Mathieu Marquer, La Rambla

We’re Moving to Spain! 2016 Travel Plans

While I have no idea how 2016 will pan out, I can now announce that on the 24th January, we’re moving to Spain! Sometimes, this thought sends me into a panic and the future feels like one infinite black hole of uncertainty. At other times though, I remember how embracing fear and change has led to the most amazing experiences of my life; from quitting my job in London to travelling in Asia and teaching in Hanoi.

Us in Central London

Yes, we’re Moving to Spain!

So, why Spain?  I honestly can’t pinpoint the moment when we decided on Spain. We always thought we’d explore South America after leaving Asia and for a long time, Andrew was keen to move to Mexico to teach and improve his Spanish. However, at some point during those turbulent, incredible months in Hanoi, we started planning an autumn road-trip through the USA instead and I admitted that I didn’t want to go to Mexico – at least not yet.

Quite honestly, after spending a couple of years on the other side of the world, I wanted to be closer to the UK. I craved European culture and food and I liked the idea of being only a two-hour flight away from my family. So Spain emerged as an obvious alternative, a country close to the UK, where Andrew could practise his Spanish, a place with plenty of English teaching jobs as well as big cities and beautiful beaches.

La Rambla, Barcelona

Our 2016 Plans

The flights to Spain are booked, but we have few concrete plans for 2016. We did learn a lot from our journey in 2015 though;  we want to strike a balance between work and travel, between living in one country for a portion of the year, visiting home and exploring new parts of the world. With these lessons in mind, here’s how our 2016 plans look at the moment:

Travelling in Spain

We fly to Alicante on the 24th January. Andrew managed to find an insanely cheap deal on car hire, just £55 for a month, so we’ll be taking a road trip to get a feel for the country. We plan to rent cheap accommodation through Airbnb (a service we’ve grown to love) and perhaps housesit while we visit a few key cities such as Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao. On February the 21st we drop the car back to Alicante and bus over to Madrid. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can get £20 free credit to spend on the site if you sign up using this link.

House sitting in 2016

We’ve always been intrigued by house sitting but so far we’ve only  managed to complete three short sits during summer visits to London. Our house sitting experiences so far have been great; we’ve saved money on accommodation, enjoyed some home comforts and gotten to look after some cute cats and dogs. We’re hoping house sitting will become a bigger part of our travel style in 2016, as we try to establish a balance between slow travel and work.

Betz, the cat we're looking after in London

Beautiful Betz, who we’ll be looking after in London

We have two confirmed house sits so far; three-weeks in London at the beginning of January where we’ll be looking after the same cat we cared for in the summer and a week-long housesit in rural Spain in February.

Working in 2016

Although we still have a decent amount of travel savings, rather than run down our money completely before we settle somewhere and work, we’re taking a new approach. In 2016 we want to focus on covering our living costs and perhaps adding to our savings through a few different avenues, including earning small amounts from online and freelance work, English teaching and exam marking for Andrew; I would also like to explore other work and volunteer placements.

Andrew teaching in Vietnam

Andrew teaching in Vietnam

Teaching English will remain one of our key income streams but rather than committing to an entire academic year and making teaching our full-time focus, as we did in Vietnam, we hope to find more casual, flexible work with language schools and private clients in Spain.

Renting an Apartment in Madrid

Having a temporary home base was one of the things we loved most about living in Hanoi, so we’re keen to rent an apartment again in a new city – from what we’ve heard, Madrid sounds like the ideal place. There are plenty of work options there, living costs are fairly low and it’s an exciting place to be; friends and family can visit easily and we can fly back to the UK when we want to.

Madrid skyline

Family Holidays

If all goes well, our loose plan is to stay in Madrid until mid July. From there we’ll make our way to Italy for a holiday with Andrew’s family, who are renting a house in Perugia, we’ll tag on a visit to Florence before the holiday starts. At the beginning of August we’ll head back to Spain for a holiday with my family on the coast, probably in Malaga.

