Jessica is a travel writer (and translator) originally from England but grew up in California and now lives in Barcelona. She runs the blog Barcelona Blonde where you can read about her love for Barcelona and other travel adventures.
Read our interview with Jessica and get inspired to travel!
1. What do you remember from your first trip to Europe when you were 14 years old?
I remember feeling like the city was just buzzing with people going somewhere exciting to do exciting things! I wanted to join the crowds and go wherever it was they were heading.
2. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since you started travelling?
It’s a cliche, but it really does open your mind. Living long-term in another country gives you an in-depth view of a different perspective and attitude to living. This means that some of my perceptions about the U.S., where I grew up, have changed, or things that I took for granted I don’t anymore. In a way, it helps you understand your own country better.
It’s also a chance to re-define how you want your life to be. Because you’re starting from scratch and because your perspective is different from the locals, it’s easier to come across unconventional opportunities. In my case, I ended up freelancing, which I probably never would have considered had I stayed in California.
But here, I just fell into it without planning it, and have gotten to work on a ton of interesting projects in all kinds of sectors. A few months ago, I interviewed an actual rocket scientist about actual spaceships – and entirely in Spanish!
3. You’ve been living in Barcelona since 2011, what has been the most special moment so far? And the most difficult one?
This is a tough question! There are so many special moments and difficult ones, too. But one of my favourite moments is when friends and family come to visit and I get to share with them what I love about the city. I also love the annual Gràcia neighborhood festival.
The most difficult was probably when I arrived. Getting set up in a foreign country is hard, and it takes time. I wasn’t prepared for how much of a challenge it would be.
4. If you were to be given the chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
Haha this is the question I’m most struggling with. I can’t think of anybody!
5. Would you ever consider settling down and concluding your journey in one of the locations you’ve visited? If so, which country would you choose?
The other city I’ve most felt a connection with is Edinburgh, and I’d love to live there – except for the weather! I also sometimes think about moving back to California to either L.A. or San Diego.
We’ll see what happens!
6. Favourite instagram photo?
I like this one, taken at a summertime rooftop concert at Casa Batlló. Not only was it one of those ¨Wow, I can’t believe I’m actually here¨ moments, but I also like the message on the glass.
I don’t think luck is entirely down to attitude (there’s a quote I like better that says ¨The harder I try, the luckier I get´). But it is great to remember to appreciate how lucky you are. Though I must say, that’s not too difficult to do at an event like this one!
7. Connect the numbers with the letters…
- Live for 1 year
- One-day trip
- Travel for 2 weeks
1b. Live for one year – Argentina
I’d love to get the chance to get to know Argentina. I’ve never been, but it sounds like an amazing place. I’ve wanted to go ever since I saw a photo of the Perito Moreno Glacier in a Lonely Planet coffee table book.
2a. One-day trip – Portugal
I think Portugal looks and sounds amazing. But, I’ve been living in Spain for 6 years, so I’m itching to travel to places further away. Having said that, I wouldn’t say no to living in Portugal by any means!
3c. Travel for two weeks – Thailand
I really want to visit Thailand, and I think 2 weeks would be a great amount of time to explore the temples, beaches, and history.
8. Let’s talk about food – what’s the best and worst meal you had the pleasure to try when traveling?
Best – I had an amazing pizza in Milan, Italy at a restaurant called Gino Sorbillo. I’m not a huge foodie, but it was so good I wanted every mouthful to last forever.
Next-best: Sushi at KazuNori in downtown L.A. Each piece is made individually right in front of you by the chef, so you eat it just seconds after it’s been assembled. It tastes totally different from any other sushi I’d ever had.
Worst? Fortunately, I haven’t had any memorably bad food on my travels! Just stuff like overpriced tourist traps – but I think we’ve all been there!
9. What’s your dream trip?
It changes! But right now, I’d love to take a long trip to South America and explore different countries. Last fall, I went to Brazil, and ever since I’ve wanted to go back to see more of both the country and the South American continent in general.
Mexico is also high on my list, as I grew up just a couple hours from the border but have never been. The more I find out about it, the more I want to go!
10. Lastly, any insider tips about your home you can share with us that we won’t find in a guidebook?
Well, my hometown is a place called Riverside in southern California. It’s not a tourist destination except in December, when it has one of the biggest holiday light displays in the entire world. It’s definitely worth making a trip to see!
And for Barcelona, one cool place not many visitors know about is the Convent de Sant Agusti, which is a civic center housed in the remains of an old convent. It’s got a really cute cafe inside, and is beautifully lit up at night. It’s not a major attraction, but it is really charming.
Thank you very much for the interview and all the answers and stories!
Do you have any questions to ask Jessica? Let us know in the comments below!
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