How did i get here – As a big city person, my wife’s suggestion to leave the rat race and move to Spain was almost too big a lifestyle change to imagine. Living in one place for 45-odd years can make you complacent. I have held a Spanish passport since 2005, when my father, who immigrated to Canada from Spain in the mid 60′s, offered me the opportunity to obtain one through family lineage. I had never planned to move to another country when I got it; at the time it seemed like a good way to have easy access to the whole
continent of Europe.
We purchased a property in Spain as vacation property and as a
possible place to retire. But as life goes, my wife was “packaged out” of her career in broadcasting and shortly thereafter her father passed away. It felt that a life change was in order.
From my perspective, I was in a career path that I was not very happy with. We did not move to Spain to start early retirement though; there is a certain societal guilt complex to retiring early, and because people are living longer than ever, retiring with 40 or so years left in my life would become quite boring and tedious, not to mention not realistic financially.
So, what has changed in my life? Since living here I have dropped from 230 lbs. to about 205 lbs. This is a clear result of the Mediterranean diet that I have taken to since moving to Spain. Not succumbing to the North American fast food diet has improved my health considerably. As well, because we’re in a warmer climate, there is a tendency to do more outdoor activities instead of cocooning indoors for half the year. We have not missed the Toronto winters and sudden cold snaps!
Work has changed as well. I have engaged in a variety of freelance
projects here in Spain, as well as still “virtually” working back in Toronto. The access to broadband and WiFi pretty much anywhere in the world has made working on projects easier than at any other time in history. Our work/life balance has changed and a return to the old model “9-5″ rat race may not make an appearance in our lives again for some time – if ever.
The hardest part about this move is leaving family and friends behind in Toronto and Eastern Ontario. The first calendar year we were here in Spain, due to a contract commitment, we didn’t return to Toronto for a full year. This is something we won’t repeat in the future; our parents are now entering their 70′s and we’re keen to stay in constant contact with them. Skype goes a long way to handling that issue nicely in the short term.
All in all, it has been a good experience moving to Spain. Of course there is no printed manual on how to do it exactly right, but we’ve enjoyed the organic nature of the way we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. One thing; if you are used to clear, concise instructions in government procedures and always knowing what’s coming around the corner, this type of move is not for you. You are barking up the wrong tree if you expect to get one singular, correct answer in Spain on any administrative matter.
350 days of sunshine annually, palm trees and tapas do make that bit easier to handle.
Joseph Martin is a freelance technology expert working in the mobile apps industry. He is also a musician and performs in the Murcian region of Spain.