SPAIN: INTERNET FREEDOM FESTIVAL
April 1 – 13: Valencia, Barcelona, Cercedilla, Madrid. Spain is such a dream. Espana is probably the only country I ever dreamed of visiting – so much that I self-taught myself Espanol (Spanish) for many years before I knew I would ever go.
The Spanish dream came true after I was selected to be an Internet Freedom Festival (IFF) Community Development Fellow with the focus on the Next Net theme. The Next Net focuses on the future landscape of the Internet, including artificial intelligence, a feminist internet, and threats to freedom online.
To make this more glittery divine, 2019 was the IFF’s fifth year celebration of fighting censorship and surveillance. Five key animals represented the InternetFreedom community. I resonated most with the narwal. Part of the IFF fellowship including a Fellows meeting in New York City.
Visa process to Schengen states when coming from a developing nation and travelling as a young, black woman is a challenge that cannot be overlooked. For the first time in my visa history, the consular raised her voice at me because she could not understand what I was trying to tell her. And if I thought getting my passport for my trip to Switzerland was difficult – I literally put my freedom on the line for this one.
The Internet Freedom Festival team is the most amazing, supportive magical people and I certainly wouldn’t have made it to the festival without their hands-on support. Glitter for the IFF team.
Due to passport issues and very dire circumstances, I made it to the Internet Freedom Festival on Day two of the five days – in time for the birthday party. Core members of my organization Digital Grassroots were at the festival and we met for the first time in 2 years, since 2017. Many new friends and connections budded at the most inclusive conference I’ve ever been to.
After five days, I went on my first ever vacation travelling between Barcelona, Cercedilla and Madrid. Duolingo is no joke, people! My self-taught Spanish which I hadn’t practiced for years came in super handy and made it possible for me to ask for food (super important! Feed me), travel and use the ticket machines without assistance, ask for directions, say thank you, and even give directions – over five people asked me for directions – POR FAVOR!
One picture to elaborate my feelings of each place I visited in Espana, below.
Maybe Ibiza next time? ;)