The Simple Life As An Expat In Spain

I am just loving our Spring weather, as it gets me out walking the town a bit more.  This morning I was walking Anya to school and we didn’t even need a jacket.  I bet you are wondering why Lars wasn’t with us.  Well, he is at that age now, nearly 12.  That means he would rather die, than be caught with his mom walking him to school.  In fact, when Anya and I announced we were walking this morning, he said “NO!”  We finally compromised and said we would give a 5 minute spacing between our departures, so there is no way we would catch up to each other.  Ugh!

Almunecar Sunset - Living in the moment and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Almunecar Sunset – Living in the moment and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Anyway, Anya was chatting the entire way to school.  Of course trying to be like her big brother, she informed me that she doesn’t need a hug or a kiss when we say goodbye.

Man!  Why do they have to grow up?

So, we arrive at the school and I just casually wave to Anya.  She quickly runs back and gives me a hug.  🙂  Oh, how I love that!  She is still my baby, for a bit anyway.  She has PE on Monday mornings first thing, so I hung out a bit and watched her class play for a bit.  Her friend Paula spotted me through the fence and she informed Anya.  Oh no!  I was busted.  Anya came over to the fence and said that she was excited to see me.  After all, we just said good-bye 10 minutes prior.  I just watched briefly watched them play and then continued on for a nice walk.

On my way home I passed our neighborhood basket weaver.  He is out every single day and I finally asked if I could snap a photo of him.  As I watched him, I kept thinking how lucky we are to be expats in Spain.  Our future is going to be more nomadic (moving around) when we are in Southeast Asia, but for now we love being expats.  We get to live here and get to know the locals, really know the ebb and flow of the town, the weather, the sea and the people.
An expat in Spain, stopping to enjoy the basket weaver Almunecar Spain

Many people think you aren’t an expat unless your company moves you to work abroad or you give up your home country citizenship.  To us, it means the same as what I found in Wikipedia.

“An expatriate (sometimes shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing.”

I had the term expat on my mind, because I recently contributed to the HiFX Expat tip page.  So if you’re thinking of moving abroad, learn from those already living the expat life.  There are so many tips about being an expat and adjusting to your new country.  In fact, I have had loads of tips spinning through my mind all day.

It was important for us to embrace Spain and the local culture.  We wanted to be like locals and do as they do.  We didn’t try to recreate our abundant American life in Spain.  We left behind all of the material things and toys (game consoles, craft kits, toys, etc).  All of those things took up space and didn’t fit with our simpler life in Spain.  It is amazing how we can keep things simple and have less, but feel richer and happier!  I’m not saying those don’t exist in Spain, but people are out walking and keeping busy in other ways.  Hey, I can take the time to stop and admire the basket weaver and enjoy the moment.  I think this was one of our best decisions and it is advice we often give to others.

As I mentioned, our next phase will be more nomadic.  For this phase we will simplify even further and carry around all of our belongings.  This will be an adjustment from being an expat and I am sure we will adapt just fine.  There are wonderful people out there being expats (nomadic or in one place) that are full of support as well as advice.  It is great to have them around the world there for us.

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About Heidi

Heidi has a passion for travel and has been exploring the world with her husband and 2 kids, since August 2012. She's visited more than 50 countries and loves to write about their family adventures, mishaps and costs. She has been an inspiration to others wanting to live their dreams. Her travel tips, planning posts, cost breakdowns, accommodation, and product reviews are also very popular. Her current home base is in Spain. Any post on this site may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, there is no extra cost for you and we may receive a commission.

14 thoughts on “The Simple Life As An Expat In Spain

  1. Your lovely sunset photo is now part of my Pinterest board of “Sunsets Around the World”: (It’s properly attributed 😉
    Your description of your son not wanting to be seen with you walking him to school brought back memories of raising two sons, now ages 26 and 30. They still roll their eyes when I ask what they consider ridiculous computer tech questions, but the one who’s a travel blogger calls frequently and the older one just came to visit us in Hawaii with his WIFE. How did our little kid get to have a WIFE? If you don’t mind the link, I thought you might enjoy a blog post I wrote the night before Ben was married. You still have a ways to go before you’re empty nesters, including that potentially challenging tween-teen period. Enjoy your time together. BTW, it’s great that your children are learning at least one other language—Monolingualism is soooo yesterday.

    • Hi Suzanne. Thank you so much. You can pin any photos of ours that you like. Oh I just loved reading about your son growing up. Lars will be 12 next month and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was taller than me by the end of the year. I think he has another 4-5 inches to go. We are having a great time and are all learning so much. Thanks for stopping by and especially for taking the time to comment.

  2. Hey James, that dual citizenship must be nice to have. I guess you wouldn’t bean expat if you were in either of those countries. When you come to Spain, you will be an expat in Spain!

  3. Great read Heidi,
    Funny I’ve never considered myself an expat even when I lived in London for 10 years. I guess being a dual national changes the perspective. I might have to start calling myself an expat instead of a traveling Aussie. 🙂 which is my current description.
    As Alyson said we are looking forward to Spain. I’ve never been so even more excited to visit and try the food and culture.
    Cheers James

  4. Hi Heidi. So I reckon, other than being a British expat in Australia, I’m an expat in Guatemala, too. Does staying in one spot for a month count? I’ll be honest, I’m bored, I love moving around. 2 weeks would have been plenty here to get some work/school done and see all that there is to see. Leaving soon, on to the Lake and Tikal. Looking forward to Spain in a month or so, I haven’t been there since my 20s, but I remember the food being good!

    • Looks like you are an expat no matter where you are living Alyson. Not sure what the rule is on how long you need to be there. Hey, if you don’t have a single home, it is where ever you are. I hope you love Spain and find your income. 😉

  5. I love this glimpse into your everyday life in Spain Heidi; I’ll be leaving will bet a bit emotional, but exciting too as you get to explore Asia and I’m sure you’ll all love it! It’s so interesting to hear thoughts from expats and I’m really looking forward to settling in Asia later this year to live and work in one place.

    • Thanks Amy. Yes, it is bittersweet. I love following your adventures and look forward to exploring some of the same areas you have this past year.

  6. I LOVE these vignettes of your life in Spain… keep them coming, Heidi! 🙂

    By the way, don’t feel too bad about Lars. My kids went through that stage at that age, but now that they are 21, they love to hang out together and don’t mind the public hugs 😉

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