Flights are the best moment for writing. No wifi, so no interruptions that require your attention. Just you, and a lot of time to think. This time I’m flying to Berlin, the city where we are relocating to, we fly there after having spent almost two weeks in our hometown with our families and friends. We needed some summer! This period, short but intense, has made me think about the differences between the Spanish culture and other cultures in Europe, and how much I appreciate it. It’s hard to appreciate what you have until you put some distance in between.
For someone that works on IT, moving abroad might sound very exciting. You could, for example, move to the SF area and work for companies like Facebook
, or Google
, and be part of the change those companies are striving for. But work is not everything in life, although, for some people in the startup ecosystem, work seems to be more important than their lives. Work, in my humble opinion, should allow you enjoy your life, and do what makes you feel healthy and happy. Believe me; there’s no silver bullet theory to build happiness in life, you need to understand yourself. These days in Spain have opened my eyes that were not opened at all. I realized that the things that I enjoy the most are not out there, but in the country where I come from.
Entering a restaurant and asking the waiter for some croquetas, the same one that tells you how his life is going, and who grabs a beer with you because… why not? Inviting your friends for a drink or some tapas without waiting for anything in return. Spontaneously coming up with plans that your friends/family would join and enjoy all together. Finishing your workout and swimming in the river, or just simply eating a good tomato.
The list is endless, and each element is a small dose of happiness and good feelings. They have the power of changing my mood and boosting my energy. I might have that feeling because I’ve grown surrounded by all of them, but without them, I feel I’m an entirely different person. I’m used to a culture where life is more important than work (although this comes with some prejudices about us), and where sometimes it’s ok having no plan at all (like arriving a bit late to your appointments).
The Spanish culture is just one of all of them that we are lucky to have in such a globalized world. There are not right or bad habits, they are just different, and they are the results of a lot of thousands of years of history. If the world didn’t have that variety it would be very boring, wouldn’t it? When I travel I like when I see, for example, how Spanish, Italians, and Greek have so many things in common even though we are very distant (the firm influence of the Mediterranean sea and weather), or how Spanish people are so similar to Moroccan when it comes to trading (they were incredibly influential in our history).
But Pedro… All that you are saying sounds very contradictory with what you are doing, moving to Berlin! You are right, but regardless all the right things that we have in Spain, there are so many others can help me grow personally and open my mind in a way that wouldn’t be possible if I stayed in Spain. When I eventually move back to Spain, I’ll have a lot of perspectives and experience to overcome problems and face challenges that will come.
Having lived abroad or not, appreciate everything around you: friends, family, your workouts in nature, having a beer with your buddies. Being ambitious is good, but don’t let ambitiousness sacrifice the little pleasures. Living abroad will teach you how to value them even more, so if you have the opportunity to do it, try it out. Be humble and open to learning from every culture you have the chance to live in.
And if Pepe is not there to serve you croquetas, make sure you order a double portion the next time!
Have a great week and I hope you liked my first issue of this newsletter. I appreciate any honest feedback that you can give me.