Where are we going?

An update on life in Spain and the impressions I get, and a retrospection on our modern lives.

 

Where are we going with all of this? I mean, where is this technological era taking us? Are we evolving or devolving? I have realised the more time I spend in the city the more I would like to go back to what the earth was like a good few decades ago.

As humans, we might not always listen to our need to for being surrounded by nature. But when we pause our busy lives for a second and take a break, visit a forest, or a lake or somewhere isolated we can experience the connection. In my case, I feel complete when I’m close to the sea. I feel the need of being near, in, or on it. I just cannot explain the feeling of happiness and fondness for that great body of water. There is a magical overwhelming sensation that surrounds the sea, and when I go in I feel embraced. Then, nothing is important anymore. We are finally one.

As we come and go, and fill our most primary needs such as eating or paying rent by working we focus on the city lifestyle, and end up losing the connection. In fact, we don’t even need it, there are many more important things in life like making money. Being promoted. Buying things. Having a good social image. Social media.

It’s all things we have created. A frivolous life we feed while someone makes sure we don’t question it – mainly the media. Which makes me think of big companies buying, selling, buying, selling. Fast fashion. They exploit workers in 3rd world countries so we can comfortably buy clothes or shoes for a ‘fair price’. We should ask the workers how fair it actually is. But we all know about it. Nike exploits children. H&M, Gap, Primark, Zara (Inditex)… exploit garment workers in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Brazil, Morocco, Tunisia, Vietnam. And don’t get me started on Apple. We turn a blind eye, because getting clothes or things from non-mainstream brands is too complicated. Because we’d rather have a crappy life in which we spend most of our day in a low paid job (Spain) in order to re-pay the mortgage we’ve got, and of course we cannot afford ethical brands nor can we be bothered to find them online – even when it takes less than two minutes.

This country is funny like that. Spain is full of corrupt politicians as everyone knows. But then again, the media is also corrupt, so there won’t be a revolution because everyone has learnt to focus on more important matters. What surprises me is that so many people will defend the system. Many of them are even proud of their country, and will defend the injustice and unjustified unfairness that surrounds us. For example: Politicians are found to be involved in a massive corruption scandal and what do we do? Nothing, we worry about the situation in Catalonia, and we complain about people wanting to be independent (They’re breaking our country!) instead of giving them the opportunity to have a referendum and make them choose democratically what they want. And when they try, like it happened last year, what did the police do? They beat up the people who had gathered ‘illegally’ to vote and have a saying. And what does the media/the country say? They haven’t asked what the rest of Spain wants, what if we want them to be part of us still? How dare they want to vote! – Imagine this situation from a couple’s perspective: ‘John, I want to divorce you’, ‘But Martha, you haven’t asked me what I want, what if I don’t want to divorce you? I want us to be together for life!’ ‘Uhm… Okay John, but I just don’t want that. I don’t love you anymore, I think I’m going to get my things and go somewhere else.’ ‘You can’t do that! That’s not the legal procedure! I’ll call the police to tell them you’ve been a bad wife and make you change your mind!’. And basically that’s what they did. Police brutality of course won the argument.

A year later they still haven’t had their referendum and it would still be illegal to have one. The politicians who carried out the movement had to run away from Spain not to be imprisoned. Which slightly reminds me of the times of the dictatorship in this country – a very controversial topic now as the new government wants to move the corpse of the dictator somewhere less glamorous and good old fascist supporters are coming out of the woodwork to complain about it. There is a Fundación Francisco Franco by the way, which is the equivalent to Hitler having a foundation to honour him and have meetings every now and then to remember his glorious soul. Meanwhile the rest of the world tries to comprehend the craziness of the situation, whereas in Spain it is something completely normal. (The president of the foundation even speaks on national TV!)

We are the sons and daughters, the grandchildren of that dictatorship, and many many people won’t ever be able to see the atrocities committed by a murderer. Instead, they’ll only see that there wasn’t criminality on the streets – curfew; whoever was an opositor could go to prison and be tortured if discovered. People like gays, or lesbians were put in psychiatric institutions for many years in an attempt to make them ‘normal’ again. But of course none of this would affect you if you were a good loyal supporter of the right wing dictatorship.

A couple of months ago I couldn’t see much difference between Spain and the UK on many aspects, but now I do:

Coming back from the UK, Spain seems to be a very backward country. In their politics, their infrastructure, education system, bureaucracy, and their high tolerance towards deceitfulness. A very disappointed image to be unchanged (I left precisely because of that). In a way, I’d like to stay to work on fixing it. As a journalist, I believe I have a voice and should be used to create awareness and fight against injustice. However circumstances force me to stay only for a while before returning to the UK.

We have a plan though, we want to live in the countryside, isolated from the world for a few hours a day. In contact with nature on good quality walks with my (now two) dogs. We adopted one here as I know Spain has a much higher dog abandonment rate, the highest in Europe apparently.