Travelling Europe in 2016

Despite having lived in the UK almost all of our lives, we really haven’t seen that much of Europe, so we’re excited to explore while we’re living in Spain. I don’t know when or how yet, but we’d love to road trip around Eastern Europe and visit some key countries we’ve yet to set foot in, like Germany and Portugal. Come September, we might even decide to walk the Camino de Santiago!

Everything is subject to change at the moment, but one of my key goals for 2016 is to just take my chances and see what opportunities arise.

Happy New Year Everyone! What are your plans for 2016?

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28 Comments
  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    Posted at 15:57h, 01 January Reply

    Happy New Years you too! It sounds like 2016 will be just as exciting as the last, and I have a feeling you will really enjoy Spain. It’s always scary to strike out and try something new, but that is what makes life exciting too. Good luck to the both of you, and I look forward to following your travels around Europe and experiences in Spain this year!

    • Amy
      Posted at 18:49h, 01 January Reply

      Thanks Steph, despite the fear, I do have a good feeling about Spain. One of my biggest challenges will be trying to pick up some of the language, at least I have Andrew to help with that though. Happy New Year to you and Tony 🙂

  • Carmel
    Posted at 16:15h, 01 January Reply

    Awesome!! I love Alicante. My aunt lives near there in Elche. That area holds a special place in my heart. I so wish we had the money to come visit while you’re there!

    • Amy
      Posted at 18:55h, 01 January Reply

      I wish you could come and visit too! Maybe we can message you if we need any recommendations though. We are so excited about Spain, it’s going to be so different from our other travel experiences!

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 23:03h, 02 January Reply

    I think your 2016 plans are great and Spain will be a very good base to explore a little more of Europe. Madrid is a very liveable capital with lots to offer. I am sure you will soon learn to speak Spanish since you will be totally imersed in the culture and everyday life in Spain. I am very excited for you and looking forward to follow you along this new path. Happy 2016 to you and Andrew.

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:46h, 04 January Reply

      Hi Gilda, Happy New Year and thanks for your continued support. It’s nice to hear a good review of Madrid, I have high hopes for Spain but am still slightly nervous about the move.

  • Jade
    Posted at 00:26h, 04 January Reply

    Excited to hear about your travel plans guys. I actually considered Spain too but now have flights to Hanoi booked! In fact I may email you guys soon with a few questions!

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:49h, 04 January Reply

      Hi Jade, Happy New Year! How exciting that you’re heading to Hanoi – I hope you have a great time. Yes, email with any questions you have, we’re more than happy to help.

  • Patti
    Posted at 02:34h, 04 January Reply

    I’m so glad you’re headed for Spain – it’s an interesting country with good people – and as you well know we spent 6 weeks in the country while walking the Camino. The rustic historic villages to the busy city life, we walked through so much of the country. I’m looking forward to following your adventures and reading your impressions of certain cities in comparison to ours. And, remember, you don’t have to take on the entire Camino if you decide to walk, but I must warn you that it consumes you and once you start, you won’t want to stop! 😉 Best thing to order… Padron peppers and Sangria – OMG! 😉

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:52h, 04 January Reply

      Thanks Patti, your great stories about Spain definitely encouraged us to take the leap and explore the country. I’m excited to get to Spain! The Camino is looking more and more likely; maybe we will try a section of it first to see how we go. Now I know you can get your bag taxied on I’m not as daunted!

      • Patti
        Posted at 17:29h, 04 January Reply

        Amy ~ On the right side bar of our blog, you’ll find our 15-page Camino FAQ guide. It’s a free download and will answer a lot of practical questions you don’t find in the guide books. 🙂

        • Amy
          Posted at 18:00h, 04 January Reply

          Thanks Patti, we’ve been meaning to download that 🙂

  • [email protected] The British Berliner
    Posted at 21:22h, 04 January Reply

    Happy New Year Amy & Andrew!
    Wow! You guys have had a wonderful year in 2015 with a wide variety of mixed destinations but I guess why you’d want to be near home. You can’t believe how happy I am that I live in Germany and not New Zealand, or something!

