I’ve actually rewritten this post a number of times now. It started out as an in-depth comparison between two places, Barcelona and Key Largo. Trying to force a decision towards living in one over the other. Then it moved towards being about the metrics surrounding which suited me better, using numbers instead of words. But I kept coming back and changing things, because nothing written had really expressed what I was trying to say. Which is … there is a vision inside of me about the life I want to enjoy, and I think Barcelona might be it. So this rewrite (hopefully the last) is just this … what is important to me and how would living in Barcelona match those needs?
I want to live again in a “walkable” place. Where I would not need nor would I own a car. And this is BCN in a nutshell. You absolutely don’t need one here. Parking would be a royal pain in the ass anyway. Not to mention the price of petrol, insurance, etc. I would own a motorcycle eventually, as they are easy to park, cheaper on fuel, and the government makes it remarkably great to own and use. And even though this city gets temperature extremes and rain, it’s still the primary transportation for a lot of folks. And I much prefer two wheels over four. 🙂 But mostly, I would walk or ride a bicycle.
I would only need a small apartment, near or in the middle of everything. Close to shops, restaurants, and all other places of interest. Nothing huge, just enough to hold my minimal things, be comfy and quiet, and be a central hub. And this is kinda what I would be limited to here, even if I wanted otherwise. I absolutely love “city life”, where the sounds of living are all around. I do not need spacious surroundings, and Europe seems designed for that. The “American” way of housing is the rarity here, so my options would be much greater.
I cook at home often, and Spain seems perfect for that. Fresh ingredients are in numerous stalls and shops here. It’s what they do. Pre-processed and bulk purchases from Costco just cannot happen in this country. So being able to have a healthier diet would be simpler. In fact, trying to have a non-healthy food life in Barcelona would be something I would have to work hard at.
I like shifted hours. Always have. And Spain fits with my natural circadian rhythms. Dinner would always be later in the evening. 9pm at the usual/earliest. Lunch would usually be around 2-3pm. Breakfast would just be coffee/nibbles whenever I awoke. Lunch would be the main meal of the day, calorie-wise, and dinner would be tapas/appetizers or something smaller. It’s what happens in Barcelona. And I know it works.
My work hours would continue to be very shifted, from Noon-8pm most days. Which would fit in well with my eating hours. 🙂
I love to explore. Finding new places. Experiencing known ones again. Music, events, history, or just relaxing in the presence of people. Barcelona is very diverse and there is so much I have not yet even considered, including hiking trails just a short subway ride to the edge of town.
That last part is key. One of the things I really miss about the mid-Atlantic area of the states is the mountains and nature. There are large parks here, everywhere. And literally eight subway stations away is a trail-head that leads to miles of hiking trails high in the hills. Surrounded by trees and naturalness.
I would make better use of the sea here, and that is also something non-negotiable. I must live next to (and inside of) the water. Here we have paddle-boarding, swimming, all sorts of things. And there are many, many beaches within easy reach, including by foot.
A big thing for me is to learn more languages than English. I’ve tried in Miami, but it’s harder. I think that living and being immersed in a place where English is not the primary tongue would be more conducive to this goal.
I would travel frequently as well, which is another of my must-haves. Hopping on a train and exploring other cities in Spain is simple. Taking a budget carrier to other countries. This would probably happen every 5-8 weeks, spending a long weekend somewhere. Sometimes longer. Barcelona is very central to everywhere I currently want to see.
Wherever I next live, I want to be more of a part of the place and the people. So I would plug more into this city. Using groups like InterNations to find like-minded people. Joining other groups. Other causes and activities. And making more friends. All of which would play a majority part of my daily life.
I would need to plan on making two longer-term visits back to see family each year. Make them events, not just a visit. This is something I must do wherever I am, and the only difference from Barcelona is cost. But this can be easily mitigated and managed.
In short, I would be alive, relaxed and continuing to live anxiety free. Moving. Smiling. Always challenging myself physically, mentally, and in all other ways. Every day be willing to experience something, no matter how small or large. And always keeping the future firmly in place. This is the life I must live next. And I believe it can all be accomplished in this city.
For the most part, we’ve got this financially (especially if you buy our book!). But, and there’s always a but, a little help won’t be turned away. If you enjoy what you see and want to help out, please consider becoming a Patron.
And while you’re at it, perhaps head over to Amazon and pick up my new novel: Letters To A Dead Uncle. On the shelves and in the Kindle Store. It’s a travel novel, of sorts. Just me writing to my dearly departed Uncle Jimmy about my latest exploits. More details on the home page!