Recently we have redefined what we came to Almeria for, so as many of you who have been following our journey know, we have been travelling Spain over the past few months in hope of finding somewhere to settle.
We had preconceived ideas of where we would end up, despite having only visiting the mainland ONCE prior to this and I think I was about 8? Our inclinations were based on a looking at a map strategy and seeing what area of coastline ‘we liked the look of,’ sorry but it’s true! Also based on hearsay on the popularity of different areas. Well we figured listening to where other expats settle has got to be a good starting point because if it wasn’t great they wouldn’t go there! Of course there are expats everywhere and we all like different things! So our strategy was a bit shit but a strategy none the less.
We’ve only really skimmed the surface of each area we’ve visited and I have to say we massively underestimated how long it would really take to get to know a area! For us, we couldn’t possibly look at schools, accommodation, leisure and other general facilities considering things like climate and so on in a week! I totally understand why people keep going back to an area and revisit at different times of year to see if they still love it. I think it’s key if you’re going to relocate that you visit that place at it’s hottest and it’s coldest. I know it’s been said many times before but that’s because it’s important. We’ve found that Spanish houses can be hard to heat and they can get colder than UK houses if they aren’t well set up for the cold! Most Spanish properties won’t typically have central heating and you could end up spending a fortune on gas or electric plug in heaters. A wood burner is a great investment but then again wood can be expensive too!
Anyway..! We started down the east coast coming the entire way down the coastline because some things you like don’t change. For me, for example, I LOVE to be near the sea and it was something that if relocating it was a must. That has remained to be true. We’ve seen some stunning inland towns and villages with unbelievably reasonably property prices with masses of character. I love to see these places but something within me personally wants to be by the sea. Throw in the fact that we got flooded in France the parameters of that have changed to include near – but not next to – the sea, for obvious reasons!! On a hill near the sea sounds good!!
We had in our mind that we would settle nearish Alicante city and before coming out I always said I wanted to check out Javea because that looks stunning! We didn’t get there sadly, but Alicante city I ADORE. It exceeded my expectations and more, so we could happily settle near there, for sure. After seeing that, moving down the coast became a bit of an exiting holiday I guess but also a tick box activity in the sense that we knew we would be heading back up to settle near Alicante. Or so we thought.
We were recommended Shepherds Rest in Oria by some friends and we immediately booked to stay for a month, thinking that whilst here we could plan our next move to settle which is what happened just not where we expected! My first impressions of Oria and the surrounding area was that it’s undeniably beautiful with its scenic mountain roads and traditional farm buildings. I’ll do a separate post on Shepherds Rest by the way! The area literally is something out of a movie as many American Wild West films were shot in Almeria province! For what we’re used to though initially it seemed a little cut off, maybe a bit too isolated for us. We ended up having that wedding dress moment where you try on the one you don’t like and it suits you the best.. strange analogy there, sorry, but you know what I mean right?! The thing that we weren’t sure of in the beginning is what has made us feel so drawn to it now, the beauty of a slower pace, the opportunity of a quiet life. The huge daunting mountains and vast landscape that at first I found scary and isolating now has turned to beauty and excitement. What a wonderful place to call home.
I’m generally quite guided by my heart wether that’s a good thing or not, I’m really not sure! We travelled an hour to the coast one day whilst here as we thought we’re here we might as well see the beach.. and yep, you guessed it, as soon as we drove down that coastal road I started excitedly exclaiming to Ben that I was ‘home’ “I just love it, don’t you love it? This is the place! BEN THIS IS THE PLACE!!” Yeah, pretty much like that. I didn’t really give him much input on that one, (sorry Ben.) I am a bit like that sometimes. I had an interview booked in Javea three hours away and I started to gradually put my sensible head on and suggested to Ben that we should check it out and make an informed decision, but he was coming round to it here too and it seemed he was sold. There would be no Javea for we had found home. This is what we came here for. We thought that further up the coast was where we had pictured for months being ‘our place’ but we shouldn’t pressure ourselves if actually we really like where we are. I mean how many times do you get to choose where you live? For me, not many. Probably like many others you tend to be born in a village/town or city and your family members settle there or nearby, then you grow up with your friends and then before you even have a chance to evaluate it – that is your life. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but just getting my head around the fact that sometimes your place is chosen for you.
I consider that whilst we may not be very fortunate in terms of wealth we are very fortunate to have the magic opportunity to choose where we will spend our life. For me if we can provide the children with many life experiences and some time being fully immersed in a new language and culture our mission will be accomplished. We aren’t here to be rich in the sense of money but what we do want from life is rich experiences. Time will tell if our hearts made the right decision. There is a saying about not chasing the love that makes your heart race but instead the love that makes you feel calm. Where we have chosen was love at first sight but not in a scary way, in a calm way that it feels right. At least for now it does.
So we have put down a deposit to rent a place, I will be starting working in a salon three days a week and part-time online teaching. Whilst Ben, well someone have words, who knows what he wants to do!? I think he’s still in holiday mode!!
Please do tell me, how did you chose your area? Or maybe you aren’t in your favourite place but you can tell me where you would be if you could!
Lots of love xxx