Why we decided to live in Spain
Back in 2017, after over three years of full-time travel, we started thinking that we should settle down somewhere. We were getting tired of living out of our suitcases. 3 places topped our list: Prague (a city we had spent a combined 7 months in. We love Prague), Seville (a beautiful city where we had spent 2 months back in 2016), and Split (Croatia). We had absolutely fallen in love with Split, it was a city that we had first visited back in 2015 and it had become our de-facto base outside the Schengen zone.
Of those 3 places, Seville was the most “logical”. We both speak Spanish, we both like the Spanish lifestyle, and Spain is the closest to Canada and Mexico (I have family in both).
But we went with our hearts and chose Split. It was actually the least logical of the places on our list but at the time we weren’t necessarily thinking long term. We just wanted to spend a year in Croatia and see where it led us.
We lived a bit over a year in Split and loved most aspects of it. We still think it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But with time we realized that Croatia wouldn’t be a place where we could spend the rest of our lives: immigration laws are complicated and restrictive, the country is a bit 3rd worldish in some respects, and the language is an obstacle.
In the end it didn’t work out and we had to leave the country. We resumed our life of full-time travel, spending much of 2018 and 2019 exploring South East Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Caucasus region.
In late 2019 we decided that we had to get serious about having a permanent base. And we decided that it would be Spain.
This time we went with logic. Besides the language, the lifestyle, and the location we felt that Spain would be the easiest place to work towards permanent residency in Europe. Really, that’s the ultimate goal because we’ve never been able to envision ourselves going back to Canada to live. And by late 2019 we felt that we had to move towards making that happen: we’re both in our early 50’s and we want to be permanent residents somewhere by 60.
There are other reasons we’ve chosen Spain. The cost of living is the cheapest in Western Europe (along with Portugal). Spain is in the Schengen and within a short flight of many Western European destinations (we haven’t been to France or the UK and have seen very little of Portugal) and also has flights to some of our favorite Eastern European destinations. Spain is developed: I can’t tell you how many crappy trains and buses we’ve travelled on over the last 5 years. We’re getting older and don’t want to be roughing it 10 years from now. Finally there’s the people and culture. We had only good experiences when we came here in 2016 and being able to speak Spanish we almost instantly felt comfortable. Long term that’s really important.
That’s how we decided that we’d try to make Spain our future home.
2020 has been about making that happen and it hasn’t been easy with Covid. We came to Spain on February the 1st to check out cities we might possibly want to call home. We had just left Valencia and were arriving in León when the government locked down the country. We ended up being in León for 4 months. When Spain opened back up in June we weren’t sure what to do. We had planned to go back to Canada to apply for a Spanish non-lucrative residence Visa but had no idea if that would even be possible. The Spanish Consulate in Montreal was silent (they may have been closed). We decided we’d just stick to our plans – really we didn’t have too many other options because countries all over the world were closing their borders to foreigners.
In early July we were back in Montreal. We had to stay in self-isolation for 2 weeks. Once we were able to get out we started working on our documents. By August 16th we had all our documents together. On September 1st we had an appointment at the local Spanish consulate. Our Visas were approved on September 11th. We bought ourselves a nice bottle of Spanish wine that day.
We booked our flights and landed back in Spain on the 1st of October. Again, things have worked out better than we could have ever expected. We decided that the small seaside town of Nerja would be our new home. And then, just a week ago, we found ourselves an apartment. We’ll be moving in on the 1st of November.
So that’s the long version about how we’ve ended up in Spain. To say we’re excited is an understatement. We’re looking forward to having a base after 6 years of being nomads. We’re relieved to have a home (especially during these Covid times) after being homeless the last 6 years. Finally, we look forward to exploring this beautiful country and to learn more about its people and culture. We’re ecstatic to be in Spain.
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