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Get up! Get out!

31 Mar

It’s spring. Seedlings are bursting out of the earth, pigeons are horny, bees are slouching about pretending to work, and rioters are rioting. It really is the perfect time to get out into the countryside.

Last year I was hit by the same malaise which affects a lot of people (especially women) about a year after moving country. After the drinking, partying, thrill of finding a job, and discovering the city, has worn off, you start feeling lonely and dissatisfied. Life seems a bit one-dimensional but every time you think of doing something, the cost or lack of willing friends puts you off.

To overcome this, I spent an entire afternoon in September 2011 signing up to various meetup groups including a Barcelona Writers Club, Barcelona Green Drinks, Cinebar, Barcelona Brunch Club, Barcelona Hiking and Outdoors Group etc. My life was about to become a whirlwind of social activity.

That was the plan.

By February this year, I had:

1. Attended one Cinebar event where the highlight of my social interaction was being asked to pass the popcorn

2. Attended one Writers Club and came away intimidated and a little bored- Writers there had been professionally practising the craft longer than I had been alive and I was completely clueless on my writing plans. (*The story didn’t end here, see my Update Note below.)

3. Got lost in the Gotico, turned up late and completely missed a Green Drinks meeting. It was like a scene from The Graduate, I was banging on the glass door and crying on the street, the group was oblivious in the back room, and eventually a scary looking punk and his dog offered me a beer.

Then, I signed up for en event with the Barcelona Hiking and Outdoor group. For one reason or the other, I chose to ignore all my perfectly valid excuses this time:

1. I didn’t know anybody on the group

2. I don’t speak great Spanish

3. I was asked to work at the Chippy that night

4. I didn’t have any hiking boots (and the group rules state people turning up without the right gear get left behind. It would be like turning up to PE without my shorts all over again.)

Ignoring the excuses and getting off my arse, was the best 2012 decision I have made. The result was this:

 

 
 

Since the first event went so well and the people were so awesome, I decided to go on another.

 

 

Yes, that is a whale!

So sign out of facebook, put away the laptop and go commune with some freakin nature!

Note:
1.About a year after I attended the writing group, I agreed to accompany a friend to the meeting once again. The friend stopped going, but I still try to make it as often as I can for my dose of inspiration. If you’re struggling alone at home, I seriously recommend coming out and having a few drinks with other people who enjoy the craft. It’s like balm!

Places to visit without a car: a great idea from the Spain Scoop blog

23 Mar

This was such a brilliant idea from Spain Scoop I just had to share it. Its part of their ‘No Car Needed’ series, covering places to visit from Barcelona by public transport. Brilliant idea for pedestrians like me. I hate having to listen to all the cool stuff people with cars get up to on the weekend.

La Garriga, is a medieval spa town only 40 minutes away by train. The two main hotel spas offer great promotions on rooms (15% on bookings made before the end of March).

Read the complete report byRegina Winkle-Bryan and see pictures here: No Car Needed: Spring Waters of La Garriga, Catalonia.

You can find more information on the La Garriga local council website  and make reservations at the Gran Hotel Balneario Blancafort (once you get past the twinkly-tinkly watery music…….. gotta go, need to pee).

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