Spain The Expat Survival Guide

About Spain The Expat Survival Guide

Spain continues to rank as the popular expat destination with hundreds of thousands of us living or owning property here and thousands more pursuing the Spanish dream each year.

Yet, despite huge numbers choosing to relocate here, only a handful of expats are really successful in the long term. The rest give up on their dreams and retreat back home... poorer, disillusioned and defeated.

These ex-expats found out the hard way that moving to Spain, buying property or even buying a car here can become a bureaucratic nightmare filled with struggle, frustration and unforseen costs.

The good news is you can avoid the problems that catch most expats out by learning from someone who's already experienced them first-hand.

This book is not meant as a tourist guide of where to visit, how to get there etc. There is a wealth of information available on those subjects as well as the mechanics of buying a property. What is missing, is the vital information of the day to day realities of living in Spain and dealing with the Spanish way of life. If you remove those rose tinted spectacles, you will be better prepared and the transition to resident expat or property owner will be a much smoother path!

About the Author,

I was born in Worthing, West Sussex to Spanish parents from Galicia. I studied French and Spanish at University of North London, which included a year abroad studying in Montpellier, France and Valladolid, Spain.

I then worked in the City of London for several years as a secretary and administrator. I studied Naturopathy part-time for 4 years, but two children and realising it wouldn’t pay the bills caused me to give it up, although I must admit it is my real passion.

I’m married to Abelardo Solo of Filipino origin, he moved to London when he was 10. We have two kids, Brandon who’s seven and Kira who’s five. They have absolutely thrived since we moved here.

I lived in East Ham before moving to Spain. I realised it was time for a change when I came home to find a bullet hole in our fence where there had been a shoot-out with the police and someone was stabbed in the high street in broad daylight over some silly childhood feud.

Strangely around the same time a clairvoyant told me I would move to Spain in 2-3 years time, which I thought was completely ridiculous, as I hadn’t even considered it. I went home and told my husband saying “You’ll never believe what she said”, and his reply was: “Let’s go!”

Mr “been-in-the-same-job-for-17-years-since-leaving-school” didn’t really like change, as you can imagine, and he was keen! So that started me thinking it was a possibility.

So I found job with a company selling off-plan property in Spain, the advert said: “You could be living and working in Spain within a year”. So I took the job, as I didn’t plan to come here without work!

I worked with them for a year and came over to open an office for them in Huelva. A year later, I was still sitting in the equivalent of a shed; just a room with a garage door and one table and one chair. So I decided enough was enough. I tinkered around with property management and did some freelance web design and translation for foreigners in the area. A year later it wasn’t paying the bills so I went to work for another real estate company.

We live in a finca in Gibraleon, Huelva. We had the usual expat dream: “Oh wouldn’t it be nice to have somewhere with a bit of land and a house that we could renovate?” Seemed like a good idea at the time but of course we completely underestimated how much work 10,000m2 of land would be and as for the renovation, well, money pit comes to mind.

I found the first six months in Spain really hard, the next six months infuriating, the second year frustrating, and in this third year I have finally settled down. And I have the advantage that I can speak Spanish!

This book started with an article I wrote regarding the problem I had with social security and nearly getting my car seized. As I was so furious I just kept on adding little bits to the article until suddenly it turned into a book.

If I am not working or spending quality time with the children I am on the computer doing freelance web design or virtual assistant work, or just surfing, I do love the Internet.


"Just after completing signing at the notary and purchasing a new car, i recieved this book, god knows how much..."

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