I arrived in sunny Valencia today to clear blue skies and perfectly warm temperatures—a nice change from chilly, gray Paris…
Before our first-ever Live And Invest In Spain Conference kicks off on Wednesday, my days will be filled with meetings with local friends and colleagues… as well as tapas and maybe some sangria!
My top anticipated meetings are with some of my favorite people here in southern Spain… a few old friends and plenty of new ones…
Mike Herndon, Eugene Costello, Micah Hart, Hazel Savage, and Keith Kirwen, all expats to various corners of Spain.
Mike, a long-time Live And Invest Overseas reader-turned-contributor, moved to Valencia back in 2016, after reading about living overseas for a dozen or so years prior. He knew from the second he landed in Valencia airport that it was the place for him—crazy as that love-at-first-landing may sound. (I’ve written about this phenomenon, which I refer to as “location chemistry,” in the past…)
With the help of our conferences and contacts, he finally made the move to Spain, bought an apartment, settled in, and felt right at home from the minute he hit the ground.
Last year, though, he started to feel the itch again… he’d been in Spain long enough to get to have gotten to know many of its diverse little corners and decided he’d like a change of scenery.
In short, he’d fallen in love again, this time with Oviedo in the north. He sold his Valencia apartment, bought a house in Oviedo, and has since been splitting his time between the two.
I can’t wait to hear about his adventures in the years since I’ve last seen him…
Eugene, a retired Brit who has found a second career here in Valencia as the founder of Valencia Life, an online publication, moved here just a three years ago. He decided on Valencia after quickly dismissing most of the British-inundated southern costas and briefly considering Barcelona and Seville.
In just a few years, he’s made dozens of local friends and he and his chocolate lab Gili have become true fixtures in their laid-back neighborhood, Ruzafa.
He can scarcely have a 20-minute coffee on his street without being greeted by half a dozen neighbors, some coming to give Gili a pat, others filling him in on the latest gossip in the barrio, some waving and calling a friendly greeting from across the street as they continue on to their shopping. He loves feeling like he has truly integrated into his adopted hometown, and it shows.
Eugene will be on hand to share his story and his love of Valencia with our 100 or so attendees this week. His story of building a new life in his golden years is an inspiration that’s sure to speak directly to the hearts of the folks we’re bringing in…
Micah, a young father who moved to Valencia (after writing off Bilbao) last September with his wife and two kids is still getting his bearings—and loving every chaotic minute of it.
His kids go to the local international school, his wife works for Delta’s European branch, and he’s making a remote career work from abroad, taking advantage of Spain’s digital nomad visa.
He and his family are in the thick of the honeymoon phase. They’re learning Spanish, shopping the markets for their daily groceries, getting the hang of public transportation, and adapting as best they can to this completely new lifestyle, which couldn’t be more different from their lives back in Atlanta, Georgia.
Overwhelmed as they can admittedly be sometimes, they decided within weeks of landing that their initial one-year stay would be extended to two… and likely beyond. At this point, they can’t imagine packing up and going back to the States.
Micah plans to tell us all about navigating a new life in Spain and how to best adapt to a lifestyle that’s certainly foreign to most North Americans, but one that he considers a hands-down upgrade…
I also look forward to catching up with Hazel, who I can identify with as a young mother having kids in a foreign land. Originally from the U.K., she had moved to Wyoming to be with her American boyfriend-turned-husband, Tyler, out of university. When life in the States got too stressful, in 2016 they decided to decamp back to Europe, and landed on Spain.
They wanted a better work-life balance, and the European lifestyle spoke intimately to both of them. They knew they could have the life they dreamed of here… and for the last seven years, they have.
They bought an old farm house with lots of land in the Valencian countryside and made it into their dream home. Chickens, goats, a pool, a giant trampoline… she called it a kids’ paradise—lucky for the four sons they’ve had since arriving.
Though they loved their country home, it had come with some baggage. No longer wanting to deal with it, in early 2023 they decided to move to Mar de Cristal, a little seaside urbanización outside of Los Alcázares, a beach town a couple hours south of Valencia City.
They were still looking for a home to buy when I met Hazel over the summer, but, in the meantime, they had been renting a home that was a delight for everyone. Her husband could easily commute to the American School of Murcia, where he’s a full-time teacher… her older kids could come home from school and jump in the ocean… and she and her newborn could enjoy walks on the beach steps from their front door.
Hazel and Tyler have worked with the American School to put together a special presentation to showcase the stories of some of the American teachers working in the school, themselves included. I look forward to an update on their house-hunting progress and to hearing all the different expat stories from her husband’s colleagues…
Keith, a friend of a friend who also raised several kids in Spain, moved from Montana to Spain back in 1995 and has built quite a life for himself in the decades since. He moved to the Catalonia region, married a gal from Barcelona, bought homes both in the Pyrenees and on the Costa Brava, and has worked in tourism, real estate, and recently gotten involved in senior housing in the region.
Splitting his life here between the mountains and the coast is what I’d call the best of all worlds—something I aspire to one day—and a unique lifestyle choice that’s only possible in a few places in the world.
With such a diverse geography, Spain offers some of the best options in the world for sharing time between two vastly different locations, as evidenced by both Keith and Mike Herndon (who happen to also be friends, having met at a conference years ago—this expat world is a small one!).
I look forward to getting to know Keith personally and hearing more about the opportunities he’s come to make available to our attendees…
I hope to see you here in a couple of days… but, don’t forget, if you weren’t able to come in person, you can still attend virtually!