A Parallel Universe After a Leap: Laura Tobaruela (Ep. 12)



Laura Tobaruela found her leap brought her huge gains in self-confidence and the realization that there are many ways of arriving at a destination in life. Recently, she found a way to begin singing professionally, something she’d long wanted to do.

South Rim of the Grand Canyon.jpg

Pictured here at the beginning of her sabbatical in 2018, on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Nevado de Toluca. Mexico.jpg

Here, hiking up to Nevado de Toluca in Mexico. Laura never imagined spending so much time in North America. She wants to now make her home in British Columbia, with the occasional trip to Mexico for a “Latin recharge”.



While many people would dream of taking their sabbatical in Barcelona, Laura Tobaruela left that city because she felt that if she stayed put, living this typical urban life, with a comfortable office job and apartment, she would regret it later.

So Laura planned and set off on a sabbatical trip, even though it wasn’t a common thing to do within her culture. And even though the financial crisis that had gripped Spain made many people around her even more risk averse.

Laura initially intended to travel for a year, yet continues her journey even now three and a half years later.

Along the way she’s made many personal discoveries that have changed everything about how she views her future.

In this interview, Laura talks about the deeper, more spiritual change that can come from stepping out of your known world and into a “parallel universe.” How a leap like this builds self confidence. Opens up new possibility. Unlocks your creativity. And reveals what you most value and how you want to live your life – and where.


memorable insights

  • A sabbatical that was inspired by a desire to travel, and also to have time to really understand and discover herself.

  • Feeling like if she didn’t act soon, she would never do it. Life with a job and apartment in Barcelona was comfortable; it seemed like it would easily trap her.

  • Deciding to take this risk of leaving for a sabbatical even in the midst of Spain’s financial crisis (which began in 2008). It was actually motivating to leave then, because of how depressing the atmosphere of worry and concern about money was. "I was sure that outside Spain there was another view of the issue."

  • How culturally, it’s quite uncommon for people to make a big change like this.

  • Actually being so scared of her leap that she worried that her plane would crash.

  • How a big motivation for taking the trip was to prove to herself she could do it solo as a woman.

  • Learning that there are many different ways to arrive at a place. “If you want something, you will find a way.”

  • Discovering that she wanted to pursue music – and a professional musical career – and that she wants to live outside the city, close to nature in a place where she can grow her own food.

  • Discovering two places she loves in the world – the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, and Mexico.

  • What she loves about British Columbia: The combination of rural and wealth. That the people are very calm, kind and relaxed.

  • What goes into thinking about where to settle down.

  • The decision of moving far from home – what goes into a decision to be so far from family, when you’re close to them. The enjoyment and importance of establishing her own life apart from her family – and creating her own family in the places where she travels.

  • Learning that there are so many ways to travel that are not linked to budget. “A whole new world opened up to me as soon as I left.”

  • That the world of travel and sabbaticals is like a “parallel universe” and you don’t know all the possibilities inside it until you take the first step and go.

  • The importance of being clear about your goals in your sabbatical – so that wherever you are, you can be working together those goals.


3 QUESTIONS I ASK EVERY GUEST (and my answers)

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? 



The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz
Women who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Facebook trip page (I soon stopped posting regularly, but you will find a good progression and itinerary)




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