A few days ago, we revealed that we’d be taking a sabbatical year to live abroad. It’s the culmination of years of dreaming and many months of planning, but in the very near future, we’ll be living abroad and exploring an entirely new culture! Today, we’re thrilled to share the details of our new life overseas!
Many countries, such as Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, and even less-frugal options like Australia and New Zealand were initially under consideration… but to be completely honest, the search for the right place to spend a whole year as a family was a pretty easy one for us. Culture, art, tradition, family friendliness, and food are important items to us, but those are things that we’ve enjoyed in countries all over the world. Our baby has some minor medical conditions that we need to keep an eye on, so a high quality of affordable medical care both in our “hometown” and anywhere we might visit was important to us. Our dogs are getting on in age, so we wanted to make sure that we offered plenty of opportunities to enrich their golden years by bringing them on road trips, to restaurants, and on long walks through the countryside. Each of these requirements thinned the list of contenders even further, until we were left with an incredible, short, list. The specific needs of our family (including a four-month-old baby and two dogs) led to us focusing on Western Europe as the best destination to begin what we hope will be a lifetime of globetrotting adventures.
Ultimately, the desire to see our baby and dogs thrive (and to minimize the impact to our savings) led to us considering cities in Spain and Portugal as finalists for the next year. Braga, Portugal is the #1 mix of quality of life with a monthly budget for two of under $2,000 on The Earth Awaits, after all! Las Palmas, Coimbra, and Zaragoza, also score incredibly high.
Both Spain and Portugal would give us access to more experiences and opportunities than we could possibly fit into a single year. Both are noted for their rich history, affordable cost of living, family-centric culture, and highly developed medical care and infrastructure. Both have a thriving tourism sector and sizable expat communities. Both countries offered yearlong visas to Americans which didn’t have requirements such as a local employer or major business investment. In the end, though, one place just felt more right than any of the others.
After weighing cost of living, quality of life, proximity to airports and activities, and so much more, we decided on an enchanting, vibrant place to call home for the next year. It is with huge excitement that we share the news: our 2018 family adventure will begin in Granada, Spain!
Even after considering our desire to rent a house, have a garden and parking, and to have extra space to welcome the many friends who have promised to visit, Granada is well within our budget of $3,500 per month. In fact, it leaves us with a little extra margin to take monthly jaunts on budget airlines within Europe, and to share those journeys with you.
Granada is a city located in Spain’s southern region of Andalucía. It’s possible to visit ski resorts in the mountains, beaches on the Mediterranean, and ruins of three empires all within the same day. The city is a center of tourism and education, and is jam-packed with history and character. The world-famous Alhambra fortress, the Generalife palace, and the entire old town known as the Albaicín are all included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Spain’s medical outcomes rank 5th in the world (the US is 24th) in the World Health Organization’s World Health Report, and our cost to insure the entire family with zero copay or deductible is less than we have been paying for a High Deductible plan for just one of us in the United States. We’re confident that we’ll have access to some of the best healthcare in the world.
We’ve arranged for temporary housing in one of the Granada suburbs, but plan to use our first month in the country to find long-term accommodation. We may end up just outside of the city, or even in one of the other stunning nearby cities like Córdoba or Seville, but for the time being, Granada is where we’ll hang our hats.
Best of all, you won’t have long to wait to hear about our travels! We’re under four weeks from being safely settled in Granada. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing the experiences of the past few months, like our efforts to acquire visas for the family. We seriously can’t wait, and hope you’ll stay with us as we share the best of Spain, Europe, and the world with you.
If you’ve followed the blog for a while, I know you must have a million questions. I’ll try to address many of them in the posts you’ll read in the coming weeks, but if you have a burning question, just ask it below and I’ll do my best to answer!