This morning was one of many days that I was excited to wake up early. I wasn’t happy because I had extra time to get stuff done around the house or run errands, but because I had time to get to the beach and catch the sunrise.
I grabbed my bike and sped between the trees, and morning commuters. I smiled at the many sweater dressed puppies playing with their owners and indulged in the aroma of each and every bakery as I passed.
I could feel the cool winter breeze on my face while I listened to my Spotify playlist. I saw people sitting outside enjoying the morning sun with an espresso, and old couples were laughing in the park holding hands and grasping their canes.
I sat, and watched each movement of the rising sun as it went from bright pink to red and half circle to full. I witnessed every changing color as it reflected upon the ocean waves.
In that moment was pure absence of any lingering thoughts or to do lists, worries or struggle. I felt so at peace, so happy, as if the world froze and hit pause just to celebrate the start of a new day.
Growing up In the United States, I was used to a fast paced lifestyle. I was always rushing in traffic, or stressing about work. It was easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget about all the little things that life has to offer.
This morning, along with many others, is a perfect reflection of my life in Spain and how living abroad has completely altered my world view. Here are the 7 ways Spain Changed My life:
Patience: I learned how to be more patient. I am the most impatient person to walk the face of this earth and moving to Spain forced me to come to terms with that. People take their time here; no one is rushing or stressing to be somewhere on time and no one is pressuring you to me prompt neither. For the most part everyone is late to everything and no one even bats an eye. Businesses hardly open on time, and take vacations and they please, so you can bet on having to wait for just about everything here. It is impossible to not learn to be somewhat patient in Spain.
Let life be simple: Believe it or not, Spain taught me that life really is simple. It is as simple as you allow it to be. It is the little things like watching the sunrise or seeing dogs dressed up in little sweaters playing within the city streets or the smell of coffee and croissants in the morning below your flat that can make your day. These things are easily forgotten and should be far more appreciated.
Be active: Barcelona showed me the benefits of an active lifestyle. I grew up in Denver CO where it is normal for people to drive everywhere. The thought of walking around in even slightly unwelcoming weather was off putting and driving was so much faster and more convenient.
Before I moved to Europe I always wondered how people lived without cars but now I see the complete opposite. Now that I live in Barcelona I walk or ride my bike pretty much everywhere. I feel healthy and in shape, so why would people want drive and put all their money into a car when they could walk and enjoy the outdoors and help the environment? It’s so wonderful to depend on yourself rather than a machine to get around.
Enjoy nature: Often times, in Barcelona, a fun evening consists of hiking up the mountain to watch the sun set over the city or a picnic on the beach. Most of the time parks are packed with people just before the sun sets. They gather together with their guitars, books, friends, food, and booze regardless of the weather, to watch the changing colors of the sky.
It is inspiring to see so many people enjoy doing the simplest things that don’t involve money or an expensive night out. I have always loved being outside, but living in Barcelona has taught me how to truly enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer.
Relax: Ding ding ding! The most beneficial thing that I have learned in Barcelona thus far is how to relax. At first living in a city that closes everything down at half past 2 daily for siesta and all day on a Sundays was annoying to say the least, but now I couldn’t appreciate it more. There is something great about getting up on a Sunday knowing that you are literally forced to enjoy your day without feeling obligated to get anything done. Barcelona truly made me learn how to relax and learn that everything can wait.
Money doesn’t matter: One of the reasons that I ditched the United States was because I was tired of always worrying about money. How much do I have? How much do I need? How much can I make? What bills do I have to pay? I always felt like I needed more, no amount of money was ever enough.
In Barcelona the average salary ranges from about 700-1300 euros a month and people manage just fine. No one cares how much money you make or how you spend it. No one cares if you have a car or what model it is, and no one cares about your career choice. No one cares, so that makes it very easy for me to also not care how much money I have. As long as I can eat and pay my small rent payment, I don’t care and it makes life beautiful.
Do what you love: This is something that people preach day in and day out, however, living in the U.S. made it very hard for me to ever really pursue the things that I love. For instance, I always wanted to be an artist but I never felt like it was an acceptable career choice. It didn’t pay the bills and no one took it seriously.
Depending on the crowd you are involved in, artists or musicians are not considered successful. If you tell someone you are an inspiring artist you’re bound to be judged. I always felt pressure to pursue a career path that made more money for my wallet rather than doing what I love. Barcelona is FILLED with musicians, artists, and creative individuals. It is totally acceptable and influential to pursue any artistic field. Since I have been in Barcelona I have already started playing the guitar, created a blog and really dove into my photography. Barcelona taught me how to be proud to do the things that make me happy without feeling pressure to do anything otherwise.