For those people that love to give mediocre and fearful life advice like, “you can’t go back in time”, or perhaps those gems of humanity that have given up on their own lives and keep telling you to settle down (whatever that means)….. these people have clearly never been to Barcelona.
Because being back in Barcelona I realized that not only is this city as incredible as when I left in February of 2008, but now its even better because I don’t have a boss telling me what to do between the hours of 9-6. But even that is just one of the many aspects of this one-in-a-planet city.
Since the moment I landed in Barcelona and the smile of all smiles stretched across my pasty white Canadian face I have been trying to figure out what exactly it is about this city that brings me, and so many people, so much joy.
I’ve told a couple people from home that this city evokes a feeling in me that is unlike any other experience I’ve ever had, and in my discussions with other ex-pats I am certainly no anomaly. People from all over the world come to Barcelona for a vacation, for an exchange of some sort, maybe for an escape or a honeymoon and what they find is something they never expected….
In most north american cities and perhaps many western europe countries there seems to be this echoing of Henry Thoreau and his description of quiet desperation. Everyone sort of marching along, trying not to rock the boat and keeping in pace with whomever’s judgement they are trying to avoid (sometimes everyone’s). Wishing for one life, and living another.
But in Barcelona, its feels like everyone within this city WANTS to be here and no where else. The streets are always filled with people touring the city, walking to work, spending time with their families, biking to the beach, reading at a coffee shop, or just….being.
The beauty in Barcelona lies not in its incredible selection of tapas, or bottomless bottles of Sangria, but the city’s ability to awaken your need to explore, to wander, and to just open yourself up to possibilites…. of a simpler life.
Don’t get me wrong, I love aspects of the North American mentality; to succeed and to always strive for something better and grander than yourself. To push your body and mind into always being a little bit better than it was the week before.
But this does not mean we still shouldn’t put a lot of emphasis on turning off our blackberrys and iPhones (guilty) and take several minutes to enjoy a Cafe Cortado (amazing!) and nutella filled croissant.
I wish everyone the opportunity to one day see and experience what I have in Barcelona, even over these past 8 days. Redefining those moments in life that really make life worth living…