So far Barcelona has been far and away my favorite place that I’ve visited. I think this might have something to do with the culture and how people live here. People are all kind of taking it easy. They sit outside in the sun eating lunch late in the afternoon. You’ll be walking thru these winding little streets, come along a courtyard of sorts and find someone sleeping on a park bench in the middle of the day. The flip side is that people don’t really have much interest in working. Stores open at eleven here. People can’t be bothered with doing too much…this is another reason why I think the city is so inviting.
Almost every day thus far I’ve found myself by the water. On my second day here I checked out the port and the architecture along the water. I found that near the port you had mostly your typical welcoming Spanish buildings, old and magnificent. As you headed thru Barceloneta and got to the beach, things slowly get more modern and Miami-esque.
When people tell you that the beaches are topless here, they aren’t lying to you. That is an absolute truth…a glorious glorious truth. The women of Barcelona are already stunning, but at the beach they give a whole new meaning to the word.
It’s so much that you soon become desensitized to it. The stage that follows desensitization is wondering why all beaches aren’t like this?
It isn’t all beautiful though, you get your bruised and battered fruit in the bunch as well, and this can be excruciating to witness. Women with leather orange skin and everything just hanging out for your discomfort. I’m not someone who should be body shaming, but shame on these people. Flattened sixty year old titties burnt orange resting on a leathery gut isn’t a sight anyone wants to see. But, you move on and focus your peripheral vision on the dozens of twenty somethings bouncing around in the Mediterranean. Or the guy walking around with a pyramid of Spanish pastries balancing on a board on top of his head while he navigates his way thru the throng of beach goers singing merrily and playing the triangle.
Swimming in the Mediterranean was a wonderful thing. The water was cold and extremely salty, but refreshing. It’s been hot since I got here and jumping in that Sea was a delight and pretty special too, I always wanted to swim in the Mediterranean and now I have. Something tells me that this will definitely not be the last time either.
When I haven’t been near the water I’ve spent most of my time meandering thru the jigsawed alleys and courtyards of the Gothic District and the Raval.
People constantly have some place they tell you you need to see. Be it through the Internet or in person. But the way I see it, I’d rather spend my time experiencing the here and now of a place, than what used to be.
The other night I ended up in a skate bar that had a mini bowl in it for those who wanted to drink and skateboard. It’s a hidden gem called Nevermind. I learned about the place from the people I am staying with. Just so happens that I ended up in a house full of skaters from Brazil. So it’s kind of like living with the lost boys.
During the day most of them hang out at the Macba which is the modern art museum. Basically the Macba has been turned into a skate park for would be thrashers. I sit at a cafe right next to the place and watch people fall down while I get some writing done it’s great. Evidently it’s a destination spot for many world renowned skateboarders on tour. People from all around the world show up to crash the Macba building.
It’s the outdoor cafes that mean the most to me though. Every other block you find people sitting out under umbrellas eating tapas and drinking coffee and booze and whatever else they wish. And don’t get me started on the food here. Oh my god. As a lover of cured meats, I have been in heaven.
At one cafe this older guy from Vienna by way of Hong Kong sat down next to me and we got to talking. A lot about the whole Brexit situation as well as Donald Trump.
He used to be in banking and now has a financial blog of some sort. He was a nice guy, his daughter was currently studying in New York and we talked about what it takes to live and make it in the city. We were both of the same mind in that respect, if you plan on taking on a city like New York you better be prepared to hustle harder than you ever had before.
So many people choose to move to New York, myself one day will probably be one of them, but many have the wrong mindset. Wanting the New York experience won’t be enough in the end, you will end up rent poor and honestly never really experiencing the place for what it is.
Sitting in this tiny square in Barcelona with people slowly meandering through the streets around you you realize how far you are from a place like New York. I personally haven’t spent any time in the big Apple with the exception of a trip when I was a kid, but that doesn’t count. I can only imagine though that after spending seven years in Chicago that as fast as the Windy City blows, it pales in comparison.
They say to live comfortably in Manhattan you need to make 150k a year. That’s why most people I know that moved there after school ended up back home with their parents. Many of them survived on the large bank accounts of their family, but even that wasn’t enough. In truth everyone wants the high life, they want it all and they want it now, but that just isn’t realistic.
Most people from families with a little bit of money expect certain things when it comes to comfort and stability, but what they don’t seem to understand is that that usually leads to a dull and unadventurous life. And ask yourself, what are the lives like of the people that you admire. Usually they are winding and treacherous and full of tough times and often loss. That’s what makes a person great.
My family tend to look at all this traveling I’m doing as just a long vacation. But it’s absolutely nothing like that. It’s just simply a decision to make my life as memorable as I can.
I think being in a place like Barcelona it really gives you time to think about these things. To help you decide what you are doing certain things in your life for. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the money to make a couple moves out here, but the clock is ticking.
In Chicago I struggled for the majority of the seven years I was there. People back home would often question what I was doing. I had a great job back in Florida with the opportunity to take over my families business one day, but what they didn’t realize is that when I was back home pursuing that path, I was miserable. I made good money sure, but in the end it wasn’t my life. It was the life of someone else. Someone content with the safety of knowing their future.
Today I honestly don’t know my future, I can speculate sure, but that doesn’t make it true. I could end up broke and defeated by Europe and back in my parents home depressed about my failure, I really don’t know, I just know that I will never stop trying to achieve the goals I have in life. The way I look at it is you are only here on earth for a little while then who knows what happens, so I’m gonna witness all that I can in the meantime. Have bloody adventures. Swim in the Mediterranean, eat mushrooms in Rembrandt square, play shows in Berlin, get lost in Istanbul, fall in love in Italy, whatever it is, cuz when I die, that’s all I can take with me.
I watch people in my life equate value to things that don’t really matter to me. Making decisions on safety and what’s easy. Which I understand, it’s a lonely road this one…it definitely isn’t for everyone. But for those that are tempted by the desire to quit their job (or these days jobs) and explore the world, take that chance. If it breaks you it breaks you, but at least then you will know what the world is like through the eyes of someone who is living in it.
I fully believe that people imagine me settling down at some point and laying into a more conventional life, but I just don’t see it happening. Even if I go broke and am forced to go back to the states and get a “real” job, it’s only gonna be so that I can do it all over again. But hopefully I get this visa in Berlin in August and then I will be able to work and live in Germany and there is nothing anyone can do about it lol.