Base Candidate 1: Barcelona

As those of you who read this website consistently know, I’m in the process of cruising down Africa on my scooter.  However, if you are a really in depth reader (and if you are, my mother wants to meet you because she doesn’t believe you exist), you’ll know that after arriving in South Africa, my plan is to set up a base somewhere.  I decided to create a little bit of a series on the process of deciding where I will plant a couple roots.

The first candidate in this series is the beautiful city of Barcelona.


Now, before I get into the pros and cons of Barcelona, I think you should all know my criteria.

  1. Central Global Location: Now, I know what you’re thinking  the world is round, you can be central anywhere.  But the truth is that Europe is the most central.  From Europe, you can catch direct flights just about anywhere in the world.  I am planning on spending one month in the base, then one month travelling and so on, so I’d like to be able to jump off anywhere really simply. But are trips getting out of Barcelona going to be a challenge?
  2. Price: I’m not a rich man.  Thus, I need somewhere to rest my head for a decent price.  I strongly believe I can live anywhere on a budget, but I’d rather live somewhere comfortable on that budget rather than the floor of a boarding house.
  3. Water: I need water around me.  I need an ocean, a beach, and humid air.  I love the desert, but I need to live by water.
  4. New Areas to Explore: I don’t like going to the same places, so I’d like somewhere new.  I’d like somewhere that has a lot of places surrounding it that I’ve never been before.
  5. Bacon: I need bacon. Enough said.

So how does Barcelona stack up on my list of needs?


Central Global Location

In this regard, Barcelona rates basically as high as you could.  Not only is Barcelona accessible to basically all of western Europe via train, but it is also has a very bus international airport.  Moreover, either the Barcelona airport of nearby Madrid has very good prices on flights just about anywhere in the world.  There is a reason so many people plan cheap weekend breaks to Barcelona, it’s really easy.  Score: A


While Barcelona isn’t exactly a cheap city, I’m sure it can be lived in for a reasonable price.  The truth is, however, this is one of my biggest concerns.  I don’t really want to have to try to hard to be frugal.  I want it to happen naturally.  I can see myself spending a lot of money in Barcelona and that kind of worries me. Score: C

Segrada Familia


Check. Barcelona is right on the water and there is a beach in town and a number of nice beaches around town.  Moreover, Barcelona is a quick trip to the French Riviera which is one of my favourite water destinations in Europe.  Top marks here. Score: A

New Areas to Explore

Well, not so much.  I’ve been to western Europe.  I’ve been to Barcelona.  Hell, I even speak Spanish!  And well I haven’t, obviously, seen everything in the region, I’d like somewhere more new to me.  I’ve been to every country that borders Spain except for those little ones people tend to forget.  Thus, the biggest reason that I wouldn’t chose Barcelona is this one.  Score: D


Not only is there bacon in Barcelona, but ham!  In fact, I’m not sure there is a better non-Canadian bacon destination in the entire world that Spain.  Top marks chaps! Score A

Final Decision

I think I’m going to pass on Barcelona.  Although you’re free to argue your case in the comments below!  I love Barcelona, and think I’d be happy there.  However, I don’t think it’s that perfect place for me.

Final Score: B-

Coming up next?

Firstly, I want you to help me decide.  I want you to let me know where you think I should go in the comments below.  I’m sure there are a number of places I haven’t thought of, so please give me a hand on this one.

As for my choices, the next five places I’ll  be discussing are Lisbon, Montenegro, Istanbul, Dubrovnik and Thessaloniki.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. I don’t know if Barcelona is really the best choice, but in my opinion, Spain is the ideal place to relocate. I would probably pick an island or maybe the picturesque south, where prices are great.
    Moving to Barcelona was on my list in the past, as well. The location is unbeatable (right on the coast , close enough to the French Alps and with an enchanting unspoilt countryside behind) and the vibe almost impossible to find somewhere else. Other advantages could be the amazing cultural scene, architecture, shopping and nightlife.
    Drawbacks: complicated language, high prices, too touristy
    By the way, Lisbon might be a wise choice:).
    Good luck!

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    • I loved Lisbon as well Miruna, my issue with it is that the location could be better. To get from Lisbon to anywhere you need to fly, it’s pretty closed off.

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  2. Friends were just in Spain and did not like it as much as Portugal. Portugal was cheaper, people were friendlier and the atmosphere was more pleasing.

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    • I would agree Mom, but Spain is better connected.

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  3. Best location to relocate to is an older home on 1/2 acre sitting on a cliff overlooking the North Saskatchewan River, with a clear view on the Rocky Mountains, only a hop, skip and jump from Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise and Calgary International Airport.
    Yes….this is your mother’s suggestion.

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    • I wondered if you would have some input on this : ) Yes I want him back in Canada too !

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  4. I’ve never been to Barcelona, but the bacon factor alone is worth an A+++. 😉

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  5. What are the other cnadidates besides Rocky Mountain House?

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  6. I hear Berlin is nice in the summertime 😉

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    • Ain’t no ocean in Berlin mate!

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  7. Hey Brendan!

    I’m a follower of your blog and videos but never commented before but now, that you are wondering the idea of living in my city I had to.

    Come with us! Barcelona and the Catalan people as you probably know will treat you the best way they can 😉 You can have great food, great drinks, great beach… And yes, great ham! haha

    And remember that Catalonia is not Spain, different language, different culture, different thinking… Not better, not worst but different. And we just want to be as we are.

    Enjoy your adventure in Africa!!!

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