And while I can, I will try to ignore that companies listen in and record random bits of conversation through my phone, that my life will be dedicated to work in order to pay for a piece of land, that modern slavery does exist, and all those normalised horrible aspects of the human world.

Please buy ethic. There’s a bunch of brands that do only ethical clothes and whose workers are paid a fair salary and work in good conditions.

Please stay in touch with nature. For your own health. Do not forget that we are here on this planet to take care of it, we are lucky enough to see it and experience it. Life is so much more than making money or having thousands of followers.

I’ll stop rambling now, thanks for reading and a happy week to you!

 

 

 

The runaway

A white page on a digital platform where to share my feelings. Digital era they call it. Gone are the days where I would spend the whole evening writing notes in my little notebook. Everything seems to be so connected yet disconnected. I am not sure I like it.  I guess I’m being dramatic, I’m only from the 90s, I should be used to it – ‘it’s not like you were born six decades ago!’ I tell myself.

 

Yet still, I feel like we are going uncontrollably fast, speeding up to the limit and rushing into what will inevitably be a mixture of destruction and dust, if that makes sense.

 

If someone asked me how I would define this era I would say digital. I can’t help but feel we would be better off without that much technology, apps, and overall social media. Lonely people overshare on social media. That was the headline of some news report I read the other day.

 

Europe is for good and bad pretty much the same everywhere, so when I say I’ve moved from the UK to Spain again, contrary to most people’s opinion I believe is not such a big deal. Health system is the same, applying for jobs requires the same digital process, shopping online is practically the same with different products (supermarkets here have much more variety at much cheaper prices!) and overall it feels like there’s not much difference. Same banks, fast food, clothing shops… Same fashion, style, and lifestyle. We have lost our identity to an alarming rate and in order to feel abroad one has to go very very far, where the influence of the west isn’t so strong. All of this makes me feel sad and overwhelmed. But of course, when emigrating it makes things ten times easier, so I shouldn’t be ungrateful.

 

This month I said goodbye to the UK. Hopefully for a long time. I came back to my hometown, Madrid, and I am living in a sunny place.

Places are colourful and so are the people. It has taken me five years to miss it. I used to hate it. Madrid is where I grew up in a not very healthy environment with very toxic people, but I had to fight my demons and that has taken many years. I come back now to somewhere different in Madrid, so the neighbourhood is different, and I’m still trying to get to know the area.

 

It feels good to be back however it doesn’t feel like home to me. I don’t belong to anywhere nor do I feel the need to stay or come back. I just wanted to run away from England, like I did from Madrid one day, and my friends were still here so I came to them. They are home. I have now a fiancé and of course my dog – they are home too – so I took everyone with me on this new adventure and I’ll take this time in my life to reconnect with my loved ones. To start a new chapter in my life. ‘The comeback’ or maybe not. That doesn’t matter, I probably won’t stay here for too long, and when I’m ready and I have recharged my batteries I’ll feel free to leave again. This time I won’t run away.

Design. So obvious it’s invisible.

Recently I came across a Kitchen Bedroom and Bathroom magazine. I have never been into writing about design, and have never thought about having a career on anything to do with design in fact. But I should have realised when trips to IKEA become something to look forward to. When you are planning a trip to the TATE museum (London) just so you can watch the infinite unphotographable white staircase. (picture below)

tate-britain
By Szerelmey

 

Or when exploring old mansions from the 1700 in England becomes more than an adventure. And you find yourself wanting to photograph beautifully decorated iron gates in what was someone’s hallway at some point a few decades ago. The excitement of being in an abandoned house is not as big as being surrounded by beauty stuck in time. It is believed the house was left around the Blitz (1940s) and a couple of friends and I went to explore it right after some company took over to do restoration works.
richmond mansion

I have always enjoyed well-decorated places, it’s part of our human nature, we like pretty things, they are more watchable. I personally find difficult not to buy stationary like notebooks that contain pretty fonts on the cover, or rose gold pens, or giant map of the world pictures. It’s hard not to buy anything from Paperchase, yes. I’m in love with cheesy cool fonts, like this one.

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And with South and central American houses,  because they are so colourful, like this Mexican one:

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I still have this gorgeous picture I took in Paraty, in Brazil.

DSC_0529 2

One day I want to work at a place that looks like a garden. Like this stunning warehouse in East London.

Clapton+Tram+-+a+plant-filled+warehouse+space+in+London
Clapton Tram. By Haarkon

And let’s not forget the architecturally stunning houses with fountains in the middle and plants, always plants everywhere.

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May I present you my dream house? This is a hostel I stayed in San José, Costa Rica when backpacking with my brother. Little did I know I would fall in love with this house so much I begged my partner to have something like this at some point in our lives. This is my ultimate goal house. A beautiful house inside and outside.

hostal finca escalante
hostelfincaescalante.com

Reflecting now on that trip, I remember I was extremely disappointed about the architecture in Costa Rica because there wasn’t colonial buildings from the first Spanish colonos, like the Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago de Chile. However seeing all kinds of animals in the wild so well respected and protected made up for the lack of colonial architecture.

catedral-metropolitana
Trip Advisor UK

Turns out that I do love design and I wasn’t even aware of it.

