Why Does It Take a Move To Spain For An Improved Quality of Life?

Published on 08/04/2008 in Expat Life

Spanish lifestyleMost people move to Spain for an improved quality of life. They spend years working up to the move and in some respects put their “actual” life on hold until they get to the place of the improved quality of life. However, I don’t think that Spain is the cure for all. Of course Spain holds some obvious ingredients that can make life more pleasurable e.g. the sun and nice beaches but there is more to life than that.

I think the association with Spain and the improved quality of life is purely psychological. Whether consciously or subconsciously the move to Spain for many people is about quashing their own personal boundaries and testing themselves by stepping right outside their comfort zone. It is more about the challenge of setting up a new life in a foreign country which is not too foreign. It takes for them to do something as drastic as a move to Spain in order to change all areas of their life.

People report that their quality of life is improved in Spain because once they get there they make a greater effort. There is something about people making the move to Spain that inspires them to re-evaluate their priorities and make changes in all areas of their life.  They usually don’t consider that had they stayed in the UK, they could have easily have made some of the changes that they did in Spain.

Making an effort to make new friends is one example. It is less threatening striking up a conversation in Spain with fellow Brits because people appear to be more receptive to new people and are less judgemental outside of their comfort zone in the UK. People who would never associate with each other in the UK form friendships when they move away. Instead of staying in watching television, they take time out to socialise with their friends. Why don’t people make time for friends in the UK?

Living in Spain gives them an opportunity to learn a foreign language. With the abundance of evening courses on offer in the UK, there is every opportunity to do this but, I admit, there is nothing like studying Spanish in Spain to keep you motivated.

They may say that they eat more healthily in Spain but with the choice in the UK supermarkets there is nothing to stop them enjoying similar foods. Instead, they opt for the convenience foods rather than cook meals from scratch

They enjoy a more outdoor life whereas in the UK they would have spent their weekends indoors touching up the paintwork. However, nothing was to stop them wrapping up warm and taking a walk in the country or by the seaside in the UK. Don’t use the poor weather as an excuse as sometimes the hot Spanish sun can be more prohibitive than the bad weather in the UK. It’s easier to warm up than cool down.

Unfortunately, many people in the UK feel that they have to behave in a certain way and be part of the hum drum life. They don’t realise that Britain offers many alternatives to spending the weekend at Homebase or B&Q. So, just because your neighbours spend their Saturday mornings catching up with housework or cleaning the car it doesn’t mean that you have to. Why don’t you do what you would do in Spain on a Saturday morning like take your children to the park or go for a coffee instead?

Written by: Susan Pedalino

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Women In Spain

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Millie said:
05 November 2012 @ 11:23

To be very honest i never been to spain, but i heard good things about it like the weather and other things.
There are some people not all in spain that don't have much emotions its horrible, they say things to people without thinking and in my opinion instead of saying it out in their faces they should teach them from their mistakes because they learn.

However thats my opinion i don't want to change people's opinion on Spain
But Spain's got a good weather its nice and sunny and there are beaches which is what most people like.

molly liew said:
16 October 2011 @ 18:47

Why does everything in eye on Spain, try to put people off coming here.
The bad publicity does no end of harm to the English here in Catalunya
Ive lived here for 11 years, the thought of going back to England is horrible, no thanks, and whats more London seems to be even worse in the last couple of years

TJ222 said:
30 May 2008 @ 11:30

Its a great article, well written and refreshingly different and honest. Its in people's nature to try and escape themselves and to beleive that a change of scenery will result in a change of behaviour and outlook. Sadly I think this is in most cases a myth. Unfortunatley a whole industry exists to convince us otherwise. Ever wondered why most houses are sold as a lifestyle rather than as what they actaully are - a house. The beautiful woman and man with two blonde children with smiles walking into the sunset is usually a giveaway.

grannyB said:
19 April 2008 @ 07:21

We can not agree to all of Ms Pedalino's comments.

Yes, we fell in love with Spain on Holidays and, to some degree, did put our lives on hold for a period of ten years or so but it was worth it!

We were lucky to sell our home in the UK at the right time and for a good price and we saved hard but the whole idea of our move to Spain was that we could buy our dream property for cash and live the rest of our lives mortgage free. It would not have been possible fo us to do that in the UK. Household bills (rates, water etc.) are much less and so our savings go much further.

Of course, the quality of life is improved as the freedom from the stress of money problems is a huge bonus. Where in the UK could one go out with friends and enjoy a meal and drinks in the sunshine or on a warm summer's evening and leave the restaurant smiling at the price you paid. When we visited our local pubs and hotel in the UK they was full of teenage drinkers and loud music so that the only way to enjoy a meal was to go to a restaurant, which was expensive.

It is possible to spend more time with friends in Spain than in the UK where everyone is so busy and stressed. trying to make ends meet, so that they insulate themselves in their own little world. We were in that position once and we are sure that there is a real fear in some areas of the UK of being mugged or even stabbed or shot.

We do eat more healthily in Spain - how could you fail to do so - with all the fresh and inexpensive food on offer. The local street markets are wonderful for fresh fruit and vegetables and they are a great source of cheap, good quality shoes, clothing and household items. It is possible to eat fresh food in the UK but at double to cost! If you visit the local markets more than a couple of times, you are greeted like old friends by the traders and if you buy more than one or two items, you are presented with a gift of extra portions.

There is nothing more pleasant than walking in the morning or evening sunshine and to know that you can do that at any time without cold biting wind or driving rain. Bad weather never lasts more than a couple of days and the sun shines again.

Health care is good and it is always possible to see a doctor on the same day that you want an appointment. Being a foreigner is not a problem and the neighbours make sure that you see the doctor at the right time - if you are late, they usher you into his surgery at the head of the queue. The local people in Spain are friendly and welcoming and as long as we use the little Spanish that we know, they are keen to help us learn more.

Public transport is also much cheaper and reliable and the roads are good and a lot less congested. It is wonderful to hear the Spanish actually talking to one another - the more people on the bus, the higher the volume. In the UK, the buses and trains are almost silent except for the sound of mobile phones ringing.

Psychological or not, the move to Spain was the best thing we did for our peace of mind, our improved standard of living and greatly reduced stress. Our pensions go further and, although we miss our family in the UK, when we do see them it is quality time and they really enjoy their holidays here. So much so that one daughter has already moved to Spain and another intends to do so in the next 3-4 years.

J&N said:
10 April 2008 @ 22:32

Susan, I think you have made a very valid point in that people who move abroad very often make more of an effort than they would at home in the UK, but equally the improved weather can make it possible for some people to do more. I have problems with arthritis which can make it incredibly painful for me to do things in cold, damp weather, this doesn't stop me trying and I play golf throughout the winter, but know it will take a few painful days for the joints to recover, whereas in warm weather this problem is significantly reduced.

I think many people think the move to a new life will fix a whole host of problems, whereas it may distract while the actual move is taking place but once the new life settles, those problems very often re-appear.

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