It’s been quite a while since I’ve given any type of update, so I thought it was about time. If you’ve been following my social media accounts, you’ve probably learned that I’m in the process of moving to Spain.
Why, you might ask? Well, first, where I live (near Cultus Lake, BC) is a beautiful, exciting location in the summer. But in the winter, especially as a single guy who works from home, it’s a bit depressing. After spending last winter mostly looking out the window dreaming of somewhere warmer, I decided then to not make the same mistake this winter.
Second: there are a bunch of boxes I’d like to start checking off in terms of my long term plan, and moving to Spain (and Europe in general) helps with a lot of them. For example, in 2012 I learned how to sail from Penny Whiting, MBE, in Auckland, New Zealand, but haven’t really had many opportunities to continue sailing since then. So I figure moving somewhere close to the Mediterranean would help with that.
Third: I started learning how to speak Spanish in 2011 when I visited Buenos Aires. I can usually understand bits and pieces of a conversation, but have been stuck at essentially the same level for the last few years. So I figured it’s time to finally make some effort and finish learning Spanish. And what better place to do that than in Spain?
Where In Spain
I haven’t really set my permanent sights on any particular location in Spain yet, but I’m leaning towards living near Valencia. Most people want to go to Barcelona, which is great. But I’ve been there a few times now, and it’s starting to be overrun with tourists. Valencia, even though it’s still a tourist destination, still has its unique Spanish charm, and I like a lot of things about it. Also, I spent the month of May in the town of Javéa, Spain, working out of a great co-working space called Sun and Co. I met some great people there, and fell in love with some of the landscape, so it would be nice to at least be close enough to pop by there from time to time.
I’m the type of person that when I commit to something, I usually go all-in. In my experience, when confronted with a bunch of different difficult decisions to make, all with various pros and cons, the only sure path to failure is to not make any decision. So for me I’d much rather make a decision and then iterate on it when it’s not entirely working out the way I thought, than to spend months and months debating internally which decision is best.
To that end, I decided to rent my cottage out for a full year, starting August 15th. That basically means I don’t really have anything to come back to, at least not for a year. In some ways though I find that exciting – when I arrive to Spain I have to make it work for a year.
I spent a few weeks debating what to do about my vehicle when I’m gone – on previous three month trips I would simply park it at my sister’s house. But after coming back last time and having my rotors mostly rusted up, I decided it wasn’t really a good idea to leave it sitting much longer. That, coupled with the fact that my vehicle will likely depreciate $4,000 next year while I’m away led me to decide the best thing to do was to sell it. Which I recently did. So in a few days I’m kind of homeless and totally carless. But it feels pretty good.
The good news is between selling my vehicle and purging some expensive items that were mostly sitting around, I have most of my next year’s expenses already sitting in my Spanish bank account waiting for my arrival. While I certainly won’t be living like a king next year, I have enough saved that I’m sure I’ll be able to have some fun, and get back to building out some new products and services without worrying about expenses during that time. Having a fixed amount in a bank account is actually mentally great for me, since I know by the time it runs out I need to have figured out something sustainable for self-producing income again, or to find a plan B, which may mean seeking out interesting opportunities working for someone else.
I started a blog recently detailing my experiences with obtaining Spanish temporary residency at TapasForever.com – follow along there for updates on the process of moving to Spain. I submitted my application for a non-lucrative visa about 5 weeks ago, so I suspect it’ll be processed something in the next four weeks or so. After that, I can pack my suitcase, and likely a guitar, and head to Spain for the year.
I’m definitely looking forward to living in a bigger city again and being a part of their local technology and co-working scenes. I feel like I’ve sort of been deprived of exciting professional growth due to my location in the last few years, so it’ll be nice to meet new and interesting people and be exposed to new ideas.
I’ll keep everyone up to date with my progress, but fully expect to be in Spain sometime before the start of October.