Four years ago, I had a realization that would change my life.
It started with a passion for travel and European culture that was ingrained since living in and traveling Europe as a child.
But the pivotal moment was a podcast.
During my daily walks, I like to listen to podcasts. I happened upon a podcast called The Expat Chat by Tony Argyle. And over the course of many months, I listened to scores of inspiring stories from people who were “living their dream life overseas cheaper, easier and more carefree than their old life back home.”
One day I said to myself, “If they can do it, why the f*ck can’t I?”
From that moment, I was living with a real purpose. I would follow my passion and see where it would lead me.
But, I had more than myself to consider. I had a girlfriend and three young-adult children. Luckily, I brief 2-week European tour through London, Amsterdam, Heidelberg, Luzern, and Paris was enough to get my girlfriend on board with the idea of living in Europe. And I tried, slowly, to convince the kids that dad was going to go chase his dream, with the implication that they should do likewise (live by example).
I researched popular expat locations around the globe for something that would suit our needs. I research countries, cultures, quality of life, cost of living, climate, visas, and medical care.
Our annual vacations slowly morphed into purposeful reconnaissance missions to scout potential places we might like to live long term. We visited the Greek isles of Crete, Patmos, Rhodos, Mykonos, Santorini, the breathtaking Western Turkish coast. In Spain, we spent 3 leisurely weeks across Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, and Barcelona. In the Balkans, we explored Zagreb, Ljubljana, Rovinj, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Mostar. I loved it so much, I came back later and spent an amazing week in Montenegro.
I remembered that, as a child, my parents had taken me to Toledo, Spain. I had a vague recollection of a black and white photograph my parents had taken of me standing in a steep, narrow, cobblestoned alleyway with a donkey.
It was meant to be.
Spain… I’m coming for you.
What, four years ago, was but a dream, is now an imminent reality.
I have had years to wrap my head around this immense life-changing event; to mentally prepare myself. Most of this time has been exciting.
I am a driven and positive person (or, I try to be). So, nothing was going to deter me from my goal. I realized it would not come easy; that there will be huge challenges, but life was meant to be interesting.
We got our finances in order, we quit our careers, I have sold a secondary home, we are renting out our primary home, selling all our possessions, and are applying for the Spanish non-lucrative visa. With any luck, we will be in Valencia, Spain in March.
We will practice our Spanish.
We will integrate into our new community.
We will travel.
And maybe, just maybe, I will write on this blog more often.
!Vive como si no hubiera manana, amigos!