There are many reasons why we decide to pack up and relocate to Spain. I can remember nearly 12 years ago, saying goodbye to my family and leaving a very cold and wet Wales behind - don't get me wrong I do miss my beloved Wales very much, but after 2 and half hours on a plane with my year old daughter, we arrived at Alicante airport to a very sunny and gorgeous sunny afternoon. Jackets off, sun-glasses on. The sun-glasses have been a permanent fixture since and the jackets do have to come back out in the winter.
For me the main reasons that we came to Spain were the weather and a better way of life. No more sitting on the M4 in the pouring rain, trying to get my daughter to nursery school and only having to travel 2 junctions!!!
We do love living here, but there are noticeable differences between here and the UK and you have to remember that you are not in the UK anymore and what goes there, doesn't necessarily mean that it will apply here. Remember the famous saying, "When in Rome....".
Here are some important things to consider before you make that final move:
Research - is the key. Spain is a huge country and offers a wide choice of lifestyles - cities, costal, rural, tourist, non-tourist and even the weather varies depending on which part of Spain you are in. Adding to that there are areas with more ex-pats and this does bring shops and services catered specifically for the ex-pat market. We all do want a bit of home from time to time - I don't think that I would have lasted this long if I couldn't get "proper" tea-bags.
The internet and especially Social Media are a wealth of advice, good, bad and indifferent and you can get a general feel of other people's experiences.
You will also need to consider:
If you have decided on a location, then get out and visit before you finally move, then you can see for yourself what it's like, don't believe everything you read on the internet.
Once you are finally living here in Spain, here are some things to remember:
Learn the language - yes more and more Spaniards do speak English and they do like to use it, but don't be afraid to use your Spanish too.
Join local groups - there are many activities out there that cater to everybody and if you can do something in Spanish too. I've just started to learn to ride a horse, something that I never would have thought that I would or could do, but thanks to my daughters I am and its all in Spanish -my instructor doesn't speak any English at all. You do learn more by speaking it in the real world.
Attend Fiestas - each town and region have their own Fiestas /celebrations and the Spaniards certainly do love to party. Get out and see them and join in, you will be amazed.
La Romeria de la Virgen del Milagro - November 2014
Explore - Spain is a huge country, steeped in history with varying landscapes and climates. There is so much to see and do. The motorways aren't as busy as those in the UK, only when you get into the bigger cities then traffic can be a problem.
Try the food - the number of different dishes?you can try, especially tapas is unbelievable. Dishes vary from region to region and not to mention the fresh fish and sea food as well as the quality, size and price of the seasonal fruit and vegetables. We are spoilt for choice.
A selection of traditional tapas
Adopt the Spanish way of life - this is the most important bit of advise that I can give anyone thinking about moving here. This is Spain and not UK. Life is different here and there are small differences between the 2 cultures, embrace them.
Have fun - Spain is fun and very family orientated and a wonderful place to raise 2 children and who knows maybe you could be sat here in 12 years time thinking that this was one of best decisions of your life.
My family having fun on Playa de Alamillo 2015
Thinking about making that big move, then check out our Long Term Rental Properties today.