Novel Writing, Eco-Gardening, and a New Life in Spain

After walking the famous pilgrim route Camino de Santiago (St. James’ Way) in northern Spain and visiting the coastal village of Altea on the Mediterranean, Texan Ted Williams, 46, decided to move there.

“The walk was a complete life-changing experience in many ways,” he says. “I planned to stay on for a week, but lingered for three weeks after falling in love with Altea.”

Located on the Mediterranean in the temperate Costa Blanca area of Spain, Altea is a historic, picturesque village with its iconic hilltop blue and white tiled church. It is renowned for its cultural events, including festivals, art shows, live concerts, and other artistic endeavors.

Ted returned to Texas, sold his home and most of his belongings, and moved there. “I love the beauty of it, the sea surrounded by the mountains, the tranquility, international flavor, artistic atmosphere, and artistic-minded people,” he says.

“Compared to Texas, the cost of living is generally lower in Spain especially for food and housing. Clothes and gas tend to be higher, although the cars here tend to be more efficient.”

Ted is passionate about cooking and gardening and for around $40 a year, he rents a 710-square-foot eco-garden which includes automatic irrigation.

“I grow ten types of tomatoes and hot peppers, cucumbers, butternut squash, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, beans, potatoes, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, and herbs,” he says.

He’s also writing a book on his experiences with walking the Camino. “To date the book is 75,000 words,” he says.

Ted found a job as a teacher at one of the many British schools in the area—first in the city of Albacete and later in La Nucia, the town just east of Altea.

“I teach English with the Cambridge system, the most accepted language method throughout the world,” he says. His students range from year three to year 13—the equivalent of third grade through to the end of high school—and also does private tutoring for around $23 an hour.

Ted is now married to an Altea woman, Cristina, and he enjoys his many international friends, often meeting up at local bars. Spontaneous gatherings, with several friends wandering by and stopping to join the table, are a common occurrence in this easy-going, coastal town.

When he moved to Spain, his Spanish was limited, but he can now have conversations with native Spanish speakers. “You have to be resourceful. And don’t be shy,” he says. “I feel at home here. I have adapted quite well.”

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