If you regularly keep an eye on the expat press you’ll most likely have seen the large amount of negative press surrounding British expats’ experiences in Spain. Headlines on plummeting house prices, lack of job opportunities and a 90,000-strong expat exodus from Spain last year are prolific to the point of tedium.
But what’s really going on in the Iberian Peninsula? We quizzed British expat and author of Two Old Fools ~ Olé!, Victoria Twead, on what she makes of the headlines and why she’s choosing to stay put.
How long have you been living in Spain?
We relocated in 2004 and settled in a tiny mountain village in Andalucía hoping for a peaceful retirement. Of course life never runs smoothly (we ended up owning the most dangerous cockerel in Spain) but each day is a pleasure to wake up to.
In your experience how has the financial crisis affected the lives of British expats in Spain?
Living in a remote village, we are not surrounded by fellow expats. Personally, our bills are still lower than they would be in the UK and our quality of life is far better. The exchange rate is the factor that affects us the most, but we live a comfortable life.
Stories in the press have recently suggested that ‘the expat Spanish dream is dead’. Do you believe this to be true or is it just overblown, attention-grabbing headline fodder?
The stories in the press about Brits fleeing Spain surprise us and bear no resemblance to what we have experienced. On the contrary, I receive many emails from Brits who have read my books and are eager to move to Spain.
I know of no Brits who have given up the ‘dream’ and bolted back to Britain. The Brits I know are happy with their lives and, like us, have never regretted their move.
Moving to Spain was the best decision we ever made. The lack of stress and wonderful relaxed way of life has given me time to pursue my passion, writing books, and I forged a new career from that. We have no plans to move back to the UK. Why would we? The sun shines here nearly every day, the people are friendly and helpful, the food is wonderful, wine is cheap…Spain is our home now, and we’re here to stay.