Last week there was a comment on TMP in response to a review I did of my 1813 campaign. It implied how lucky I was to have retired to Spain with a wife who enjoyed wargaming. It made me realise how lucky I have been, and prompted me to write a series of blogs about why we made the move.
2004 was a critical year for my wife and I.
First I reached my 60th birthday
Second I was diagnosed with prostate cancer
Third I was made redundant
Fourth we decided to move to Spain
Reaching sixty is an important milestone. You realise that big changes are about to take place. You will soon finish full time work. You will have to take steps to ensure that the best years of your life are not already behind you.
Being diagnosed with cancer is frightening. You suddenly realise that you might not be here next year. It is not something you can ignore, you have to come to terms with it.
In normal circumstances being made redundant is also frightening and life changing. But in these circumstances it was just another challenge.
Moving to Spain would give me hope and a project to work on.
In 2004 everyone seemed to be moving to Spain. The papers and TV were full of stories of people packing their boxes and making a new life for themselves in Spain. Like most things in the papers and on TV, there is a lot more to it than is at first obvious.
In the 1990s Jan and I had done a series of walking battlefield holidays. Four of them in Portugal and Spain. You don’t see a lot of the usual tourist spots on these type of holidays, but you do meet a lot of locals and get a real feel for the country.
In 2003 we had our first “proper” holiday in Spain. We spent two weeks on a winter walking holiday in the Canaries. It made us appreciate how pleasant the winter months can be, and to dread spending our retirement in the UK.
Our previous long term planning for retirement underwent a major review. We booked up one of the many free house viewing holidays then available and explored the possibility of moving to Spain. That first venture was a real education, and we discovered more about what to avoid than to see anything we were tempted to accept.
By the end of 2004 I had completed my treatment and we had decided to seriously consider moving to Spain.
Next week I will explain some of the detailed planning prior to the move.