Relocating to Barcelona

One American family’s story about relocating to Barcelona, what makes the city so special and why they chose Eixample as their home.

American online Entrepreneurs Andrea and Harris Fellman are originally from Los Angeles and moved to Barcelona in July 2016 after having spent three years in Costa Rica. They rented an apartment in Eixample Right via Lucas Fox and spoke to us about relocating to Barcelona and what makes the Catalan capital so appealing. They also gave us an insight into the secrets of how to successfully market a business online.

CF: Why did you decide to move to Barcelona?
AF & HF:
We moved to Barcelona because it is a great city with amazing weather and because of its proximity to the rest of Europe. We also moved to Barcelona because our children have been learning Spanish for three years and we wanted that to continue. We, too, have been learning Spanish, but ours is, of course, a little bit more slow going. However, the good thing is we have learned and used more Spanish here in Barcelona than our three years in Costa Rica.

CF: It’s a big change from Costa Rica. What were the main challenges during your move?
AF & HF: The biggest challenges were furnishing our apartment. In Costa Rica most homes you rent are already fully furnished. They are typically vacation rentals so everything is included, even sheets and towels. So being back in a city and having to shop to furnish an entire apartment (in another language) was a bit exhausting. Waiting for furniture to arrive, organising deliveries and hauling things back from stores. It was fun in the beginning but then you just want it to be over.

CF: How does Barcelona compare to Los Angeles?
AF & HF: Well, that is actually why we like Barcelona so much as in some ways it is very similar to Los Angeles. The climate is the same and we still get the beach and the mountains, minus all the traffic. Barcelona is definitely smaller and it is very walkable, unlike Los Angeles.

CF: How did you decide what area of the city to live in?
AF & HF: We knew we wanted to be in the centre of the city and we wanted to be able to walk to everything. Coming from a very rural place, we wanted to be in the middle of it all! I really love the Modernista architecture and Eixample is the area with the most of this style of buildings, so I was drawn to Eixample.

CF: Why did you decide to rent rather than buy?
AF & HF: Renting is a bit safer when you first move somewhere in case things don’t work out and we are a bit nomadic, so renting is better for us right now. If we decide to stay long-term then we would consider buying.

CF: How long did it take you to find your new home? What was the process like?
AF & HF: It took us about 4 weeks. It took us a bit longer to find our apartment because unfortunately we were looking in August. August is a horrible month to search. Everyone is on holiday and many people have also rented their apartments for short-term stays during the summer. It was hard to get in to see some and I feel the options were a bit limited.

CF: You and your husband both work from home. What features of your property ensure that this situation works well?!
AF & HF: Yes, this was another reason our house hunt was a bit more complicated. We needed a space that allowed for us to have working space, but also something that felt spacious and had a lot of light. When you work from home you need your space to be very comfortable to work from, because you are home all the time. I needed the apartment to be bright with lots of light as I do not work well feeling boxed in. With a wide, open floor plan and lots of rooms we can also move about the house and work in a few different places. We joke that our home is a bit like a co-working space!

CF: You specialise in digital marketing. What would you say are the key trends right now?
AF & HF: One of the biggest trends is obviously video. Many people are really using Facebook Live more to connect and engage with their followers or customers. Documenting everything and really taking people behind the scenes is also a popular trend. Showing the making of, the process, and how things really are. Whether you are a brand or an influencer, people want to sometimes see what’s behind the door. I think people are a little tired of the perfect image. People want to see the real people, real lives and real personalities. Looking filtered and perfect all the time is not authentic. Influencer marketing has only increased over the last few years and I think many companies that thought perhaps using influencers was only a fad or not worth it, have finally caught on that it is a very powerful and strategic tool, when done correctly.

CF: Do you think all companies should be on Social Media if they are not already?
AF & HF: If you are in business today, then yes you should absolutely be using Social Media. It is a very impactful way to tell your story, share your product and messages and attract more customers.

CF: How important is content marketing?
AF & HF: Content marketing is really just another form of advertising but it has more lasting value and it’s more engaging. If done right, content marketing also builds trust. The more value you can give to your customers, the more trust that builds, and trust usually means they will buy whatever it is you’re selling.

CF: Your children attend the American school of Barcelona. Why did you choose the ASB over any other school (local or international)?
AF & HF: We like the international school system. It has a wonderful community of international students and parents who are more similar to us. The kids at international schools are used to transitioning, speak a variety of languages, bring diversity, and have generally lived abroad or internationally. We also find many parents are entrepreneurial like us, love to travel and have a globally minded attitude.

CF: How integrated would you say you are?
AF & HF: I would say that being an expat who works from home we are not as integrated as say someone that might move here to work for a company. Our children also go to an international school so we are more integrated into that community of expats. That does not mean just Americans, the school is a melting pot of families from all over the world and of course local Catalans and Spanish natives.

CF: Describe Barcelona in 3 words.
AF & HF: Beautiful, Relaxed and Creative.

You can find out more about Harris Fellman’s work at his website TrafficForMe.com.

Andrea writes her own Blog, wanderlustliving.com, and is co-Founder of Twist Travel Magazine.

They have also set up  TrumpDressUp.com.  (:

Find out more information on properties to rent in Barcelona on the Lucas Fox website.

Check out Lucas Fox’s Top 10 Properties to Rent in Barcelona.

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