Thanks for reading about this project.
Over the past few years of economic instability, many of us here in Spain have faced financial and business challenges, and indeed seen plenty of our friends have to pack in their dreams of life in the sun and return to the UK. Unemployment, exchange rate fluctuations and housing/financing difficulties abound, and we know it has affected many people living here, some of whom may indeed feel trapped in unsaleable properties or regretting their decision to commit to a life in Spain.
However if you were to read the UK media you might be forgiven for thinking that these tragic tales represented the sum total of expat life in Spain, and that we are all either bitterly resentful and stuck, wringing our hands at how it’s all gone wrong, or frantically packing up and leaving. Nowhere are the success or survival stories represented, the voices of people who are getting by or indeed thriving in Spain. People who may indeed have had to trim their café-con-leche budgets to suit today’s economic cloth, but who still reckon they’d rather be in Spain with all its problems, than return to the place they left. Whether people are employed, self employed or living on investments and retirement, the effect of the recession has not been uniform – but far more interestingly, neither has people’s response to it.
I have seen endless requests from UK press and TV for yet more of these stories – how the dream turned sour, how it all went wrong, how naïve and stupid we all were, and so on… I am sure they know their audience, and if they think all they want is more doom and gloom and to feel superior to those they feel are worse off than they are, then perhaps they know best. Certainly my attempts to pitch them encouraging, realistic and uplifting stories of how people have made the best of it and found positive ways of getting by, they have not found of interest… ( “Yes, but do you know anyone who’s been repossessed recently instead…?”)
I want to make it absolutely clear that I have no intention of judging or dismissing the very difficult decisions and often real tragedies behind every one of these sad stories, of people forced to give up their dreams and walk away. But I sincerely believe this is not the only picture of what is going on in the expat community in Spain today, and the other side of the story deserves to be told.
One of the things I have always admired and enjoyed about the expat culture here is the way people just get on and do stuff for themselves. Of course this can lead to all sorts of problems when people decide on the plane coming over that they always fancied themselves as a bit of a plumber or whatever, but the truth is a lot of the people making good right here and now are those who embrace new projects and challenges and get on with it, themselves instead of waiting for others to do it instead. Which I why, thanks to encouragement from many people around me, I have decided to try and tell some of the stories of surviving and thriving expats in Spain – and examine what common factors there may be that makes people either adapt or stick it out or even make their lives a huge success – by whatever terms they define that success.
Do understand, I am not defining ‘success’ in Spain in any specific or materialistic way – it is for you to define, and doesn’t mean I am only interested in people making money or empire building. Success in lifestyle, relationships, spiritually, or in health or creativity… there are many ways to be rich in this world, and I believe we should share and celebrate that.
I am not sure what form this project will ultimately take, when it will be complete, or whether I will be able to persuade anyone to publish it. But if you would like to contribute any comments, anecdotes or content in any way I would welcome your involvement. I cannot offer any form of payment, except a credit/link to your business /website if you have one (and wish to comment without anonymity), and of course a free review copy of any ultimate e-publication.
Please send an enquiry via the form below, and we will take it from there.
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