    Spaaaaaain! You’re going to have a great time and I need to find out more about that £55 a month car deal that Andrew found. Amazing! Seriously. I do! I can’t tell you why, but by next week, you’ll know!
    p.s. if you have any questions about any of the European destinations that I’ve been to, you’ve only to ask. Oh, and let’s meet up if you make it to Berlin!!
    p.s. I hear the walk to the Camino de Santiago is brilliant. Exhausting but brilliant. A great goal.

    • Andrew
      Posted at 23:30h, 04 January Reply

      Hi Victoria, I found our car hire deal on Skyscanner which took me to Atlas Choice and the rental company is Sol-Mar Rent-A-Car; I’m pretty sure that it was so cheap because we booked it for Jan/Feb and pretty far in advance. I’m intrigued to find out what you’re planning 🙂 Yes, we will definitely let you know if we plan on visiting Berlin, it would be great to meet!

      • [email protected] The British Berliner
        Posted at 07:20h, 04 February Reply

        Thanks Andrew! Very useful. 🙂

        We’re going to Spain & Portugal for Easter!

        I’ve sort of been wavering between taking the train or renting a car but since there’s 3 of us the cost seems to be cheaper by car! I think we’ll just rent a car to get from A to B and then drop it as I don’t think we’ll actually need it in the cities that we’re going to. We’re doing Madrid-Seville-Lagos-Lisbon-Porto.
        In Germany, our son is categorised as “child” but in Spain he would be “adult!” Do you have any idea if one can rent a car in Seville and drop it in Lagos (Portugal)?

        Thanks mate. 🙂

        • Amy
          Posted at 22:24h, 04 February Reply

          Hi Victoria, that’s an exciting plan! When will you be in Madrid? I fear we’ll miss you as we’re flying back to the UK for Easter to visit family 🙁 Weird that the age barriers change so much from country to country! I’m sure you can drop your car off in Portugal, however it’ll probably be more expensive as there are one-way fees; we always try to save money by picking up and dropping off at the same location.

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 02:10h, 07 January Reply

    You have organised your next trip so well.Spain would be a most lively place as in the warmer months ,it never sleeps.I can’t waite to see you travelling through Europe.So much to see and do.I hope to see you do Norway,which is considered the most beautiful country in Europe and one of the most beautiful in the world.Well it doesn’t matter which European country you choose to visit,they are all beautiful in their own special way.I hope you and Andrew ,have the best new year ever,love Louisa

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:25h, 07 January Reply

      Yes, we would love to go to Norway at some point, it sounds beautiful. We’re excited to get to Spain and start the next phase of our journey; as always it’s a bit nerve-wracking though!

      • Louisa Klimentos
        Posted at 23:01h, 10 January Reply

        Yes it is nerve-wracking but you have done it before with sucess and you will do it again,with no regrets.Anyway look on the bright side,you will be so close to the UK and you can pop over if you have spare time,love always Lou

        • Amy
          Posted at 11:21h, 11 January Reply

          Thanks for the support Louisa. I am excited about being close to the UK too. Take care x

  • Laura Murphy
    Posted at 15:05h, 08 January Reply

    Spain is an excellent choice! I went there last summer and I am in love the country, the culture, the language and the cuisine! I was also planning to move to South America this year but may be I rather move to Spain instead. I really find it nice that is in Europe so I’ll be also quite close to home. I really feel inspired by your stories and I think that you are really brave and adventurous! I wish you the best of luck no matter if you will move to Mexico or Spain! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:59h, 08 January Reply

      Hi Laura, thanks for reading and commenting. We are excited but nervous about moving to Spain, whatever happens though I’m sure it will be one hell of an adventure! Good luck with your travel plans in 2016 🙂

  • Norma Garcia
    Posted at 07:25h, 06 June Reply

    Impressive post!

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:59h, 07 June Reply

      Thanks!

  • Maurice Edwards
    Posted at 06:26h, 07 June Reply

    Hey…!

    I really appreciated this post…. I don’t need this but I will share to my Brother and his wife extremely needed this. Thank you so much for posting this by the way.

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:59h, 07 June Reply

      No worries 🙂

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