Sometimes I just do things and forget to tell people around me what is going on. Take our recent move to Spain, for example. I didn’t really mention much about it (except in the newsletter) to all of you. So the headline is…. WE MOVED TO SPAIN!! You can follow along on Instagram, for day to day life in Spain. Some of you have DM’d, emailed or commented on YouTube with questions about the trip and why we decided to do this. In this post , I’m answering ALL of your questions!
#1) Why Did We Move To Spain?
Perhaps the most frequently asked question is why we moved to Spain. This is a long one. Hang in there with me!
Last year, both Chris and I agreed that our resort-style townhouse in Telluride, Colorado was not the right house for our family long-term…so we decided to sell. Once we DID get our house under contract, we looked and looked at houses on the market and didn’t see anything that we loved. That is; until I saw a project that had not even broken ground yet! I knew instantly this is our house. Long story short, we bought the project and have been working closely with the builder and designer ever since to create our dream home!
Tough To Rent in Telluride
Once Chris and I closed on the sale of our house, we had no place to go… and in this super hot, post-COVID housing market, finding a place to rent was virtually impossible. We did find a short-term home in Mountain Village (our friends’ house) and stayed there through the end of the school year thankfully, but at the end of May, we didn’t have anything else lined up. Family homes in Telluride are literally renting for $25,000 PER WEEK. I wish that were a joke, but it’s not. In case you are slow at math like I am, that’s $100,000 per month. Mind blowing. Chris and I knew that because of the crazy pricing, we were likely going to end up renting a more affordable condo that was not something we loved. So instead of paying WAY too much in rent for housing that was ‘just okay’, we decided that NOW is the time to travel abroad.
Learning a Second Language
We were specifically targeting a Spanish-speaking country so the kids can really solidify their command of Spanish. AND… by not staying in Telluride and paying exorbitant rent, we can literally can SAVE money while doing this. Kind of a no-brainer. With very little hesitation we made this our plan. (Incidentally, it was our plan… even before Spain opened to US tourists. I just believed it would happen. And, it did!! We are here!!)
Keep scrolling to learn how we got the kiddos into school, and got Traveler to Spain.
Before heading to Spain about two weeks ago, we went on an epic, cross-country road trip with the entire family (yes, including our 90 pound Golden Retriever, Traveler). If you missed the day-to-day breakdown of that awesome adventure, you can check that out here.
#2) How Long Will You Live In Spain?
We’re hoping our house will be completed by mid-December so that we can be home for the holidays. But as with any new construction, that could be delayed. Our thoughts are mid-January at the very latest! We really want the kids to return to school the second half of the year in Telluride. Plus, we don’t want to miss ski season… our favorite!
#3) Where Are We Living In Spain?
We originally wanted to live in Barcelona. But after some research, we found out that the primary language is Catalan. They teach Catalan, Spanish and English at almost all of the schools. Even Gage’s Spanish teacher told us that while she was in Barcelona, she had to ask people to speak to her in Spanish, not Catalan. That was a bummer because Barcelona is SO gorgeous, but language is a really big deal for us since the main reason for moving is for the kids to hone their Spanish speaking skills. In addition, to learning Spanish, we also want to be able to easily travel. That meant skipping a smaller beach town like Marbella. The most central place and the easiest city to travel in and out of… Madrid. And, that’s where we are now. I’m truly blown away by how gorgeous and clean this city is…
Out of safety for the family, I’m not going to share the exact neighborhood our apartment is in, but it’s very close to the school we enrolled the kids in, to grocery stores, and a park for Traveler! It’s a beautiful barrio.
#4) How Did You Get Your Dog To Spain?
This was a question many of you asked and expressed concern about. We used a full-service company that picked her up, got her USDA certification, took her through customs, fed her, washed her, and delivered her directly to our hotel in Madrid. Chris and I were VERY nervous about it. Traveler took a later and different flight. We flew direct and she had to fly indirect. She arrived in a clean crate (no pee or poo), happy, and acting 100% like herself. But, she was definitely a little jet-lagged, like the rest of us!
