This week we’d like for you to meet our in-house Yoga fairy & peace warrior Valentina Moressa. She’s also a kick-ass PR Professional. Read her inspiring story on how she had to fight off nonstop promotions in order to end up here in Barcelona.
‘’I don’t know what boredom is. I grew up in a tiny town close to Venice. This taught me a lot about self-empowerment and creativity. When you live in a place where there is nothing to do- just mosquitos and the lagoon-, you’ve got to create your own entertainment. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t dancing and singing with my sisters, organising rock concerts or running a theatre group with my family.
For as much as I was the maker of my own fun world, I knew from a very young age that I wasn’t going to stay there long. I was the youngest ever bursary to go on an AFS exchange to Australia at the age of 14 and of course I left as soon as I could to go to uni. I chose the only course that wasn’t available at the local universities of Padua or Venice: Conference Interpreting in Bologna (well, Forli’, a satellite campus).
Those were the times when ‘globalisation’ was word of the year and things were changing fast. And it fit perfectly with my restlessness and desire to explore the world. I got fed up with Italy’s job market and gerontocratic approach to young talent (‘you make coffee until you’re 40’ kind of learning on the job experience). So off I went: I applied to do an internship at the Italian embassies around the world and ended up in London.
I was supposed to only be there for three months and it ended up being ten years of working relentlessly, marvelling at the gorgeous British spring skies and revelling in the indie rock scene. It’s funny how when I applied I didn’t want to go to London. On my application, I had put Berlin as my first choice. But I guess the universe had other plans for me.
It was in London that I started working in PR, almost as a joke. In London I discovered yoga, if only in its Lululemon-obsessed declination at first. In London I realised who I was. Not without struggles, mind you.
Say what you want about London- love it or hate it- but it is (was?) a city of opportunities. Probably the only one in Europe (sigh, no more these days) with that amount of professional opportunities, youth fire and cultural energy. Can you imagine not having any experience in PR, reading “How to write a press release for Dummies” before the interview and getting the job in any other European city? That’s how I landed my first PR job. No idea what I was doing, I blagged my way into a job interview and got it. This might not be the same these days, but in the early 2000s in London there was this sense of potential and it felt amazing, especially compared to the rest of continental Europe and crisis-ridden Italy.
It was as if the system knew it was broken but didn’t have any other solution than throwing money and more responsibility at you so that you didn’t quit.
It was also a city of impossible speed and pressure. I burned out not once, but twice. It meant picture-perfect sabbaticals travelling first to Latin America (2012) and then Asia (2015), but it was exhausting. Every time I tried to leave a job, I got promoted. It was as if the system knew it was broken but didn’t have any other solution than throwing money and more responsibility at you so that you didn’t quit. Feeding your ego and sense of self-importance to keep us- the insecure overachievers- in the rat race. It worked for a bit, but yoga eventually broke through the BS.
Yoga was the only thing that kept me sane throughout the burnouts- a haven of inner peace that was initially confined to free time between work meetings, gigs and dinner parties. Until it took over. It just made sense: do more of what makes you feel good. Simple. So I went to train as a yoga teacher in India and never really looked back. Emerging out of the ashes of corporate high-heeled Valentina, the hippie (or rather, more real) me had been unleashed and there was no putting the genie back in the bottle.
After quitting my last ‘proper job’ in 2014, I started freelancing and building the life that I wanted: helping people and companies to communicate more efficiently (my professional superpower), spreading the yoga ‘gospel’ (not just being bendy and showing off your butt on Insta!) and living by the sea. That’s how I came to Barcelona. It is the city that allows me to do all of that, plus live in a community that I cherish for its authenticity and creativity. Every day now feels like being on holiday. It flows and there’s no stopping it. ”
– Valentina Moressa