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Guest Post: I Left My Job to Be an Au Pair in Spain

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I’m starting a series of guest posts on my blog called “Dream, Dare, Go” (find us on Twitter at #dreamdarego). It’s a set of posts from people who overcame their fears to pursue a daring travel dream. The goal is to inspire you–yes YOU–to get out there and travel (IF it’s what you WANT to do), no more excuses. I’m hoping if you see that others have done it, you’ll start to believe you can do it too. 

The Wherever Writer’s very first guest poster is Kaycee Lagarde, a journalist who recently left her job in Florida to pursue travel and spend the summer in Madrid as an au pair.  She left on a flight yesterday, and just arrived in Madrid this morning! I asked her to write this before she left.


Guest post by Kaycee Lagarde

Kaycee in Amsterdam in 2010
Kaycee in Amsterdam in 2010

Sometimes I wonder if people are born with wanderlust, or if it is something that develops over time.

Either way, I’ve got it.

About a month ago, I was sitting at my desk at the newspaper where I worked (in our windowless office affectionately known as “the cave”), and I took a minute to look around me.

I saw many of my coworkers staring blankly at their computer screens, bags under their eyes, looking burnt out from jobs some of them have been doing for as long as I’ve been alive.

And as much as I loved my job, I thought to myself: “I don’t want that.”

I don’t want to work 40 hours a week, earn a measly ten vacation days a year and eventually retire when I’m too old and tired to really enjoy life anymore.

Yes, I know that is the American way. Find a good job, work hard at it and retire.

But for what?

What are we all working for?

These are the thoughts that began spinning through my mind as I sat at work that day.

What am I working for?

I’ve known for a long time that I want to travel as much as possible, but I began to realize that wasn’t going to happen with my current lifestyle.

So I decided to do something about it.

Here’s where my upcoming adventure comes in.

I began researching being an au pair abroad, something that I had looked into while in college but never got around to doing.

I made a profile with an au pair agency website, figuring that it was unlikely anything would ever come of it.

But of course life has a way of surprising us.

The very next day, I had a message from a family in Madrid, Spain about wanting an au pair for the summer.

I found myself getting excited, then immediately shut myself down.

“You can’t do this.”

I practically reprimanded myself for even considering the possibility.

“You have a job. What about money? What about responsibilities?”

And this was before the family had even offered me the job.

“Just don’t even respond,” I tried to convince myself.

But of course I couldn’t resist.

A few emails and a couple of Skype sessions later, and it was just about official: I was going to live in Spain for the summer.

But first, I had to quit my first “real” job.


“You can’t do this,” I told myself again. “Are you crazy?”

The few days leading up to my final decision consisted of an inner battle between responsible, rational Kaycee and adventurous, spontaneous Kaycee.

Guess which one won?

So to make an already long story just a little longer, I put in my two weeks notice, made the necessary arrangements and booked my flight to Madrid for the summer.

And I’m doing my best not to look back.

When I was telling my boss about my decision (one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a while), she told me something that pretty much confirmed my choice.

“When I was 16, my dad gave me the choice of getting a new car or going on my class trip to Spain for two weeks,” my boss said. “I chose the car, and I’ve always regretted it.”


What is my point in telling you all of this?

Hopefully not to bore you to tears, but to encourage those of you who long for adventure and think you can’t get it.

It’s out there–but you’re not going to find it sitting at a desk.

We all have an idea of what we’d like our lives to be like, but so many of us are guilty of just waiting for life to happen.

I leave you with this paraphrased quote from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” something that had inspired me recently:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, and live the life you have imagined.”

So what are you waiting for?


I don’t know what my plan is when I return from Spain. I might end up working at a desk somewhere until I figure it out, but I hope to be making plans for my next adventure soon after my return.

All I know is that I don’t want to live a life of mediocrity, dreaming about all of the things I’ll do “one day.”

How You Can Help

  • If you have any words of encouragement or advice for me, please feel free to email me at kayceelagarde@gmail.com.
  • Also, I appreciate any prayers my fellow believers can give. I truly believe that God has gotten me this far, and I know He will not abandon me as long as I continue to do my part and work hard to pursue my dreams.
  • I’m terrible at keeping up with Twitter and blogging, but I will be trying to update my Instagram as much as possible while I’m away. If you want to see glimpses from my summer in Madrid, follow me @kayceelagarde.

There may be a blog in the works for the future, we’ll see. But for now, keep up with my dear friend Amy – a.ka. The Wherever Writer. It’s been an honor to guest post on her fabulous blog!


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