Lifestyle design – as practised in Barcelona

Ever felt like taking some time out to do all those things you love, but never get around to doing because you’re just too busy? Well, I recently spent one month living in Barcelona: Catalonia’s cosmopolitan capital which sings and shouts with an exhilarating energy that is at once inspiring and infectious – and I managed to do just that.

‘Catalonia’ could arguably – and very controversially – squeeze into the catchall of an ‘emerging nation’ because there is a brewing debate there about independence from Spain, which is set to be discussed in a referendum in November later this year; it may not happen, as the Spanish Government intends to block it altogether…

But political wranglings aside, Barcelona is a great place to unwind – and the chic, central neighbourhood of Jaume, with its cobbled streets, trendy cafes and eclectic buzz, was my home for four weeks.

Taking time out between projects, I settled into the local scene and, in a nod to author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss’ guide to lifestyle design, dedicated myself to trying out some new things.


The fountains at the bottom of one of Barcelona’s central avenues, Passeig de Gràcia, with an advert of famous football star, Messi, in the background

Lifestyle design is geared towards taking action, getting exactly what you want from life, living out  your dreams – and doing it anywhere.

Looking back on the month, here’s a list of what I feel I achieved:

I finessed my salsa skills with some semi-professional dancers…check out Esencia Salsa Club, close to Carrer d’Aribau: it’ll set you back around €12, with two drinks thrown in

I got to watch one of the world’s greatest football teams, Barcelona, and one of the world’s best players, diminutive Argentine Lionel Messi, at the world-renowned Camp Nou stadium. Awesome! I snapped up a ticket for €45 from – nearly half the cover-price as season ticket holders sell their cards for unwanted games.


Me at the Camp Nou

I started a running habit, helped along the way by a professional coach, and ran every other day, inspired by Arc de Trimof as surroundings and along a sun-kissed Barceloneta Beach – in January!


One of the city’s iconic monuments, around the corner from my apartment: the Arc de Triomf

I took up vinyasa yoga lessons, taking classes in Spanish…you can find €5, one-hour sessions on

I breathed in late-night Barcelona on a scooter – an oft-trodden journey of many a local.

Dined at some of the city’s best tapas restaurants.

And I made some cool local friends 🙂 Salsa was an amazing ticket to achieving this.

Whilst it was an amazing month, one key thing lacking was structure. Without this, your life can resemble a chaotic, miasmic mess, stumbling from one ambition to the next. This last I would attribute specifically to not properly conquering the language…having said that, if I am negotiating on prices in local markets in any language after so little time, I can’t be that bad. Can I?


About emerge28

I travel the world, promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) into emerging nations via country branding reports within international media. The aim of my blog is to document some of the amazing places I travel to, the inspiring people I meet and chart how the world is changing, with power and growth moving east and south.
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