What I heave learned about my Self from these 2 cities? – I am always reflecting on how travel (and living in different places) changes me. Here are some reflections about these 2 wonderful cities!
I wrote a long city comparison blog post a while ago and it seems to be one of the most popular ones on OM Barcelona – Click Here To Read. This is probably going to make a good Part 2 version of this post… as I dive in deeper on a personal level and share what I learned about my Self. And wow, it has opened my eyes to the daily habits that I had and needed to change.
Travel and your environment does have an affect on who we are. I am a strong believer in this! Even if it is just a short trip to a new city nearby. It doesn’t matter whether the location is near or far, we can pick up new inspiration and ideas to reflect on where we are in our life – and the changes we can make.
From London to Barcelona… What has come up for me?
🌟 I am learning to take my time…
The energy of London is completely electric… This can be both good and bad for me. What I have noticed and started reflecting on is the fact that I don’t think I am ever truly relaxed in London. I think it is great for getting things done, coming up with new ideas, being pushed in new directions (on a personal and working level) – It’s where I get tuned into my yang (masculine) energy of action, pushing forward, being very external.
In Barcelona, there is time. The daily schedule, the environment (with nature nearby) allows and holds space for it. It calms me – I find that I can really unwind and get in touch with the more yin (feminine) energy… I like making space for receiving inspiration (Vs seeking) by being out near the sea and hills, connecting deeper with people and not rushing.
A good complement. I think both cities are good for me in totally different ways. It works for me that I have my foot in both beautiful cities.
🌟 Holding space for connection…
Connecting with people is SO different in each city. I think both cities also bring out a different side of how I connect with people and what I learn about them and my Self. This is just my personal take on it…
In London, connecting with people is much faster – and ends much quicker... The movement of Londoner’s lives also happens this way. People move in/out of jobs, relationships, locations etc very fast. There is also a clearer line between people you know from work and people who are in your personal life. The advantages of meeting so many people (in a short space of time) is that you learn very quickly and get to meet a huge range of people, from all over the world and different backgrounds.
In Barcelona, people take time to connect much deeper – And there is time for this too. It is much more laid back – both at work and in personal life (often mixing). I think people are also much more open and friendly, whereas in London it can be a challenge to break through the barrier.
It’s a personal thing… I like both sides of how connection is made. But if I am honest, I prefer London’s connections for my work life – and Barcelona’s connections for a much more personal journey.
Connection also goes much deeper than people. Learning to connect has been a journey of how I manage my time and energy. Travelling and moving around teaches me about real energy management in how I connect with people, places, activities, Self care and what I value in life.
🌟 I am learning to enjoy each stage…
Following on from the last point, I now feel like I don’t need to rush each stage. Looking back, I did SO much in London – But did I really enjoy each stage fully? Was I always plotting and looking forward all the time, while not being present with the magic that each stage brings? Yes, London life does that to me – And in a city like London, the energy moves very fast between stages. This is the dilemma of modern life in most big cities.
I can catch my breath and take note of what I am grateful for NOW. Barcelona is teaching me to be more present with where I am – even when it is challenging. I still feel tempted to rush everything (a habit that still hasn’t left me) – But the difference is, I can see and reflect more about what each stage is teaching me. With Barcelona being much slower, I find that it really doesn’t work to try to rush anything.
🌟 I have become soft with the cold and rain…
In a lighter note, why is the cold and rain getting to me now?!? In London, it is just part of life – I don’t think about it because it’s a given that each day will probably be cold or rainy!
NOW, I actually feel the rain and cold. Sounds strange but I feel like it never was an issue… Now, when the temperature drops (even just a few degrees), I feel it deeply in my bones. I feel more sensitive to the changes around me.
I still miss London weather too. Although Barcelona is amazing for having proper seasons, there are times I do enjoy what London weather brings (believe it or not!). When I am back in London, I love the heavy downpour of rain and I love being back in my thick coats and stockings.
