“Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul.” – Jaime Lyn Beatty
I recently returned from a city break to Barcelona. The place was filled with Gothic architecture, festive markets, vibrant locals and enchanting culture. It felt quite surreal to hop on a plane for a couple of hours, and explore the elegant delights of La Rambla, Casa Batlló, Sagrada Familia and many other stunning monuments.
Although we enjoyed detaching from London life and taking the opportunity to reflect whilst away, the people I met in Barcelona refreshed my outlook on things. More specifically, I connected with four explorers from very different walks of life. Genoveva, Daniel, Neville and Kareena were real characters with their own stories to tell. By connecting with each of them, they each unknowingly left me with heart-felt inspiring messages.
“Sometimes it’s not about the journey or the destination… but about the people you meet along the way.” – Nishan Panwar
Genoveva is a twenty-something Mexican with a friendly, warm and chatty personality. She originally followed her family’s wishes to study Psychology at a prestigious university in Paris and had opportunities to travel with her studies, including a placement in Australia. However, for Genoveva, this felt like a daily struggle and didn’t sit right with her because she wasn’t being true to herself. Against her family’s wishes, she gave it all up to travel and explore the world. Now working as a waitress and cleaner living in Barcelona, she would wake us up every morning with the sounds of her happily singing as she cleaned our apartment. Genoveva may not have everything figured out, but now feels free and is filled with immense hope to live life on her own terms. The inspiring message I took from Genoveva was that if somethings not working, let it go! Things may not be perfect when you do, but if you bring warmth, gratitude and positive vibes into every day, you’ll find your way.
Neville is a forty-something British man from Nottingham (UK). Whilst reminiscing in Placa Reial, just off of La Rambla we met out of the blue and got chatting. Neville turned out to be a passionate, straight talking force of nature with very strong and narrow views on culture, race, social status and society. With a love of travel, he was on his way back from Italy after baby-sitting for a friend, and was exploring Spain before heading back to the UK. Although the chat with Neville felt quite heavy, it was like he was holding up a red flag with valuable insights. This connection inspired me to be more open-minded to new experiences and people I encounter. Life is short so travel often, compromise, listen, forgive and respect everyone’s unique traits.
“You will never understand the true meaning of your life, until you travel and experience how others are living theirs.” – Unknown
Kareena is a sixty-something artist from Austria. We met in a park by Sagrada Familia and got chatting about the stunning architecture in Barcelona. I felt quite privileged to talk to someone from a completely different culture with many more years on me. Kareena was actively following her creative passions by spending her days capturing the essence of Barcelona’s sites through her drawings and paintings. She spoke positively and openly about her experiences and modestly showed me one of her portfolios filled with lovely artwork. As we got chatting, Kareena revealed that her passport and money had been stolen and she did not know how or when she’d be returning home. I felt a great deal of empathy for her, particularly as we were surrounded by other tourists free to enter and leave the country at their own accord. In spite of this, Kareena still had a smile on her face, was well dressed, appreciated her surroundings and had faith that she’d be home for Christmas. Unknowingly, this creative spark reminded me of that saying: “get up, dress up, show up and never give up” regardless of how you feel. Having a positive mind-set, gentle determination and unwavering faith, can make all the difference.
Daniel is a twenty-something student from Columbia. We met in a pub near Carrer del Bruc and exchanged pleasantries by chance. He had a magnetic personality, friendly and grounded outlook. Randomly, Daniel’s friend, a guitarist and singer, was performing that night in the back of the pub. What struck me about Daniel during our chats was how much he admired his friend for living his musical dream and championed his friend’s talents. Daniel convinced us to join him and check out the gig. Although I can’t remember the name of Daniel’s friend (see photo), I was mesmerised by his talent. It felt like we were at a huge concert for a headliner. However, in reality, there were less than 10 people watching in the backroom of the pub, as Daniel’s friend sang and played his heart out, putting joy and passion into the musical notes. Every person watching was touched by his musicality. This connection made me feel inspired to be brave, keep being creative and appreciate every single opportunity, no matter how small they may appear. Only when we truly believe in our abilities, things start to eventually take shape and the right people, places and situations present themselves.
“If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” Paulo Coelho
I believe that people most certainly come into our lives for a reason. Whether it’s a cranky boss trying to control your every move; a loving boyfriend spoiling you rotten; or a random stranger bumping into you on the street; everyone from every walk of life has something to teach us about ourselves. Sometimes we may not like these experiences because they can deliver sharp lessons, but with any luck, it can open our eyes to a new perspective and change our lives for the better.
Miss H ♥