The agency we used is called Air Animal. We had an excellent experience and definitely recommend them.
#5) How Can You And Chris Do This? Are You Working?
We are both a little nuts. No question. Most people don’t actually want to travel for 6 weeks on the road with their kids and dog and then move to a foreign country immediately afterwards. I get that. We both love travel and we both love adventure! We also both had pivotal, life-changing trips at young ages that really shaped who we are today. We really want to create that for our children. Chris and I are also both self-employed, meaning we can work from anywhere. So far, I would say I’m working at least 3 to 4 hours per day and taking 2 days per week off. For me, having an amazing team is EVERYTHING. These incredible women are the reason I can do this while still running a successful business. I think Chris is managing everything okay so far too. It’s tricky, though, to juggle work, caring for kids 24/7, trying to not gain 1,000 pounds, while also trying to enjoy the experience, learn a new language, plan ahead… and also build a home, but we are managing. It just means the occasion meltdown, like I had today at lunch when I burst into tears over an IKEA order.
#6) How Did Your Find An Apartment?
Before we left, I was scouring Airbnb for a place and I finally told Chris, I can’t do this. I HAVE to see apartments before I can commit to renting one for 5 months. He quickly agreed. Sooo… instead of trying to guess what will work best for our family, we hired a consultant to help us look at apartments based on our criteria. Izas lined up several places for us to look at right away. Our criteria was: near a great school, in a safe and great neighborhood, pet-friendly and close to a park. We also requested 3 bedrooms and at least 2 bathrooms. After two days of looking we put in a bid for one. That fell through as the owner wanted a longer term lease. We decided to go for another apartment that wasn’t our favorite aesthetically, but hands down has the best location! It’s worth noting that we stayed in two Airbnb’s before moving into our apartment. (Tour coming soon). One was decent, but not in the best neighborhood and the other was AWFUL, like ‘could-not-wait-to-get-out-of-there’ awful. I think we made the right call waiting on the apartment decision. You really DO have to see them first if you are staying longer term.
We used the agency Welcome Madrid Relocation and had a very positive experience!
#7) Where Will the Kids Go To School?
Now that we’ve found an apartment and are moved in. We’ll need to work on getting Visas and getting the kids in school. To sort out school we decided to work with a school focused consultancy called Step Into Spain. We specifically worked with Sinead here. School is SO important that we wanted to find a company that really knows the in’s the out’s. I’m REALLY happy to report that as of this week (2nd week of September) we found a school!! It’s absolutely perfect! They mostly speak Spanish, it’s close to our apartment and it’s small-ish. I can’t share any more details for safety reasons.
#8) Will You Go Anywhere Else In Spain?
Once we get settled, we’re planning to do a lot of traveling! We have to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, right!? Some places on our list in Spain are Barcelona, Valencia, and Granada. We definitely want to check out other countries in Europe too. So far we have traveled to Zermatt, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Holland, and London. On my list for the remainder of our time here: the French countryside and show the kids Paris, Italy FOR SURE, Greece, Croatia, and Morocco too. I don’t know if we have time for all of that, but I’m hopeful we can cover a lot of ground. For the trips in other countries, we will board Traveler here in Madrid.
Where do YOU think we should go?? Please share in the comments below.
You can read more about our weekend trips here.
#9) What Do The Kids Think?
They were definitely not on board at first, but they came around. It’s hard to explain to kids that they are embarking on a life-changing experience when they have no frame of reference. I think they had a blast on the cross-country trip and they are so happy to be in an apartment now in Spain with their own bedrooms! No more packing every two days.
#10) Am I Still Posting on YouTube & Blog?
Absolutely, yes! Nothing here on the site or on YouTube will be changing. The style, beauty, wellness, lifestyle, and home content on the site will continue! And I’m still planning to have a video go live every week. If you want more day-to-day outfits and daily updates on life in Madrid, you can follow me on Instagram!
Is there anything specific you want to see from our adventure in Spain? Outfit ideas? Travel tips? Please let us know in the comments below!
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Thanks for stopping by!