So by this time, you have decided you're ready to get out of dodge and join us crazy folks who are moving out of the county? Right!? Well, if you're on the fence, here's our thought process. We have been talking about moving for years, and once we decided to move, I've pretty much had a panic attack daily (everyone loves change, haha). In fact, I was so sure everyone was going to try and talk us out of it, we didn't tell anyone until we had already put down a deposit with a lawyer. However, what was a welcomed surprise was that pretty much everyone we told was incredibly supportive and excited for us.
Below are our reasons for going, so hopefully, it will help you clarify some things. These do apply specifically to Spain, but many of these points can apply to other countries as well. Here are our points for moving, and since we technically have not gotten to Spain yet, we could totally be full of crap, but here we go!
$$$: Now, the price difference may not be as wide for people not coming from California or New York but still...We literally worked like dogs to live in Cali and never had the money to do anything else. I'm pretty sure my family in Nebraska went to Disneyland more than we did! There's a great website we used that does an average run down of prices. Just input the city you are going to, and bam! It also allows you to customize the goods you are spending money on. https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Alicante#:~:text=Summary%20about%20cost%20of%20living,New%20York%20(without%20rent). Now the cost to move can be an investment; however, once you get there, everything is really cheap! For us, the total cost to live in Spain, including everything you can think of, came to about $2200 (the price of our mortgage in the states), excluding having a car (yay, public transportation)!!
Quality of Life: With the price difference being so nice, we will have way over the financial requirement and live very comfortably after we sell our house. This will allow my husband to get out of the construction business, go back to school, and get his TEFL (teaching English as a second language) certification. Also, because school for children starts at 3, we no longer have to pay out the butt for daycare and enroll him in free public school (I will do a whole post on that later). Living in Cali, our bills were close to $8000 a month, so a bigger price difference than most people may experience.
Culture: I'm not saying the U.S. doesn't have some awesome places to look at, but I've always wanted to see the old buildings and experience the richness of other cultures. Moving to Spain will not only allow my child to be at least bilingual, but it will also open the door to so many places. Rome-3 hour flight $47. The Eiffel tower 2.5-hour flight -$76, etc... Way better than camping on the weekend, in my opinion!
Community: I have always wanted a sense of community. Again this may apply only to California, but everyone is so busy here that you never really get to know your neighbors, etc. I love that people in Spain tend to be very open and communicative. I want to be flagged down on the street when I'm getting coffee for an impromptu lunch. I want to share food and laughs with my neighbors. We have a hard time initiating friendships (scary) so having people push us into it is what we really need. Now for some of you in smaller towns or with large families, this may happen already, but it's nothing I've found living in Southern California.
Simplicity: Tons of public transportation!!! If you live near the city, so many things are walking distance and/or a quick cab ride = no driving, no car upkeep, no spending more money!! I also love the dedication to fresh food and amazing markets, which will help us get our fat fast food butts in gear! So no having to buy crab legs etc., for $15lb ( which we only did on fancy occasions).
Pet and kid-friendly: I love that children are allowed to go basically anywhere and encouraged to, as it allows us to enjoy more things together as a family. The same goes for dogs! We can't go to so many places in the states due to people being irritated that my 3 year old exists and makes noises. Although Southern Cali is pretty dog-friendly, there is still a lot of uppitiness if you bring your dogs to certain places. Not that we could really afford to go to nice places anyways.
From what I have read about the cons, they are all the reasons I want to move to Spain. People have said it's too slow of a pace of life (I need that). Having a car can be a pain due to lack of parking, and trying to bring one from the US -will not work (again, yay)!
Single people hate that children are everywhere ( woohoo)! I've heard everyone spends too much time chit-chatting and talking (my favorite). Anti-pet people don't like dogs everywhere (but I don't trust people who hate animals). So basically, what I have learned is that most of the complainers move to Spain, wanting it to be like the country they just left. So if you're moving to Spain and wanting it to be the U.S., ummmmm, probably not gonna work. My personal cons and the ones I feel are more legitimate are:
Unemployment: Unless you have a tele-remote job ( you can switch to a freelance Visa after the 1st year of not working), a needed occupation, fluent in Spanish, or have pretty decent savings, this could be an issue. I think they have a 40% unemployment rate.
Mosquitos: From what I've read, it's only a problem for about 2 months in the year, but I am very sensitive to mosquito bites, so that sucks... I will have to invest in some decent bug repellant, and when we buy a house, mosquito netting on the windows. Luckily we will be by the coast, which will help with that.
Language issues: I'm decent at Spanish, so I can get by, and I have been practicing for months to be better at it. I will also likely take a course when I get to Spain to really get it down. Many places have ex-pat communities that speak English, so if you really have no Spanish down, you're probably going to want to start in those areas.
So there you have it, a run-down of what helped us to decide on this life-changing process. Next up, I will go over the different types of Visas and which one may be the best fit for you! Please read on, and again thank you for giving us a chance!
Please leave a comment so I can see what you like and what I can improve!