To us, creative people

‘Right now the world is locked up in its own cage. There is no sincerity, no true emotions. If we keep doing this… What is going to be of us?’ – A few days ago I met up with some young professionals. These are their views towards creative people, life and opportunities.

Danny is a filmmaker and also photographer. He works as a freelancer.

‘Every one of us has their own lie, and more or less we turn it into our day-to-day truth. To some of us, the thirst for freedom keeps us alive.’ Pablo has just finished his degree. His experience as an intern was ‘awful.’ He tells us the struggle he went through as a person who is not meant to be at an office.

He describes people there as worried, overwhelmed and in general, dissatisfied. ‘They were so unhappy doing that. The office was an open cubicle and we were all meaningless – just numbers chasing profits.’ With his statement he is not judging them, he says, but he understands some people will have their reasons to stay there. Some others might not have found a way to get out, or to do what they really want.

‘Imagine yourself playing at a gig for a large audience. It isn’t impossible. Stay focused and follow every single path that will lead you to it.’ Pablo plays the guitar since he was a child. He is ambitious and perseverant ­– a key to chase his career dreams.

‘Personal development is something that nowadays schools don’t work on. From my perspective, it is really unfair on young people. We are given a choice, but it’s not the choice we want.’

‘You might be lucky enough to like doing something that fits within. Otherwise life becomes a fight. Life is about dreaming and persuading what you dream of, what your passion is, what you feel you need in your life.’ Says Danny.

And he is right. We all have something inside, something really strong, and if we listen to it and try to hold on to it, at some point, the doors will open for us.

Look inside and try to chase whatever that is telling you to go. And never, ever stop – they tell me.

Who hasn’t dreamed of being a ballerina, or a singer, or a famous author? Pablo has just started playing at bars in Madrid. Danny has done dozens of photo-shoots and is completing an important portfolio.

‘Maybe pursuing our dreams is how we get to stay young, and maybe that’s how we will never die inside.’ They just showed me a lesson to be learned. Just keep doing it. At some point, it will pay off, it will become the reality and eventually you will have that what you’ve worked for so hard. Just keep trying.

To all the creative people that have chosen career dreams over a more accessible future.

Project X: The Change

A quote from Malcom X says “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent”. What if the media was an honest entity and was up for a better change?

I have just finished my journalism degree and it has been wonderful so far. I have realised investigative journalism is my passion; During my degree I have enjoyed all my assignments and I feel proud to say I tried my very best in every single one of them. I love investigative journalism but I think documentaries are much more effective when it comes to persuading people. An image can tell you much more than words.

I describe myself as an activist, a political citizen, a fighter for our rights -both people an animal’s rights. I’d like to be the voice for those who cannot speak and I’d love to serve my purpose on this life of being useful, being the person that helped to move towards a change.

I’m a dreamer, an idealist, a person who believes in democracy, equality, justice and honesty, and those are concepts that sound a bit old-fashioned because we are used to have dishonest politicians, unfair justice, inequality economy and an inexistent democracy that makes us believe we will not be able to make a change with our vote.

I see this sleeping society and I feel bad for the future generations that are about to come. What will they have? A very polluted environment, very powerful companies making profit of ridiculously low salaries in third world countries, animal exploitation in exchange of a few dollars a day, politicians robbing and buying justice, drug lords ruling entire communities including police in marginal areas. We need a change. This is not the world I want to live in, and I’ll do my very best to make a difference.

The need for activism

I believe documentaries are the best way to communicate an idea to the public. It is easier to sit and watch a film than to read the newspaper. People need an easy access, and I believe a small group of committed individuals can change things, we do need to improve this horrible world. We have a mission, we must not take the world for granted. There are so many things that are wrong, so much injustice, that we must do something, not stay impassively towards it.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
John Lennon

We are the change. We are the small community that can change the world, we are the conscience to the world. The eyes of those who are unable to see. The ears of those who don’t want to listen. The camera in front of the atrocity that the government wants to cover up.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

This is your chance, our chance. We need to stand together and fight against injustice. Enough of ignorance in this world, let’s fight against that as well: Knowledge is power. Education is awareness. We are creating The Tribe: A group of activists focused on investigative journalism. The world needs us, and we can’t let it down.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

We can’t let those animals suffer, for they don’t have a voice and we must be theirs. We can’t let the homeless down, and we cannot let people say “they are there begging because they’re lazy, they could find a job”. We can blame it on the individuals, but it’s the corporation’s responsibility, it’s the government’s fault. It’s the bad management of those who are in the power. It is the selfishness, the money obsession and the greed for power.

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
Elie Wiesel

We, citizens, need to stop them, to create awareness. The tribe is coming to do it, will you join us?