). My favorites were Marmite (tasted like soy sauce) and the flame grilled steak crisps.
Connor – Yeah, the crisps were great… Walkers cheese and onion flavor is my favorite.
Question #4: You flew from Atlanta to Istanbul to Barcelona…and then we flew to London and took a train to Cardiff. That’s a lot of time in travel. Are you reading anything interesting?
Clinton – I’m currently reading Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance. Reading this book, and then traveling to Spain, England and Wales has made me realize that there are social classes that exist in every nation and there are pros and cons with every social class.
Connor – I’m currently reading, The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham. It will take me a while to get through it. I’ve been told by many people that it is full of a lot of great insights. I am excited about learning some new perspectives as I want to continue to further my understanding on investing.
Question #5: What was it like for you to visiting Wales and seeing the places where you once lived and went to school?
Connor – It was really fun to see everything in Wales. A lot of memories came back: our town (Cowbridge), our home (Downs Farm), our school, Southerndown Beach and Ogmore Castle…and it was really fun to see some people that we knew when we lived there, like Graham Cooksey and the Goodings.
Clinton – Yeah, we had a good time with Simon and Mel Gooding. It was fun to chat with them about the similarities and differences in our experiences growing up in Wales and the USA.
Question #6: So, what are your thoughts on future travel…
Clinton – I’m definitely coming back to Spain.
Connor – I definitely want to do more travel. I would like to go to more places in the UK. I’d also like to go to Northern England, Scotland, Ireland…and I’d love to travel to Normandy.
Question #7: Any final thoughts?
Connor / Clinton – We had a lot of great conversations with a lot of people…That was one of the best parts of the trip.