View from the back yard ….
This morning in the Costa Blanca I was “stuck in traffic”! As I sat behind the wheel following the orange flashing light in front of me, I settled down, accepted my fate and smiled. The sun was splitting the sky, I had no boss to face with an angry eye on the clock and the vehicle in front completely blocking the rural camino into town was an ancient tractor driven by a Spanish farmer on his way tend to his grape laden vines.
A far cry from the traffic jams that, only six or seven years ago, tortured me every day on the nightmarish commute to work. It is no over statement to say…this is why we come here. For a life much simpler, with nowhere to be at no particular time and with no pressure to do just that!
There are more and more people making the decision to move to the North Costa Blanca at a much younger time in their lives. Once a move only people approaching retirement would make it is more and more younger people who simply “want out”.
You must consider the pro’s and con’s, of course. It is not a decision to be made lightly. You will leave behind family and friends and, more often than not, a home with memories of happy times. However, if your heart is telling you it’s time to go then it probably is. So what are the “pro’s” and do they cancel out the “con’s”?
1) Weather and climate.
It’s got to be number one because it is the thing that draws us here. The sun shines almost every day. Of course, it gets cold in winter and of course, it rains (we celebrate the rain here, it waters the vines and produces more of our famous Jalon Reserva) but the sun is never far away. There is nothing nicer in mid-winter, than finding a spot out of the wind and sitting in the sun to have your morning coffee. All ex-pats from all over the world will tell you that mid August is the time to seek shade and a heavy duty fan. The rest of the time you will be outdoors, whether it is to eat, socialise, walk in the mountains or spend a few hours on the beach all year round.
There can be no doubt that we catch less colds and flu and have less aches and pains. Our prized micro-climate here makes it a special place for those suffering from ill health. The Jalon Valley has been hailed the second best place in the world to live for optimum physical well being. Second only to California, which is a slightly bigger and more expensive move!! An elderly German man recently told me he moved to the area because his wife had suffered with acute pain from arthritis. She is actually pain free now. A top tip for good brain health is…learn a new language to stimulate and keep dementia at bay. The basics of the Spanish language are easy to pick up and there are no shortage of cheap courses run by the local ayuntamiento (town Hall).
Without good physical and mental health how good can ones quality of life really be?
3) Social life.
For some this is the last thing on the list. Your social life may take you no further than the shop to pick up your morning newspaper and on a busy day, a coffee or ice cold cerveza at your local bar and no-one here will think it weird.
For those who seek the company of fellow humans, whether you choose to learn the language and integrate with our Spanish hosts or make lots of new friends who speak your language, there is, undoubtedly, a whole new social world to explore. The area is abundant with cafes and bars, not to mention the many and varied restaurants, just check out trip-advisor!! Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian and, por supuesto (that’s Spanish for “of flipping course!!!!)…Español!
Every day in Jalon you will see large organised walks go out. Especially at almond blossom time, when people come to the area in their droves to witness this awesome spectacle.
There are organisations for every nationality of like minded ex-pats. For example the English ex-pats have the U3A who organise trips etc to some of the fantastic tourist destinations in Spain, recent excursions have taken them to the beautiful cities of Barcelona and Seville.
This area of Alicante and Valencia is a wonderful place to explore and live the Spanish culture. Every pueblo ( and there are dozens of them within easy reach)has its own fiesta time. The sometimes “sleepy” towns come to life with music, processions, eating, drinking and dancing. Its about lifestyle When you make this place your home you embrace all that is “Valenciano”! The region has an intriguing history well worth reading about from the Moors and Christians to the very recent Spanish Civil War. Talking to the towns older residents can keep you engrossed for hours and is, in itself, a very good reason to learn the language. Most of the locals speak Castellano (Spanish) as well as Valenciano so providing you learn the basics you can easily communicate and they are more than happy to correct and help you learn.
The traditional siesta is still followed here. In the summer it is an essential pastime. What better way to avoid the most damaging of the Suns Ray’s? After that you can be ready to do as the Spanish do. Eat later in the coolest part of the day at your leisure and AL FRESCO, naturally!
5) Mental well being.
This being a happy result of all of the above. My journey this morning being stuck in traffic made me smile. With the vineyards, almond and orange groves and the mountains all around I was in good company. Sitting in rush hour traffic when you’re on a tight time schedule is the most stressful thing we put ourselves through….and that’s before we even get to work! Life in the fast lane as they say can wreak havoc on our state of mind. The pressures of modern day living make most of us very unhappy. ITS THAT SIMPLE!!
If you are giving serious thought to quitting the rat race and moving lock stock and barrel to the Costa Blanca, by all means take your time and think of those “pro’s and con’s” but don’t take long…. There is a lot to do when you get here!!