We’re not lucky to live in Spain
We British and Irish are frequently told that we are lucky to live in Spain, but we’re not! Here we look at exactly why luck had nothing to do with it.
Of course this article could apply to anywhere in the world. We’ve heard friends who live in the countryside in the UK, or have a glorious apartment in london be told that they are “lucky” to have what they have. But for now, we’ll concentrate on this country that we now call home.
We chose to live here
There are very few of us that won the lottery or the prize of a new property in Spain and therefore had the funds or real estate to be able to make the move. That would be lucky of course! Most of us either saved like crazy, benefitted financially when a loved one passed away, or were able to afford it with our British pensions (it’s cheaper to live here than the UK at the moment).
Choices… not luck.
We worked hard to get here and stay here
You don’t up sticks and move house or country because you are lucky. You don’t pick a four-leafed clover then wake up one day and say, “I’m going to jump on a plane this afternoon and live in Spain.” Well… not normally anyway. You have to work hard to pay for it, and put plans in place to ensure that you are financially solvent when you arrive… and indeed able to continue that financial stability in the future. You have to ensure that your new home country has everything you need for a happy life, ensure that you have healthcare provided for, and that everything is in place to live freely and with as little stress as possible.
Hard work… not luck.
We’re not lucky with the weather
Let us introduce you to thing called science. The reason that’s Spain’s weather is as it is… is because this country is located where it is. Meteorology is a branch of science that deals with the atmosphere, its phenomena and specifically how that affects the weather. A bloke in a castle in Madrid doesn’t wake up in the morning and toss a coin to decide whether it will be sunny or not. The weather just does what it does.
Science… not luck.
We’re not lucky to enjoy good health
Many of us enjoy better health now that we live away from the pollution and stress of our former lives. For example, my asthma is all but gone now that I live in fresh air and my joints are a lot less painful these days compared to how they were back in Portsmouth. But that’s not because I rolled a pair of sixes with dice. It’s because we made choices in terms of location and lifestyle. I’m not alone – we know of people that are wheelchair bound or worse back in colder climes but can enjoy a more active life in the sunshine.
Location… not luck.
We’re not lucky to have amazing food
Farmers and fishermen in Spain work hard, alongside their knowledge of the weather, to produce some of the best ingredients on the planet (in my humble opinion). That’s not luck though. The hardworking folk in the fields don’t pull out lottery balls at the start of the year to determine which crops to grow. They have spent hundreds (sometimes thousands) of years learning how best to make use of the soil, the weather and everything else in Spain to ensure that we have enough lettuces and tomatoes. The fishermen out on their boats don’t use an 8-ball to determine whether they’ll catch a good haul – they use their ingrained knowledge to do what they can and keep the fresh fish landing on our tables. The meat farmer doesn’t go out and flip a coin to see whether to rear pigs or cows – he just does what he is experienced in.
Oh and while I’m at it – if I want to eat something other than tapas… or anything not typically Spanish while I live here – it’s because I choose to. It’s called having a varied diet and should be encouraged not vilified. I don’t see Brits living solely on roast dinners, pies and jellied eels back in Ol’ Blighty. We enjoy food from all over the world because we choose to. Tapas are a regular feature of course (you can buy the Spain Buddy Recipe book here), but we also enjoy Indian, Italian, Chinese and Mexican food.
Experience and variety… not luck.
We’re not lucky to work for ourselves
Okay, so not everyone who lives in Spain runs their own business. But many of us do. We didn’t win a ready-made company by picking a playing card out of a deck – we used our knowledge, experience and true grit to build and expand something that pays the bills. It takes constant hard work and can be a real rollercoaster of a ride. Sure, the rewards are there… but so are the down times too.
Knowhow… not luck.
We’re not lucky to have a villa with a pool
You could easily swap out “villa with a pool” for other property types such as “finca with mountain views,” “penthouse apartment,” or even an “urban crash lair in the capital.”
Most of us didn’t win the places that we chose to live – we chose them. We chose them based on our incomes and our needs. The deeds weren’t posted to us as part of a prize draw. Of course, for those that live in these breathtaking properties, there is a price to pay… the purchase, the upkeep and much more.
Choice… not luck.
We’re not lucky to be stress-free
We’ve been told that we are stress-free because we live in Spain. Erm… hardly! Okay, so we (personally) no longer have a stressful commute or the stress of working in a high-pressure or dead-end job. But we do still have stress! Business owners have the pressure of ensuring that their company remains solvent and their staff (if they have them) will get paid that month. Pensioners are already suffering with the exchange rate and then there’s the “will we still have healthcare paid by the UK” issue that is in the forefront of many people’s minds. Youngsters still get stressed about their exams and future employment prospects. We simply balance that all out and do what we can. We just happen to have a different postcode.
Perspective… not luck.
We’re not lucky to speak Spanish
We have added this section on after the feedback we receive from quite a few readers. Apparently, on a popular relocation programme recently, a lady said “We weren’t lucky enough to learn Spanish”. Now let me make it clear here – I am far from fluent or even fluid. I didn’t have the Fairy Godmother appear and suddenly I could speak the lingo. I’ve spent the last decade “getting by” as it were. My grammar was horrific, and although I could shop, eat, drink, achieve basic tasks and get general paperwork completed… I struggled with day to day conversation. I finally took the plunge and now have an excellent Spanish Teacher. She is helping with my two priorities: The first is to be able to join in the chat properly with the ladies in the town without hesitation, and the other is to be able to pass the Spanish Citizenship exam. My God, what a difference it has made to life here already though. I still have a very very long way to go – but it is paying off.
Hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of study…. not luck.
Do you want to live in Spain?
Then just do it! If you work your proverbials off, and set your mind to it – you can have what so many others among us have. But remember – it’s not all a bed of roses… compromises will have to be made such as being further away from loved ones, or perhaps earning a lower wage than you may be used to. Is it worth it? Damn right it is – in my opinion.
Make it happen… it’s not luck!
by Elle Draper
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Gandy-Draper. Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, their three bouncing dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.