Place: Barcelona

Amalia is a sociologist who studies the differences in behavior between “anarchists” (individuals who want ultimate freedom and personal liberty in their daily life) and “traditional” people who have regular 9-5 jobs. Both groups are highly educated…the differences stem from the fact that the “anarchists” want to maximize the time they have doing things they choose rather than working regular jobs. So one week one person may be a baker and the next week he may juggle in the street to collect money. She said the “anarchists” come up with really creative methods to uphold their values. For example, a person may live in an abandoned building and pay no rent in order to not have to work a regular job that would decrease their personal time. I think at the extreme, these people may be considered a burden on society and its resources. At the same time, it’s important to consider that Spain’s unemployment rate is >20%. I don’t know if this plays any role. I do remember Amalia telling us that the “anarchist” lifestyle positively correlates with education and income. However, the main reason that individuals choose this lifestyle is personal freedom at any cost. It was interesting that “traditional” people checked their watches often during the interview process and defined themselves based on their profession, while “anarchists” had a more fluid perception of who they were that would depend on the day or week.

Giovanni and I are choosing personal freedom by going on this trip, but we plan to return to our 9-5 jobs. We are kind of half traditional and half anarchist. I think personal freedom, growth, and reflection is undervalued in the workforce. Perhaps it interferes with productivity.

During this trip, we have a lot of both choice and time. Since we construct our days, there are no real schedules (except if we are catching a train or a bus), and this personal liberty allows for us to appreciate our decisions and choices on a daily basis. These past 20 days of living out of a backpack have allowed me to appreciate the small stuff…a cold shower on a hot day, a delicious pastry in the morning, a beautiful sunset, and even clean laundry.

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