“I Reinvented Myself in Spain…”

Blue skies more than 300 days a year, restaurants and tapas bars lining the streets, and culture pouring from every corner…

This is Seville, a city in Spain of 700,000 people, home to flamenco music and delicious food.

It’s one of the architectural jewels of Spain. I’ve been living here six years now and I love how you can choose your lifestyle. If you prefer to live the simple life, groceries are cheap, or you can eat out without breaking the bank. For breakfast, a tostada con jamon (cured ham on toast) and a coffee will set you back $3.50, while dinner for two and a couple of glasses of wine is around $20.

In 2003 I was working as a sales representative in London, but I was restless and unhappy. Deep down I knew life was about more than just money and I was curious to learn about other cultures so I did a course in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).

After a few years spent teaching in Ecuador, Brazil, Australia and Thailand I returned to England to catch up with family and friends, but I missed the adventure, learning a language and the creative energy of life overseas. And that’s how I ended up in Spain.

I’ve found a rich culture here that’s been great fun to experience and explore. Two festivals light up the city during the year: Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a religious festival before Easter. Each church takes its statute of Jesus and Virgin Mary on a parade around the city, through the cathedral and back to their church. I love this festival and hopefully next year I will participate in a procession.

La Feria (The Fair) is the other festival. Normally held in April or May, this event is more about partying, drinking Manzanilla (a strong Spanish sherry), and dancing Sevillianas (a traditional dance). It’s a week-long party and a fun way to appreciate Spanish life.

Compared to my stressful, money focused life back home, as a TEFL teacher I rarely panic, have plenty of time to live my life, and hardly ever think that I’m teaching for the money. The satisfaction of watching my students learn and progress provides me with a more meaningful way of life.

I only work four days a week, with the occasional Friday meeting, which gives me plenty of time to travel around Spain and to write. I never had this much free time in my own country and it means I can do things I’ve always wanted, like learning flamenco guitar.

Having traveled the world and lived in dangerous cities, I love feeling safe in Seville. The atmosphere is pleasant. There is a large expat community and you can mingle with Brits, Irish, Americans and Canadians. My wife and I have private health care and pay $120 a month between us. I’ve been to the hospital a couple of times and the service was excellent.

Seville is also a great hub for traveling. There are snow-clad mountains for skiing, sandy beaches and Portugal is only two hours away. And if you fancy somewhere more exotic, then Morocco is easy to get to by ferry as well.

Editor’s note: Barry had a teaching skill that led him to his new life in Spain. That’s just an example of what you can do. If you like the idea of working or making money overseas, you may be interested in a free e-mail newsletter we recently launched. It’s called Fund Your Life Overseas. You can get a free subscription here.

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