THE TRABAJANDO STORY
In January 2012, I embarked on my first flight to Barcelona, Spain, for a four month study abroad. The goal was to leave Barcelona with enough footage to make a full length video, and also pass school. I did not know one lick of Spanish. I was mesmerized by the city and instantly fell in love with the street scene and overwhelming culture of Barcelona. In the center of Barcelona you can find all levels of hustle. You find businessmen, you see stores like ZARA built from the ground up into a global empire, you find others hustling to sell beer and toys to tourists on the street, and everything in between. Work is happening on so many levels in right in front of your eyes in so many ways unimaginable that one cannot help but be inspired from it all and express it in some way.
I found myself being late to class and sometime even ditching to go skateboarding with some of the world's best known, and best unknown skateboarders, because I guess in Barcelona, nobody is "too cool". I unknowingly filmed a second angle of Jeremy Rogers' ender in his Barcelona themed skate video "Mi Amor" for his company, Selfish Skateboards. The coolest part was that Rogers was cool with it and told me use the angle for fun because he thought it looked too slow. (It kind of did but that trick is still insane!)
Alongside witnessing the new levels of foreign hustling, were the locals, some of them Catalan Nationals but many of them are transplants who decided to permanently relocate to Barcelona due to its paradise-like vibe. Many of these people where not only willing to do whatever it took to stay and fully immerse themselves in Barcelona, these people had come from rough places and Barcelona was like a way out of hell via skateboard. Meeting these people from all over the world and having this love for Barcelona and the willingness to do what it takes to be able to enjoy it is what inspired Trabajando. The word "Trabajando" means "Working" in Spanish and come from the root word "Trabajar" which literally means "to work".
We are working towards a better future. Some of the best skateboarders I've ever met were struggling to stay where they were but it never affected the love and peace they emitted. One thing you will find when you go to Barcelona is that people are full of love in a way they are not in a lot of other places. Everyone was working, and working hard but everyone was also enjoying. The appreciation for life itself was just off the charts.
Trabajando is about showing appreciation of the different ways in which we work in order to enjoy the simple things like skating. To many, skateboarding in Barcelona is that brighter future and is what keeps them motivated to take care of business. To better themselves, to get ahead in life just so you have more time to skateboard. That is the voice of Trabajando. It is possible to make it out of a rough situation and make your dreams come true, but you have to work for it. While the first trip to Barcelona was financed by a school budget (which is still being paid off) the subsequent trips came out of my pocket. In order to keep this inspiration alive and to continue to live the dream of skateboarding in Barcelona, and re-connect with the newly formed friendships, I had to work my way there. Most of my work consists of freelance videography and editing.
In 2014, I quit my as assistant marketing manager at a farm equipment company and decided to go on a mission to film another full length in Barcelona after the premiere of 708 volume 2. The second Barcelona mission was different. This time there was an invite to stay at a friends house for free and film a video with the locals without the obligation of going to school. This trip was pure skateboarding. After arriving in February, the first 2 weeks went fine until I had to leave to the place I was living and switch to an apartment that wasn't planned for. Moving unexpectedly is never fun, especially in a foreign country where you don't really know anybody. Luckily however, there were people nice enough to help find a place and with the move. During this time I knew very little Spanish but was doing my best to learn and integrate myself into the Barcelona lifestyle.
The time spent filming the first Trabajando is what laid the path for the future videos. It opened doors of interest in both Chicago and Barcelona as well as other cities. People from Chicago got a first hand view how accessible Barcelona is for skateboarding even for somebody from Chicago who barely knows anyone or any Spanish. In Barcelona, having someone who is down to film and send you the clips is not as common as one might think, so over time I began filming a lot of different people living and visiting Barcelona, creating the relationships that gave the video more life and more reason to continue.
The first Trabajando video is unique to the others because it has a perspective that only happens once. Barcelona was still very new to me because living in a dorm and going to school tends to shelter you from a lot of experiences of the little things that are key to a greater appreciation of the city. Living in Barcelona in 2014 after being finished with school was a more authentic experience and less of a college vacation. This video attempts to express the feeling of arriving and living in a new, magical feeling place and presents it in a cinematic way. Interestingly enough, the video shows others experiencing Barcelona as new as well. The videos that came after this are more focused on the skating itself. A few heads from Uprise managed to show up for about a week including the infamous Graham Thoms AKA @looflord, someone who became very crucial to the Trabajando mission as the years went by.
Fast forward to 2015, another trip to Barcelona was on the horizon, but this time with more Chicago homies. With the financial help of Character Skateboards and Segatron Media, Derek Acosta and D.J. Brown were about to make it to Barcelona and film parts for the would-be Trabajando 2. TrabajanDOS or Trabajando 2 was about hitting the streets as hard as we could, keeping MACBA to a mandatory minimum. There was much time spent exploring remote areas of the city finding all kinds of spots.
It was interesting for the Midwest to Barcelona parts of their friends just appear out of what seemed like thin air. The fact that people they knew successfully went to Barcelona made the dream city seem tons more accessible than ever before, and after seeing Derek's and D.J.'s parts, it was loud and clear that any skateboarder with some talent can become the best version of themselves on a skateboard in Barcelona, thanks to all the amazing spots.
Barcelona was becoming much familiar to me at this point, I knew the city fairly well, and my Spanish was even getting better thanks to the Brazilians. My body was in good shape most of the trip and I filmed one of the best parts I've ever filmed for this video. 2016 was an all around productive trip, Graham filmed a full part for the video, the Brazilians, Roger Silva and Adriano Farias filmed full parts as well. We even went on a few missions with the French legends Kevin Besset and Max Geronzi. Josh Ferro, Max Barker, and Ariel Ries also came in from Chicago and skated for a week. There was a huge Trabajando family happening. One of the many lessons learned over the years in Barcelona was that a few less clips with your friends are better than infinite clips of strangers. The experience of skating with people you enjoy being around is what drove this trip. Barcelona was becoming a a second home and there was a need to express the love for the city. The logo was born soon after this in 2016. There where a few prototypes of shirts and hats made, but the online store itself did not appear until March 2017.
Another realization was that Barcelona actually inspired an increased appreciation for Chicago! Hence the reason the video started off with a Chicago montage. It's a gateway for both scenes to see into a window that they wouldn't normally see through and a great way to inspire travel. Not to mention, Chicago has more high quality skate spots than you may imagine, a burning spirit, and a culture unlike any other.