Like many of the expat community living in Tarifa, when Jim first visited the town eight years ago, he immediately fell in love.
‘A friend of mind was taking a year’s sabbatical and was in Tarifa. He suggested that I visit, that I would really like the place. He was right. From the first moment, I knew Tarifa had something special.’
The actual move from London to Tarifa took about six months. Jim left behind a well paying job with a London based business consultancy. Then he, his wife and young child boarded a plane south. They haven’t looked back since.
‘Sure, living in the south of Spain may not offer the same financial security or opportunities of a city like London, but the pay off comes in the quality in life. I didn’t like the idea of raising my family in the city. I wanted my children to have a freer life. Tarifa gives them that.’
As Jim is half-Spanish, learning the language was not so much of an obstacle. That said, when he arrived in Tarifa, he had no idea how he was going to make a living.
‘We kept our eye on the local property market and with the help of Tarifa Direct, when the time was right, we decided to invest in a frontline plot on the outskirts of town.’
Jim used the plot to build a 3-storey 750 sq. metre shop, a project, which was scheduled to take 9 months, but ended up taking two years to complete.
‘Building the shop was a huge learning curve and taught me a lot about working with the Spanish system,’ he says.
The plan was to rent out the shop but then the crisis hit and Jim had to rethink his options. Then a chance meeting with Gisela Pulido, the 7 times kite surf world champion and Tarifa resident changed his world.
Working together with Gisela, they used the shop to open the Gisela Pulido Pro Kite Surf School. Combining Gisela’s international success and Jim’s business experience, the school was an instant success.
The school is annexed to a shop called Superfly where they sell boutique women’s clothes, men’s sportswear and kite equipment.
‘It’s been an amazing journey,’ Jim explains, ‘but it hasn’t been easy. Making a living in this part of the world definitely has its challenges. The biggest difference for me is in the attitudes. In London it matters what car you drive, where you live and where you go on holidays. Here those things are irrelevant. In our free time we go to the beach with the kids and nothing beats that. The day to day life is way better than anything London has to offer.’
For more information on how you can make the transition to a new life in Tarifa, contact Tony Cassidy atTarifa Direct today and get some expert advice.