Why are we leaving everything behind?

People might be curious as to why on earth we would trade our comfortable life in cosmopolitan London to live in a place as quiet and rural as Cortegana. We’ve been planning our move for almost three years now and during this time we have explained the ins and outs of our adventurous (some prefer the word ‘crazy’) project to our friends and family many times. Usually people ask a lot of practical questions and sometimes this means we forget to talk about why we are doing this. So here is a post trying to address this question and highlight the main reasons behind our change in lifestyle.

I should begin with how it all started. At the end of 2012 we moved from Barcelona to London to improve both our career opportunities and financial prospects. Fast forward a couple of years and we had adapted well to living in the UK (except for the weather of course which remained a hate-hate relationship). By 2015, we had bought a house, had good jobs, were able to save a decent amount of money every month, traveled a lot and lived our lives pretty comfortably by anyone’s standards. We had achieved a lot of the goals we had set ourselves (both consciously and subconsciously) over the previous years yet something was missing.

Pep and Patricia in front of Stonehenge
Pep, myself and a pigeon at Stonehenge

During our time in London we had also started to think of all the years that we still needed to work in the ‘system’ to continue living this way and we began to feel trapped. Observing my coworkers I realised that most of them were not happy with their office jobs. They were usually on auto-pilot at work, daydreaming of their next holiday or the upcoming weekend. When it came to the more senior colleagues with big titles and lavish lifestyles, they were completely tied down to their jobs in order to maintain their standard of living – the mortgage on their million pound Fulham 3-bed flat, the overpriced private school tuition fees for their kids, 2-3 holidays per year to escape from everything and everyone plus all the costs of living and working in an expensive city like London.

It’s human nature to always want more – a bigger house, more clothes, designer shoes, a faster car, more exotic holidays, etc. This pursuit to be wealthier and have bigger and better things than those around will never end. Worse, it does not make you truly happy. By accepting this rat race as our chosen lifestyle, we would be condemning ourselves to an infinite vicious cycle. Work more to be able to afford more, which in turn leads to less time doing the things you like with the people you love, which means you need to buy even more nice things to compensate etc. Is this what our future would hold? I hoped not.

We basically wanted the opposite – a future were we had more control over our lives and were less dependent on how much we were able to afford. We knew this meant making some sacrifices: working very hard for a few years in order to put us in a financial position to be able to make a change. But we were ready for the trade-off and up for the challenge. So in the spring of 2015 we decided that if we wanted a different life, we had to make a BIG change.

I will go into the details of that change and how we worked towards it in a future blog post but for now I want to explain the reasons why we are making such a drastic change.

So here we go:

1. Living a more meaningful and fulfilling life – we want do more of the things we enjoy such as being in contact with nature, having more time for gardening, hiking and our other hobbies.

2. Escaping the rat race and the ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality – not having to spend endless hours at an office doing boring and monotonous tasks for others while competing with our colleagues or friends on who has the better life.

3. Having more financial independence – being more in control of our financial situation by living a life with less costs and therefore being less dependent on money coming in.

4. Living self-sustainably by doing as much as possible ourselves: growing our own food, making our own clothes, renovating our own house, supplying our own power and water.

5. Doing things differently – we want to live an extraordinary life where we don’t have to conform to what we are supposed to do. When we look back in 30 years we want to be proud of the lives we lived.

As I said before, we know this will be a big challenge but we believe that with hard work, a positive attitude and some patience (I am looking at you Pep!) we will be able to conquer this beast of a project.

Patricia in hiking trail in Sierra de Aracena
Hiking trail in Sierra de Aracena (our finca is part of this national park in Huelva)


  • Lisa Promise

    Thanks for sharing this post! I worked with Pepijn at Vistaprint – I was managing North American marketing at the time while he was in Europe and met him briefly during a trip to Barcelona. Congratulations to you both for this major life change! My husband and I moved to Florence, Italy 1.5 years ago for his job and we too think about a path similar to the one you shared. Can’t wait to follow your adventure!

    • Pep

      Thanks Lisa! Good to hear from you, Florence is an amazing city. Follow your heart and your dreams will come true 🙂

  • Stevan Overby

    That used to be Uncle Steve (Tio Estif) to you when you were younger. 🙂
    I am very proud of you and Pep. Knowingly, this is a HUGE change in your lives, but I admire and support you all the way. I agree that too much emphasis is placed on acquiring “things” when all the real things you need are each other, a place to build a REAL life… a roof over your head, food to eat that was produced by your own blood, sweat & tears, time for you both to pursue your passions, a more intimate relationship with Nature, and a place for Uncle Steve to stay when he visits you (Yo traigo mi mochilla y saco de dormir… ah, y vino, por supuesto 😀 )
    I have loved and adored you since the day you were born, and that will never change.
    My unsolicited advise? GO FOR IT!!! Viva la españa! Spain will be better because you are there. London is not really a place that will miss you.
    Best of luck to you both and keep me informed of the adventure.

    • Patricia

      Haha, many thanks Uncle Steve! Thanks for your advice and support. I’m glad we seem to be on the same wavelength. We will expecting you at the finca. 🙂

  • Leo

    Hola Pep y Patricia!

    Glad to hear you made this amazing move!

    I was thinking about something similar for many years, and now I know I want to do something similar. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Keep posting!

    All the best,

    • Pep

      Thanks Leo! I still think back of our cycling adventures a lot (especially the Mallorca trip). I plan to organise another cycling trip in the south of Spain when we are settled in. I’ll keep you posted!

      • OJ

        Next cycling trip will be in the South of Spain – no excuses Pep!!! 🙂 Congrats on the move; see you in Spain soon Leo 🙂 🙂 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *