It’s a simple set up, but two chairs in a public place: preferably near a monument or somewhere that gets plenty of foot traffic. Adrià Ballester started the Free Conversations Movement, encouraging members of the public to sit down with him and tell their stories. For some, it’s a way to pass the time; for others, it’s a weight lifted off their shoulders. @freeconversations has now graduated from its birthplace of Barcelona to Hong Kong, and Adrià is continuing to share the stories of strangers online.
This is Barcelona’s story of gratitude for the Free Conversations Movement for encouraging freedom of speach and uncovering the stories of the people around us.
How many times have you found yourself power-walking through life: on your way to work, to catch a train, to grab a coffee. Do we ever really leave the house without a purpose, or to just see where we end up? The Free Conversations set-up is often overlooked, or goes completely unsees to most. But to those who take the time to look or have a story to tell, it’s an experience not to be missed.
The stories that have been uncovered from passers-by who have stopped on the street have been incredible: from war veterans, to tales of domestic abuse and many, many life changing decisions that people have made. But it’s not just these entertaining stories that has inspired Adrià to push on with the movement, it’s the mental benefits of unloading your troubles into a complete stranger: much like a free therapy session, but on fold out chairs with a view of Las Ramblas.
Adrià has now launched Random Pen Pals, which is exactly as the name suggests – a service that randomly connects you with a new pen-pal via Whatsapp. After having so many requests from Instagram followers to be connected with people who have shared their stories to discuss them, this was the next logical progression. Not only does Random Pen Pals allow you to share your stories with a complete stranger, it helps to combat loneliness which is an issue that many people are facing with lockdown restrictions around the world.
Imagine if we all took the time to connect with a stranger today. Whether it’s shouting a coffee to the person behind you in the queue or chatting to an elderly person who’s alone. Taking the time to connect with strangers could make someone’s day, and you never know, you might uncover a fantastic story in the process.
What are you grateful for? Say thank you the best way we know how, by sharing your story on sharegratitude.com