I have always loved being in a city leading a fast paced life. For me, the busier I was the better, and I viewed myself being not productive if I took a moment to relax. This type of overworking lifestyle is very common in the U.S. and extremely different from where I am now in Barcelona. The Catalan culture values resting, ensuring their people are never overworked. They take this so seriously, most stores are even closed for a few hours in the middle of the day to honor this lifestyle. While I have only been here for 3 and a half weeks I have already introduced this kind of slow paced living into my way of life and I am thriving. Over the past few weeks, a few experience have reminded me to slow down and relax because when you do, life is better and you experience more.
We got the privilege to go on a 103 year old sail boat in the Mediterranean Sea during our time in Costa Brava. The Captain and owner of the ship named Joan, taught us history about the boat and the land. His passion for the costal lifestyle he leads was extremely apparent through his words, tone of voice and even his clothes. It was so nice getting to slow down with the wind in my hair while learning about the land we were sailing around. I felt completely relaxed during that boat trip and wanted more days like this.
Our next stop in Costa Brava was a stroll through a 300 year old fishing village. Slow and simple was the vibe everyone had while passing through because it felt like you were stepping into this village as it was 300 years ago. We even got to talk to a few residents that were resting outside looking at the beautiful view. They were enjoying a nice afternoon outside in their small little community taking it easy.
We ended our Costa Brava trip at a quaint and quiet beach. This particular beach was noteworthy because there was a old boat house in the forefront. Its purposes today although are used as a community kitchen and shelter. Anyone who travels here and camps out on the beach is able to use the materials at this house in order to prepare and eat food. This was something so simple yet so wonderful that people from all over the world can share while enjoying a relaxing time at the beautiful beach. This place reminded me of an old nomad lifestyle where people did not have many things, they just kept traveling while living a simple life.
We recently did a randomly assigned self guided walking project in the city where we had to explore a neighborhood in Barcelona in a new way by closely following a circle on a map. This activity caused me to explore many side streets that I would have otherwise never had walked on. During that activity, I happened upon a small little community garden taken care of by the people in the neighborhood. It was incredibly charming and I would have never seen this beautiful gem if it wasn’t for this project forcing me to slow down and really look around me instead of rushing to a destination with tunnel vision.
We visited a farm in the mountains of Montseny the other day and got to see their slow paced life. When we arrived we were greeted by goats, roosters and especially the family’s border collie who was thrilled to see us. This dog was living the life on the farm and looked so much happier than dogs you see in the city. She was running around, playing with sticks and rolling in the dirt. This dog made me realize how good a simpler life can be for ones happiness even if she was just a dog.
After looking around the sustainable farm, the owners took us down to their Formatgeria and fed us a grand lunch over looking the mountains. We ate goat cheese from the goats we just met and ate other traditional Catalan foods. This was a moment of rest while eating amazing food produced just steps away from us. We ate, talked and laughed for hours while being surrounded by a tranquil mountain backdrop truly getting to enjoy, the simple life.