How many people have, at least at some stage in their life, pondered or daydreamed about the possibility of liberating themselves from the career path, from the daily grind of routine and grey skies, and heading off in search of some excitement, some different experiences, different culture and different people? An enormous number I would hasten to guess. Yet whether that be a few months or years travelling, or trying to make a life in another country, it’s a notion many people dismiss as fanciful, unrealistic or even irresponsible.
Yet travel will almost surely always enrich your life, rather than detract from it. I’ve never known anyone who has made the bold step to foreign pastures to have said otherwise. Of course, the more you proactive you are at shaping your experience, the more you will get from it and the more enriching it will be. Many people brush off the idea and continue on in the perceived secure path of routine and familiar surroundings, yet are ultimately left with a sense of regret for not having acted on this lingering desire.
Moving to Barcelona
It was my desire, or perhaps fear of living with the regret of not trying, that finally resulted in me taking the bold step of moving to Barcelona. This is a decision I have certainly at times doubted, but one that I have never for a nanosecond regretted. I came with a year in mind, and here I am almost two years down the line, still getting so much out of life here, still learning, still discovering, and still enjoying. There are so many expats in Barcelona who came with a few months in mind and ended up staying permanently. What can I say, it’s a city which hooks you.
As someone who, in their early twenties, spent an intense five months travelling round the world, from Southeast Asia to South America, I can vouch for both the highs and lows of travelling with your life on your back. Fortunately the highs far outweighed the lows. Yet I wasn’t left fully satisfied by my experience, a feeling which became very acute several years later having completed a Masters and found myself a decent job. The prospect of years of seeing and doing the same things under skies which are too frequently grey seemed unbearable. I wanted to know what it was like to live in another country, another culture, and learn another language. Going to Barcelona a couple of times on holidays made me think perhaps there was a better life out there. And I was missing out on it. The lifestyle just seemed so good here. Richer somehow. The skies are blue. The sea and mountains are on tap.
As is the beer! Life is lived outside. There is culture, festivals… and fun. Really a lot of fun! But probably most important of are the people you meet. The people are what make the experience. Without surrounding yourself with the people that make you feel good, that make you smile, all of these other desirable elements will only be superficial and won’t count for an awful lot in the long run. That’s why, in my humble opinion, Barcelona is extra special. It’s rich in people. Catalan people, Spanish people, and an abundance of international expats from all corners of the globe, all of whom want to share all that is so fantastic about this city with other like-minded people.
In Barcelona there is an almost infinite number of meetups and groups you can join, including a wealth of language groups and courses you can join. Or just go out and about, get chatting and you’ll quickly have yourself a social circle. It’s really not hard to find people to enjoy this wonderful city with.
Moving to pastures new shouldn’t be about taking a risk, rather it should be about taking a chance. A chance to see and learn new things, meet new people, and discover what you really want from life. If you want to experience life as lived in another country, in another culture and environment, I can’t recommend Barcelona highly enough. Stop wondering, take the chance and don’t live with regrets!