Times Were Different Back Then

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emigrantes españoles en los 60

Have things really changed since then?

A firsthand story on times of despair and emigration, looking for a better future and leaving everything behind.

A lot of people keep on telling me how lucky and brave I am for travelling alone around Asia for six months. Yesterday I was at my grandparents’ and as usual we ended up talking about the time they worked in Germany.

Spanish migration in the 60s

They left empty-handed Spain in the 60s looking for a better future in Germany. They left because there wasn’t anything here, they ran away from poverty and lack of freedom. They ran away from a dictatorship.

They told me how my grandfather went first with a friend and then my grandmother followed him after getting married by proxy which means they were in different countries when the marriage took place.

After having a small argument about how they travelled their first time, by train or by bus, they both agreed on the fact that the trip was really long. From Madrid to Barcelona, Barcelona to Lyon, Lyon to Frankfurt and finally from Frankfurt to Wetzlar. Around three or four days on the road, afraid of arriving, afraid of what they were leaving behind. Not knowing a word in German, nothing. That’s being brave.

Pasaporte en tiempos de Franco

Being brave is to leave without wanting to. Being brave is to leave everything behind. I travel because I love it, I was never forced to.

Being brave is to jump the fence to the neighbouring country at the risk of dying because there are no opportunities in your own country.

Being brave is to fight for your life and dreams.

I truly admire those who undertake a journey despite not knowing when they will come back, without knowing what they will find.

As my grandma puts it, ‘Times were different back then, we had to leave because we didn’t have anything to eat’ and I ask myself, are really times different nowadays?

Here my tribute to all those who have to leave their countries because there is no alternative.

Keep on fighting!

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