From Scotch to Sangria

OK, so playing a little bit into the stereotypes, but you get the idea—a Scotsman made the move to Spain, or perhaps more correctly, Catalonia. Also, for the record, Sangria is not as commonly drank here as we are led to believe. Just like us Scots don’t run around the hills in kilts playing the bagpipes. I digress.

It was back in November 2013 that I made my first trip to Barcelona—whilst still working at Skyscanner—shortly after the company acquired a local startup based there. I will be honest, my first trip was met with mixed feelings.

I came expecting similar vibes to Edinburgh but, in reality, everything felt much bigger and more chaotic than I imagined. There were streets 8 lanes wide, thousands of people everywhere, street-sellers, scooters whizzing down the pavements and the threat of pick-pocketing around every corner.

I’m not sure why my expectations were so misaligned but on subsequent visits I made a point of checking out different neighborhoods and soaking up more and more of the multiple cultures that made this city into what it is. I must say, with each additional visit, I feel more and more in love with the place.

Fast forward two years, and little did I know back then that I would find myself having serious conversations about moving my life here. Initially, I had planned to move with Skyscanner but ultimately with a new startup called TravelPerk. The move was an eye-opening experience for many reasons, but most relevant to this blog is the fact that this move symbolized the first major down-sizing exercise that I had done since moving to university 12 years prior.

From student to homeowner

You see, at the age of 24, I bought a house. A three bedroom house. With two bathrooms, ample living room, kitchen, dining area, back garden, and parking space. The first year was spent buying basic things that would fill the cavernous space that I now “owned”. You see the truth is that for many years to come, that house is owned by the bank, so not only was I indebted to them for what seemed like the rest of my life, I was also spending whatever wages were left to buy furniture and things to fill the rooms and garden.

I began to accumulate masses of things that largely sat unused. It seemed to make sense at the time. It seemed to be the expected path. Buy a house. Fill it with things. Extend the house. Fill it with more things. Remodel the house, and so on…

I was totally bought into it, but the move abroad started to bring a new perspective to life. I was back renting in the city center instead of living in a mortgaged house in a quite town. I wanted to spend more and more time going out and doing things and buying furniture and other objects to fill someone else’s apartment made little sense.

Work brought us together—love will keep us there

Fast-forward a further two years since moving to Barcelona and the love of my life would also join this crazy startup to lead me down an even more exciting and eye-opening path. A path that has us asking where and how we would like to spend the rest of our lives together. This is when tiny homes became a consideration, we began to challenge the status quo and build our own values about what was important to us both individually and as a couple.

So, in short, this is how I arrived here in Barcelona and more importantly how I arrived to the chapter in my life where I met Elisa—but that’s a whole other blog post, so I will leave it here for now and hand the mic over to Elisa to share her story on how a life in Barcelona came to be.