A Love Story from Barcelona to Patagonia (and Back): Lisa Hoashi (Ep. 10, Part 2)



Lisa and Manel the day after they met, on a climb up Pedraforca mountain in Catalonia, Spain.


Caren and Lisa near the end of their Patagonia hitchhiking adventure down Chile’s Carretera Austral, crossing by ferry, truck and foot into Argentina.

Mt Hood_Summit.jpg

Lisa and Manel meeting up at the end of the sabbatical in Lisa’s home state of Oregon,



When you finally open yourself up to life’s possibility, amazing things can happen.

This week, host Lisa Hoashi shares the full story of what happened on her sabbatical: everything that unfolded after her last day of work. She’s given up everything: her career, her apartment and most of her possessions, and her life and community in Portland, Oregon.

Her solo journey tests her physical and emotional limits, thanks to an array of surprising characters along the way. A retired Microsoft executive gives her invaluable advice in a Washington old growth forest. A persuasive friend compels her to ditch her plans and instead board a plane to Provence. A Catalan farmer invites her to visit his farm north of Barcelona and she falls in love, both with the place and the man.

Lisa’s journey might have ended here, if it wasn’t for an expiring Schengen visa. Forced to continue her journey, she finds herself alone again (and miserable) in Buenos Aires. Then, a 23-year-old German girl invites her along on a crazy adventure to hitchhike all the way to Tierra del Fuego.

It’s the adventure of a lifetime, but will it take her too far from this new love? This is a story of navigating one series of unknowns to another and listening to your heart at every crossroads, until the way reveals itself at last.

Today, Lisa lives on the farm with her Catalan farmer and their daughter, where she runs her own coaching business for others on similar journeys to hers.


memorable moments

  • What the first few days and weeks were really like after quitting her job (and what she’d do differently).

  • Continuing to feel worried about money – and about what this sabbatical would mean for her career and life in the future.

  • Anxiety especially about whether somehow this break might derail her bigger life goals of wanting to find love and start a family, before it was too late.

  • A sabbatical plan that included a summer camping, backpacking and visiting friends and family in the Western U.S., then several months in Mexico to possibly find a place to live afterward, then a backpacking tour of South America, with a special stop in Chile to visit the family who hosted her as an exchange student 17 years before.

  • Having unexpected people along the way entirely change the course of her journey.

  • Deciding to jettison the plan for a detour to southern Europe: France, Italy and Spain.

  • Using Couchsurfing.com as a way to connect with other travelers and locals as a solo traveler

  • Unexpectedly falling in love with a farmer outside Barcelona, Spain.

  • Complications with visas – and having to continue on the journey as planned.

  • Arriving in Buenos Aires heartsick and unhappy, and how taking a small heart-led action led to the adventure of a lifetime through Patagonia.

  • How a new love survived so much distance and movement.

  • Overcoming regret and shame to reach out to her Chilean host family after years of being out of touch – and finding grace and affection in return.

  • How in the last month of her sabbatical, the way forward became clear: in love, work and where to live.



1. What do you wish you had known before you took your leap?

2. What was the most unexpected thing that came of your leap?

3. For someone who is thinking of doing something similar, what one piece of advice would you offer? 







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