Why We’re Moving to Cómpeta, España

We have spent the past six months planning this big move to Spain and I finally get aboard the plane next week. My girlfriend, my dog, and I are moving to Cómpeta, España to practice our Spanish and drink all the local wine we can get our hands on. I will go over our general plan to make an income while we are there (we will not have travel or work visas), what our goals are while were there, and how long we might stay.

Our reasoning for choosing Spain is simple, we’ll practice our target language of Spanish, culturally diverse European and African countries are a short plane ride away, and it is much cheaper to live in Spain than it is in the United States. The process of getting a dog an international puppy passport was not so simple.

It turns out that its easier and cheaper to get myself a passport than it is my dog. On top of that there is only one airline that I could that would fly a dog internationally at this time; therefor, my plane ticket was a bit more costly than my girlfriends. All of the negative aside, many things have worked in our favor.

First, we are both certified to teach English as a Foreign Language and teaching English online is a good way to earn a living online. We took the class over the summer and finished our practicum in October.

Second, I have two blogs (this one and El Cooperativo) up and running, ready to be developed. Having these projects keeps me motivated to keep producing content and writing things that I enjoy, and joy is the whole point of this, right?

Lastly, we may get to stay in Europe longer than three months without visas. You see, on a normal US Passport, you can only stay in the EU for up to 90 days out of any 180 day period. Thanks to a little, non-EU, country named Andorra, we can escape to the mountains and reset our passport clocks. This little trick will help us stay as long as we want if we so choose.

With all of this in mind, we might be able to pull off staying in Europe for a long time.

I have been wanting to completely acquire Spanish since I was a kid. I grew up with grandparents that spoke natively but they didn’t pass it on to my dad. They had their own reasons for not teaching their kids Spanish, so I don’t fault them for me not speaking Spanish. I fault the society that made them believe having a Spanish accent would hold you back in life.

However, after years of trying to learn with language apps and school room classes, I decided full immersion is going to be the only thing that really gets me to speak it. Now, for the past two years I have listened to primarily Spanish music, I read most of my books in Spanish, and I watch Spanish Netflix. I have the language all around me and I’ve picked up much more than I ever did in a years of formal classes.

With all of this in mind, I am confident that my Spanish will blossom further while being forced to speak it daily.

The most exciting part of the trip, in my eyes, is the town we are moving to to start out. We are going to Cómpeta, a small mountainous village in southern Spain, about 30 minutes from the coast.

Photo from eastofmalaga.net

Cómpeta is quieter than many of the bigger beach towns on the coast but should have enough going on to keep us entertained. It has restaurants, bars, running trails, and skiing and surfing nearby. The mild winter weather on the coast attracts snowbirds from around the world, making southern Spain culturally diverse year-round.

With Cómpeta as our first home base, we left our plans open after January 15th to move somewhere else if we want. Until then, we want to stay in one spot and get to know it better than any tourist could. We want to be an actual part of the village, not just a weekender passing through.

With a little luck and Andorra’s visa loophole, we could end up staying in Europe for a while. If you have recommendations or questions on our travels across Spain and the rest of Europe, comment below!

I hope you follow along on our journey to see where we end up after Cómpeta and the activities we’ll do while we’re there. Do so by subscribing to my Medium and El Cooperativo newsletters and help me keep these blogs going!

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