When I glanced at the calendar this morning, I realized that, in just twenty-three days, Celia and I along with our beloved Scottish Terriers Duffy and Sammie, will begin a new life in another sunny part of the world. Having lived in Tampa, Florida, for the last fifteen years, we’re accustomed to sunshine, warm temperatures, and high humidity. But, on May 2, we leave the USA for retirement in the sunny south of Spain where we will continue to enjoy abundant sunshine, warm temperatures, and maybe a little less humidity.
Why are you moving to Spain? We’ve been asked this question dozens of times by friends, relatives, and people we’ve only just met. Sometimes the question is mere curiosity, but other times, it’s some combination of surprise, shock, and fear for our safety. Whatever the reason for the question, the answer is complicated, so I have decided to use these posts to bring everyone up to date.
The notion of retiring somewhere other than in the USA germinated from a tiny seed planted by a friend several years ago during an annual Thanksgiving gathering. The friend mentioned an acquaintance who had retired to Uruguay and found it to be quite pleasant and much less expensive than the USA. The idea appealed to me immediately. I knew our retirement resources were limited, especially after the financial crisis, but I also knew that neither Celia or I wanted to give up the things we most enjoyed. For me, that was: food, wine, travel, occasional golf, and time to write. For Celia, it meant having a horse and enjoying equestrian activities.
So, began a four-year odyssey of research, connecting with people, traveling, and soul searching; first to determine if it was something we really wanted to do, and then to figure out where we wanted to wind up. The last place we visited was the town of Alhaurin el Grande, in the province of Malaga in Spain. After three days there, Celia and I looked at each other and nodded. This would be home.
The list of places we considered is long: Uruguay, Mendoza Argentina, Cuenca Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, San Miguel de Allende Mexico, Ireland, Granada Spain, Murcia Spain. For one reason or another, each of these failed to check every box. But, Alhaurin el Grande came very close to checking all our boxes:
Within a few days of returning to Tampa, we began the process of getting ourselves from a home in Florida to a home on the Costa del Sol. Initially, we figured it would take about six months, and that turned out to be the case. In my next post, I’ll explain the paperwork and the logistics involved in making such a move.