Living, Working and Training in Barcelona for a Month

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Kelli and I knew we would return to Barcelona after we visited the area as part of a cruise we took 3 years ago, which included stops in Morocco, Italy, Portugal and various cities in Spain.

choosing a community to visit in Barcelona

The Born Neighborhood in Barcelona

We planned this trip 9 months ago. There were a few things that had to be included in the trip. First, we needed a cool place to stay. We found a villa on a great site called I always train when I travel.  It’s part of my experience to learn from new/awesome coaches.  While in Barcelona, I train at the Barcelona Martial Arts Academy.  I’m training in martial arts from Brazil, Thailand, The Philippines, and China. I’m being taught in Spanish, English and a bit of Catalan (the native language in this region). Yes, it’s awesome, challenging and a major brain builder. We also wanted to be near the great shopping and major sites. We got it.

We’re both learning Spanish… “HOLA!!!”  After a week here, our bodies hurt from all the activity. We each got a 2-hour Thai Massage. When you walk in, you wonder how this 90-pound Thai woman is going to give you a great massage.  HOLY CRAP…… she will crush you.  Seriously, it was – BY FAR – the best massage either of us has ever had. It’s highly recommended.

NOTE: Each day, we average about 9 hours of sleep, 3 hours of walking, 1 hour of training and about 3 hours of work. The rest of the time is spent shopping, learning and exploring.


Visiting the Gaudi park and home site is awesome. Hilly walk, incredible view, and rich history.


Before I go further……

I want to give you a bit of the “behind the scenes” of how this works for us. If you have a big enough business, you must have a great team. I HAVE A GREAT TEAM.  They are smart, loyal and hard working.  It is only because of this awesome hand-picked team that I’m able to live in Spain for a month. If you have a more simplistic business (which I recommend), you can get by without any direct help, and just outsource work to Fiverr or teams in the Philippines or India.  That’s what I do, and they are awesome. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…. “keep all the business in The States, right?”  Unfortunately….. sadly… you won’t get far doing that.  My “high level” team is in the U.S. and my worker bee awesome team is overseas.  My overseas teams live VERY WELL on $9/hr because a loaf of bread is 50 cents for them.  THIS IS WHAT GIVES YOU FREEDOM, and everyone wins.

THE IDEAL SITUATION: You operate a 100% online business like Team JSE or Nutrition Business Blueprint or and just collect the checks each week.  I do this, too. And, because it has essentially zero overhead, I’m doing more of it each week.  Of course, if you are a coach, trainer or consultant, you should use Skype, Google Hangout, or the ever-so-cool POWHOW!

For now, here’s some quick business/life lessons:

1. Be flexible. Be flexible in your approach to people, travel, business, food and communication.  Be flexible with your body, too. Stretch more often than you think you should.  Your body will thank you after hours of sitting on a plane.

2. While at home or away, communicate with your team frequently. Always keep an open line of communication. While away, I use Skype, Viber (free app for international texting and calls (and sending short video/photos), and email. Facebook is also essential.  I think I’m communicating more with my team now than I do when we’re 10 miles apart.

Basilica Sant Martia del Mar

Basilica Sant Maria del Mar

3. Always allow 48 hours to adjust new timezone before doing a strenuous workout.  I paid the price. I took 2 sleeping pills the night before to “catch up” on my sleep and it was hard to block the punches of my MMA training partners.  Not fun.

FYI for all you “holistic” people in my tribe:  I don’t take sleeping pills as a regular thing…. I just needed to sleeeeeeeeep!

4. Communicate with your bank before you travel to ensure there are no “holds” on your credit cards. Some vendors/stores have more trusted merchant accounts than others.  This can cause some orders to go through and others to be declined.

5. When you travel, look around and discover how other people conduct business. You WILL learn new strategies and also realize you are far from having all the answers. We do this each time we go for a walk.

6. Realize that some electronics may not work. Find out if you need a converter or adapter (or both).

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  This goes for EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE. The more I travel, the more I’ve learned about world travelers (and appreciate them).  They don’t get upset about trivial “crap”.  Why?  Because it just doesn’t matter.  It spoils the moment. And, it’s a waste of your time. Practice patience and understanding each day –  home or away.

Kelli enjoying the design elements.  Here she's next to an ancient wall in our villa.

Kelli enjoying the design elements. Here she’s next to an ancient wall in our villa.

Since Kelli is working on her new tile line for homes and offices, she is taking pictures of all the ornate, unusual, and classic designs embedded in the doors, hallways, arches, windows, clothing and ceilings throughout the city. These inspirations will be translated into her new tile and rug collection coming out early next year.

