This is my 21st year living and working in Spain and I have seen and done it all or know someone who has. Been there done that and got the T shirt
So what have I learned in my time here and what should others look out for when living and working in Spain.
First off a little about what I have been doing here in that time.
Now retired at 60. I say retired but in reality I have never been busier.
I Started off working here for a small British building company then set up as self-employed running 2 different businesses here. Bought several properties to renovate and land to build my own house almost single handily over the last 3 years.
Travelled a lot all over Spain with my Spanish wife of 9 years. Now I spend my time finishing off my new house and as a radio presenter on Almeria Radio with my 2 live radio shows, providing information and advice to people wanting to move to Spain and play my favourite music along the way.
SO, What I have learned in my 21 years here.
Well so much to say here but heres a few top things.
Amazing friendly people and a very different way of life then in the Uk but the weather really does make all the difference.
Travel around Spain is accentual to learning just how different some areas of Spain are and how different the peoples lives are in those areas, Small village life here is like going back in time 2 hundred years.
Country life here can be hard but enjoyable with a very laid back way of life style away from the rat race.
Some challenging times and stress with crazy Spanish bureacracy that never seems to change much.
Once i married a Spanish girl here i truly did see a different side to things here and now enjoy a mixture of both worlds.
Above all learning to enjoy a more relaxed way of live and really do eat better here and feel healthier then ever at the age of 60. Running now 3 times a week 5 k in around 28 mins is pretty good for an old man who if still living in the uk would probably be sitting in front of east enders with a beer in hand and a rather large beer belly.
No time for that here way too busy except at weekends when i let my hair down with my Spanish friends over a nice Spanish lunch and several glasses of local wine.
Learning to enjoy a healthier slower way of life i feel will help be be happier and live longer as i am healthier now.
So 3 basic lessons that will save you money, time and stress when living and working in Spain.
Lesson 1 The most important thing anyone can do when moving to Spain is learn Spanish. Sounds pretty obvious really but we Brits are pretty lazy when it comes to learning languages but this above all else will help you more than you know when living and working here even if you’re in a predominantly British speaking area.
Lesson 2 Choosing the right area for you. Now this is a hard one as we all like and need different things but if you make a list of your needs and then plan out how you think you want to live here it will help you decide on the right area and could save you thousands in moving fees later. Rent for a few months is what I recommend and in the winter months as we all know Spain’s great in summer but what’s that area like in winter, it can be very quiet or like some parts of Spain cold or close down for a few months.
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Lesson 3 Integrate with locals. That is something most don’t do even though most say that’s what they want to do, when moving here and it will limit you and your life or potential earnings here.
Like many I too moved to an area here that had a lot of British and that at first is very helpful as you can learn a lot from people who have done what it is that you need to do here and their advice will save you money and stress. BUT if you stay in these areas and Stay with a British community then it will be hard to mix with local Spanish people.
If you learn some Spanish and mix with Spanish people then things open up that you would not see or experience before. Making new Spanish friends gets you invited to their homes and parties where you meet more Spanish and learn more about life in Spain and job opportunities and how and where to get things done the Spanish way that’s almost always cheaper then how Brits do things here.
Spain offers so much and if you learn these 3 lessons you can experience it all.
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Living and working In Spain Davids free podcast with guests tips and information on living and working in Spain