How I Became Location Independent in Barcelona
I arrived in Barcelona on a May morning at Sants train station. I had travelled from Madrid on a night train. The reality was that I had left my job as an English teacher, my apartment and my boyfriend behind me. With a grand total of 400 euros to my name, determined not to give another English lesson as long as I lived.
In Barcelona, I wanted to fulfil my dream of becoming an export sales representative. I was determined to use my languages to travel and live in my favorite city. Although I was keen to leave the teaching world, I realised that the working conditions in the academic sector were not all that bad. But that had been the case in the language academies, where I had taught, in Madrid. I would have to make a lot of sales to earn anything like a decent living in my new city.
I had worked in a wide variety of different jobs in different sectors over the years. Nevertheless, I found out that working in Barcelona was a challenge. With long hours, low salaries and zero stability, it did not surprise me that many of my expat friends soon gave up on Barcelona and returned to their respective countries. Their requirement for more stable job opportunities, and better working conditions overrode the terrible weather they invariably found when they went home.
I, on the other hand, have stayed put and expended plenty of blood, sweat and tears to make a life in Barcelona. It was 8 years ago when I decided to became a blogger. At that time I was working in luxury real estate and my foreign clients became a great source of inspiration for me. Many of them were location independent. They worked online and they could conduct their business anywhere in the world. They chose to live in Barcelona because they adored the city, enjoyed its expat community, cherished the sun and relished all the other advantages that it had to offer.
At that time, the global financial crisis was a grim reality. The employment market was abysmal and I decided that the time was right to set up my blog. I was motivated by my clients who had successful online businesses and my primary intention was to emulate them. After a while, I received an offer from a publisher who wanted to produce my first book. I found myself enjoying multiple press collaborations as well, so I re-prioritised my blog for a while and concentrated on writing about sex for several media outlets here in Spain such as GQ, El Pais and Playboy.
Before I knew it, I had became a normal freelancer. Then, in 2015, I decided to broaden my horizons and my ambitions. Instead of restricting myself to the Spanish-speaking market, I decided to go global and produce more content in English. I must confess that I was a little nervous about doing so at first because writing in Spanish was a huge liberation for me especially when it comes to talking about sex.
As time goes on, I find myself collaborating with a diverse and surprising collection of companies from all over the world. I must admit that have absolutely no idea what is going on in Spain in terms of employment rights and I do not feel the need to find out. In this case, ignorance is bliss for me. I am extremely fortunate to be in a position now where disruptions in the Spanish economy no longer affect me in the way that they used to. I have made my own professional life and defined it in an online global context.
I’m so glad to have a professional situation that means I do not have to leave Barcelona like many of my expat friends did. So far, I have made it work for me. And, even though I do not have to be in Barcelona all the time, I do think that I should make the most of my liberal professional situation and travel more often. The only problem I have is that I love this city so much that I find it so difficult to drag myself away from it.