Shake it around a bit
"I don't think there's anything better you can do in the middle of your life, than to pick it up and shake it around a bit, do something different, live somewhere different, talk another language." Chris Stewart
It wasn't Chris Stewart's quotes or tales that inspired me to shake up my life, but that is what my partner and I have decided to do.
I'm 53 years old, and for the past decade I have struggled with some fairly large changes in my life; changes that have resulted in the realisation that I am not really doing anything that brings me any satisfaction, in terms of work, and that my life is ticking away. I don't yet feel old, but fear that I could start to feel less young. So, having thought about it long and hard for more than a year or two, we have decided to up sticks and live in Spain.
That said, we are not being too drastic, and the plan is to live in Spain for a year and see if it really does live up to our expectations, and to see if we can learn the language and fit in. The aim is not to have to work, which sounds as if this is the domain of the well-to-do, but that is far from the truth. We find ourselves in the fortunate position of having access to some inheritance funds, and ownership of a London apartment that we can let out to generate some income. The idea behind the move is to leave behind the routine of working life in London, and get back to creative activities that we used to love when we were growing up - painting, writing, creative thought - aspects of our characters that get ignored when we get bogged down in the daily grind of having to earn enough of a living to support even a semi-decent life in a large UK city.
Why Spain? The easiest answer to that question is "Why not?". It is relatively easy to get to, flights are not that expensive and it is a vast country with stunning landscapes, a warm people and delicious food and wine. I had never been to Spain while I was growing up, and my idea of Spain consisted of images of Torremolinos and Benidorm and very little else, so I was always slightly horrified by the idea. That changed when I had to visit the country for work when I was in my late 30s, and driving from Gibraltar and away from the Costa del Sol, I found myself in countryside that was as vast as the skies, where hills, mountains and valleys stretched literally as far as the eye could see. Given that the visibility was as clear as glass, the eye could actually see a fair amount.
I fell in love with the food, the truly unspoilt nature of the country away from the tourist hotspots, and the historic richness of the towns and cities. My partner and I love the heat, and the smell; the coast and mountains, spring flowers and heady scent of orange blossom, and so it was the most straightforward decision when we came to choosing Spain as out future home.