Why Spanish?

I am learning Spanish to travel in the Hispanic world--all of it. (Even Equatorial Guinea!) I already have spent significant time in Barcelona and Andalusia, and have big plans for travel all over Spain. I also have months of ideas for travel in Mexico and all of Latin America. I am most looking forward to Beunos Aires, the city with the most bookstores per capita in the world!

What's different this time

I've had only a little bit of success with language study. I often get caught in an infinite loop of learning about how to study language more efficiently instead of actually studying. This time I decided to spend some time each day studying Spanish before I would spend any time researching making the process more efficient. Then I'd check in every few weeks.


Duolingo is a tedious, grueling chore. The idea of finishing the entire course is not enticing at all. I either can't remember the answer, or type the same word about 10-20x times when once would've sufficed.

I fear if I keep up Duolingo I won't ever learn Spanish.

Overall, Duolingo is an inefficient use of time, and not fun at all.


Memrise isn't nearly as bad as Duolingo. It's pretty good Spanish flashcards.

It isn't fun, but it feels efficient. I feel much more of a sense of progress than Duolingo.

The Dreaming Spanish youtube channel

The idea of this youtube channel is for Spanish learners to consume as much comprehensible content as they can before bothering to create content: speaking, writing, etc. This has real potential but I am such a beginner that I can't even understand the "super beginner" videos, which are at the level of cartoons for babies. They aren't the kind of videos I would watch in English.

I have tried to watch some of the beginner and intermediate videos and I can tell I am going to really like this learning method once I can handle it.

I wish this channel had higher-quality closed captions. I believe they are AI-generated.

Right now this channel is tedious and sometimes the videos are almost insultingly simple. I'm going to keep it up and have really high hopes for this method once I get a few hundred vocab words memorized.

The Linguriosa youtube channel

The content on this channel is the kind of videos I watch in English (and a little bit of French and German) on youtube already: linguistics, history, language study, Spanish culture, etc. Watching these videos doesn't feel like work, however, my comprehension is pretty low. The closed captions are pretty good on this channel, and I'm sometimes pretty familiar with the topic so I can muddle through the video and learn a bit of Spanish at the same time.

When I first started watching this channel, I thought it was the final boss. If I can understand these videos, then I've learned Spanish! That isn't true unfortunately!

This channel is max fun, probably not the most efficient use of time since long time periods go by where I understand absolutely nothing and that's a waste.

The Chess24 ES channel

This channel is just the Spanish version of Chess24, which I watch all the time in English. Watching this is a stark wake-up call that the other Spanish channels I watch are taking it very easy on their viewers, going slow, using easy vocab, etc. I go for long periods of time watching these videos and don't understand anything, which is not helping me at all.

Long term goal--any time I spend here is close enough to useless that I shouldn't count it as learning Spanish.

Next steps

I'm thinking about reallocating the "eat your vegetables language study sucks" time to 100% Memrise and cutting out Duolingo. And trying to take the Dreaming Spanish superbeginner videos more seriously somehow, somehow figure out a way to make them do more for me.

I also think about hiring a tutor, haven't done it yet. I'm not sure if I'm really learning Spanish or not, since I have a demanding professional life. OTOH this is really important to me!