Some interesting work/business lessons we’ve learned so far:

1. People in Spain are up late and sleep in late.  Everyone in the city uses wifi.  Because of there two facts, the best time to enjoy high speed web surfing/working is between 7 – 10 AM each day.  After that time, people get online and everyone is pulling from the same bandwidth and the web slows considerably.

2. Each restaurant has it’s own wifi. Most of them have a password that is so complex it seems like a launch code for a nuclear weapon.

3. You will automatically be redirected to the local/regional Google/Yahoo/Bing etc.  It’s better this way. You get to learn how other countries see (or don’t see) your business listings online.  For me, it tells me what needs to be done to improve, and of the endless global business opportunities that exist.

4. Mac computers, iPads and iPhones are universal.  You only need an adapter to the European plug, but not a voltage converter.
Ya… Mac is smart like that.

We took a Spanish cooking class.  It was awesome because they gave us wine the entire time.  Yep, the food was excellent.

We took a Spanish cooking class. It was awesome because they gave us wine the entire time. Yep, the food was excellent.

5. Because wifi speed changes from place to place and time to time, we have found that spending 10 minutes in a restaurant after we eat going over emails and social media responses keeps us on track.  It’s a fast/simple way to keep the wheels turning.

6. Make local business connections. Kelli is meeting local interior designers, furniture makers, artists and tradesmen.

7. Keep making progress on at-home projects while your gone. Via email, I’m working with my designer to put together the next issue of Personal Trainer Magazine. My mortgage broker is re-financing two properties for me, and we’re doing this via email. Of course, we’re sending our moms daily photos via email so the family stays connected s well.

Traveling while maintaining and growing your business is far easier than you may think. You just need to remember a few things.  Keep your business structure similar to a speed boat, and not an oil tanker. Be nimble and keep the ability to move quickly and change direction as needed.  We were able to coordinate and manage my office move while in away.  I assure you it took a lot of pre-planning and excellent, hard work from my team. However, it was done, and done well. This is part of the ongoing streamlining of our business and a decrease in our monthly expenses to give us further resources and freedom. The new office is 70% smaller and more functional.  I did not sell my office building.  Instead, it is part of our real estate/financial long-term plan. Always think ahead…. way ahead. My team is 90% remote now, and we connect via Skype, email, phone, web, Dropbox, VoIP and periodic meetings at Starbucks. It works just fine.

NOTE: When you ask for white wine at lunch, you don't bring a glass.  THEY GIVE YOU THE BOTTLE.

NOTE: When you ask for white wine at lunch, you don’t bring a glass. THEY GIVE YOU THE BOTTLE.

Remember to bring the “comforts” that you would really miss if you don’t have them. These items can include all the “products” you use and enjoy as part of your morning and nightly rituals. For me (JSE), I brought my mouth piece, “cup” and a hybrid 7 oz. pair of gloves for fight training. There are two things in martial arts you do not share; a mouth piece and a cup.  ‘Nuff said!

What remains in this trip?
1. Next week we’re going on a walking history tour.
2. We’re going to Madrid for a couple of days.
3. We may go to Paris for the weekend.
4. ???????????? Just not sure


Kelli – new tile designs, new rug designs, blogging, new Design Camp events and designing a multi-million dollar home via Viber and email. She is taking mosaic classes and local art classes to gain new perspective.

John – Working with manager on a new TV show, new blog posts, refinancing real estate, Skype interviews.


Barcelona Cooking Classes (awesome people and a lot of fun)
Barcelona Martial Arts Academy
We funded our daily expenses with the money we make with this business
Thai Massage in Barcelona (INCREDIBLE)
Viber – FREE online phone calls and text messaging
Collaboration Economy: John’s book which teaches you how to work less and earn more

Technology we use:
MacBook Pro
External/portable charger to keep phones charged while away from the villa for 10+ hours


Thanks for reading.  We hope that this information has been helpful, inspiring and entertaining for you.

Please share this post on your social media accounts.  We appreciate it!

John & Kelli

Visit Kelli’s site
Visit John’s site


2 Responses to Living, Working and Training in Barcelona for a Month

  1. Hey guys, hope you’re having fun! We are doing the same thing with our young family across the United States right now… With the destination of Costa Rica. Minus the cooking lessons and martial arts haha!

    FYI – pretty much every portable computer manufactured in the last decade and ALL mobile phones and tablets are universally usable regardless of voltage… Not remotely an apple thing… My PC works worldwide as does my Chromebook

  2. Have fun and be safe!

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