I should have known this would happen. I said I would run away to Spain and it seems I have. This is pretty much exactly what I had in mind before the seed of the idea of this awesome journey was even planted. I should have known that I would like it here far too much to leave. One year ago last April I stepped off a high-riding cruise ship at the ugly old port of Barcelona, chef's knives and guitar in tow after a two-week crossing of the Atlantic teaching cooking classes to tourists and eating three overly-solid buffet meals daily. To be fair, it was a pretty sweet gig. They even rubbed out my bar tab when I disembarked.
That job never panned out into a full-time "dream" job, but I'm glad. That is exactly what living on a cruise ship eight months a year would be: A dream (but the bad kind where you are naked, late, lost, or at your own funeral in a Tom Sawyeresque out of body experience). And though what I have found here in Barcelona may seem like a dream to some, I am wide awake.
I was congratulated recently on my newest professional advancement on Linkedin recently with the message,
“I guess this means your out of the food world. But congrats, none the less!”
I am quite happy to say that this is not the case, as I am still happily embedded in the “food world” through both work at Barcelona Cooking as a Food and Wine educator, writer, and tour guide, as well as through my freelance writing as a gastronomy featurist in Barcelona Metropolitan magazine, and my gluttonous devotion to spending the majority of my now-larger salary on even more cured pork, sheep cheese, tapas, pickled shellfish, vermouth, Chinese noodles, kebabs, coffee, gin, croissants, and wine.
The Barcelona-based social media marketing startup—with whom I have been very lucky to join in their infancy—has bestowed me the broad-sweeping title of Content Creation Guy. I am writing about food, but also about cosmetics, skin care, make-up, sunglasses, acne, old age, plastic surgery, social media, and even about writing itself. My personal Zoom-PR email sign-off is sure to convey my newfound hunger:
"If you don't value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Value what you know and start charging for it."
This quote, by social media guru Kim Garst, is meant to inspire me, and it does.
Since I arrive in this beautiful city I have officially realized that I am one of the many “I came to travel but stayed forever” foreigners that enjoy the relaxed, sunny life here without being overly bothered by the tourist carnaval that the city often resembles. Judging by some of the other foreigners I know, I’ll give myself five years before I begin complaining about everything and move up the hill. There the buildings are shorter and locals sporting mullet dreadlocks hold a comfortable majority over the sunburned and sandaled Brits, commonly found bellowing and blind-drunk, making the American couple in Spandex more than a little uneasy as they thoroughly enjoy their anemic paella in Plaça Reial.
I’m working a lot and am loving my bicycle, friends, coffee shops, Chinese restaurants, new gym membership (it’s been a solid two years since I stepped into one of those), and all the glorious sunshine that I can soak up on my lunch break. When I think about it, I haven’t had a break since July. I can’t wait.