Giving up your day job, moving to another country, changing your life around; this was all quite daunting at first for Patricia and I. But over time we got more and more used to the idea of moving to Spain. Here are the 9 steps we followed to make our life changing move to Finca Bravo:
1. Make a plan
About 3 years ago, I brought up the subject of what we wanted out of our lives with Patricia. At the time, we were both doing well professionally but something was missing. So we started to do some research and came up with a plan. We would remortgage our house in London, use that money to buy a small plot of land in Spain and do something completely different over the next 5 years. Making those plans early made the goal of moving to the countryside in Spain more attainable and gave us a strategy of how we would be able to achieve it.
2. Choose a country and a region
We knew early on that Spain made the most sense for us. It’s a beautiful country and has a really nice climate that is kind to living a more sustainable life. Patricia has the Spanish nationality and Spanish is her mother tongue. Moreover, I already speak a basic level of Spanish from my 2.5 years of living in Barcelona.
The next step was to find a suitable area. For us, this ended up being 2 regions in Andalusia: an area near Granada called the Alpujarra and the Sierra de Aracena where we ended up finding our Finca.
3. Do your research
As soon as we decided on the region, we started doing research into how much it would cost to buy a house there. This helped us understand what a realistic budget for us was (unfortunately more than I had anticipated) and meant we could start planning some exploratory trips to those areas. We calculated what it would cost to live a simple life for 5 years and this made sure we would have enough money saved up when the time came to move.
4. Save money
We realised early on that money was going to be the key to our freedom. We needed to give ourselves a chance to become less dependent on money coming in, but ironically for that to happen we needed a period of time where we had more income. For me this meant a change in career to become a contractor, giving up some job security and some benefits (no more paid holidays or pension savings) but gaining some more income in the short term. We also worked on bringing back our outgoings and saved money where possible – from doing 1 weekly grocery shop (instead of multiple top-up shops) to cooking our own meals and bringing our own lunches to work.
5. Stick to it – avoid sinning
It’s easy to make resolutions, but sticking to them was more of challenge than we had imagined. Life has a tendency to get in the way of long term goals. In all, it was important for us to keep the big picture in mind and remember why we were doing this. We were practical where we needed to be but tried to avoid regressing to bad habits as much as possible. Even if this sometimes meant cooking when we were tired from a long day at work, or eating that damned pasta bake for the 3rd day in a row for lunch.
6. Set a time limit for your project
From the start, we considered our move to Spain as a 5 year project. We felt it was too hard to imagine what it would be like for a longer amount of time as so much changes over the years. Living a simpler life with less luxuries but more free time seemed ok for a few years but was it really what we wanted for the rest of our lives? Rather than trying to answer this question, we agreed to commit to the project for 5 years and evaluate then whether it was still what we wanted to do. If not, we could always change our lives around again.
7. Buy your dream house
When we were looking for properties, we made a list of the must haves and nice to haves of our dream place. This made sure we could narrow down our search considerably and in the end we found Finca Bravo relatively quickly (only took us three action-packed trips). We agreed a sale price with the owners promptly and thanks to some great work by our Spanish lawyer were able to finalise the purchase a month after we made the offer.
8. Wrapping up your old life
After buying Finca Bravo, we still weren’t in a position to make the transition financially. Over the next year, we saved up more money and used this time to travel to Cortegana on a monthly basis from London. We were able to get to know our property and the area a little better and also able to install some basic facilities at Finca Bravo like electricity from a solar panel and a camping shower.
9. Move to Spain
The last step, but possibly also the most stressful. We needed to pack everything up in London, get a man with a van to come and pick up our belongings and drive 2145km to Cortegana. In the meantime, we caught a flight to Spain to ensure we were there to pick up our things when he arrived. This is where our adventure really begins…
Hope you found this useful, let me know in the comments if you have any questions for us or want to share your own story.