🌟 I don’t mind walking for a few hours non-stop…
Would I walk around London like I do in Barcelona? No way! The amount of walking I do in Barcelona is crazy – but I don’t feel like it’s an effort. I often walk a few hours at a time around Barcelona city (with a few breaks at a local cafe) – I love it! Maybe it’s because the sun does shine (even in the middle of Winter) and the city is generally much more pedestrian friendly. Plus, Barcelona feels like a much more beautiful city to take in during the walk. I usually plug in my favourite music playlist or audio book and let my feet do their thing.
🌟 I feel healthier in Barcelona…
Maybe this is because of the long walks… My habits have changed for a healthier version of me. I love the simple things that make life healthier – I certainly think that Barcelona has a better quality of life for this. The food is cheaper and fresher too.
I now wonder if I could do more of this in London too. I am not saying that these habits can’t be done in London – I used to think that I was living a pretty healthy lifestyle in London anyway, but Barcelona has opened up my eyes to another side of health.
🌟 I do everything much later…
London is an early riser and sleeper. Most Londoners commute long distances to get to work each day, so waking up at 5am is normal – Work finishes around 5pm and the long commute continues to go back home. Dinner is around 7-8pm at the latest and sleep is earlier. This sounds crazy in Barcelona! Believe me, I have tried this schedule and it feels totally out of sync with everything.
The night owl in me rejoices! It all depends on what your energy is like naturally… and what works for you – I think. I have given up trying to convert my energy in other ways. I am a proud night owl and my energy is strongest after 3pm… Even when I have a normal morning routine, I now make the most of how my natural energy cycles work. Barcelona is perfect for this!
Things I do much later now: Every meal is much later, working hours are extended much later (making room for a long lunch) and night life starts much later.
🌟 I am more direct with communication…
When in Spain, you will hear direct opinions. In the UK, I often feel that communication is much more diplomatic and politically correct. Challenging points are made in a softer manner. It is often seen as rude to be so honest and so direct – Plus, the British stiff upper lip often means that an emotional outburst is rare. This is the complete opposite in Spain.
It is said that Catalans are more reserved than people from other regions of Spain. However, they can still be very direct about what they think. Sometimes, it surprises me… But it is teaching me to find a middle point about how I communicate my opinions. In some situations that were challenging, I reflect on how I held back – whereas, I now feel I can be much more assertive in how I put my points forward. I am not saying Londoners are not assertive, but I feel that there is more of a filter in communication. This also applies to positive expressions and ideas too, it’s not all negative.
Sometimes in London, I can never really tell if someone truly likes or dislikes someone. Maybe this is just me but after being in Spain, it feels much more clearer when someone likes or dislikes me… People are just very open about how they feel and I am learning to be more open too. I like to make an effort and tell people the good things I love about them – In London, I feel this could be a little over-the-top for many!
🌟 Home is much deeper than a point on a map…
Travel changes the way we see “home”. I spent my childhood living within a travelling family (Third culture kid upbringing) and then London became my home. London has always been my base, but I still get itchy feet to move and travel. Barcelona is very much an extension of this and keeps me happy. Yet every single place I stay in (anywhere in the world) always reminds me that what I see as “my home” is an internal place.
Finding home within is a journey. It hasn’t always been easy – There were many times (especially when I was younger) when I wished home was a fixed location… I tried this in my adult life – But then I find my Self getting uninspired all over again. Anyone feel that way? Yes, home has become a constant exploration of what each location has taught me about my Self.
I fully embrace the traveller in me! It can be lonely sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
🌟 Each city brings out a different side of my Self…
Our environment is an extension of our energy. Sometimes we choose where we live and sometimes we are in a certain location due to life circumstances. Now that I have one foot in each city (London & Barcelona) and I also love to explore more travel, I can see that our environment does play a huge part in what it brings up in me.
I am open to more! Bring it ON 😎