In October of 2013 Diana and I crammed all of our stuff in the old Seat, said goodbye to our friends and relatives, and set on a 3000 kilometer journey through most of Southern Europe. Destination: the Spanish coastal village of Santa Pola, located 200 km south of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea.
We are both freelancers working online, so we can pick any country we want, and we wanted a new place with warm weather and nice people. We had traveled to Spain only once before, on a two-week road trip from Barcelona to Cadiz – a scouting mission in search of the best place to settle in. It was during that trip when we fell in love with the white houses, the sea views, the salty wind, and the peaceful tranquility of Santa Pola.
Each day of the journey we advanced south and shed pieces of clothing. The jackets in Slovenia became shirts by the time we got to Nice, and the long sleeves turned to short after we crossed the Pyrenees. We had left Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, in the middle of autumn, and when two weeks later we arrived in Spain, it was still summer. The transition from bare trees to sunny beaches was disorienting, and it felt like it’s just too good to be true. Incidentally, this is a very familiar feeling to freelancers, who can wake up whenever they want and can easily decrease their workload to expand enjoyable activities.
We arrived in Santa Pola in the early afternoon and found the place completely deserted.
Walking on the empty streets, engulfed in the complete silence of the town, it felt like we were actors in a movie about a very tidy apocalypse. This eerie feeling continued to just about 5 o’clock, when the buildings exploded with obviously well-rested people who spilled over the streets and engaged in all forms of socializing; drinking and shouting about politics ensued, often interrupted by the loud BANG! of somebody kicking a ball in the middle of the crowd. To top things off, that somebody was often somebody else’s grandmother.
Prior to arrival, the only arrangement we had made was a 5-day hotel stay. The plan was to contact a local real estate agency and find a rental apartment with their assistance. What people understand by “working” in Southern Spain deserves a whole book, but for now suffice to say that it took us a week, and we found a wonderful place.
Completing the relocation took about three weeks.
It didn’t interfere much with our work schedule, since we usually log in only 15-20 hours per week. It was also very useful to remind us how much stuff we don’t need, and how easy it is to change our environment. It’s pretty cool to be a freelancer, and we feel quite grateful; we’re looking forward to a world where the freelance lifestyle is common and present everywhere 🙂