Craving more of our family’s global adventures? Stay updated and join our journey on Instagram! Follow @holanewmans! 

Dreaming, Planning, and Realizing Our Family Adventure Abroad

As we slowly settle into life in Valencia, some folks have been asking how we made ‘this’ happen. So I wanted to share more about dreaming, researching, and planning this family adventure abroad. 

Not surprisingly, travel has been a priority and passion for us individually and as a family. Taking wonderful vacations during the few allotted work weeks and any long holiday weekend each year was a highlight. But we were curious about the experience of living outside the US for an extended period, particularly once we had a child, and for personal reasons the timing was also as close to ‘right’ as we thought we might get for many years. 

Given our language abilities and the desire for our young son to gain fluency, we focused on Spanish-speaking countries. After more research, we decided we wanted to be in Europe for additional reasons, such as the ability to live in a city which doesn’t require a car, excellent public transit networks, ease of taking long weekend trips to other cities/countries, lifestyle/cultural perks, etc. And given my connection from study abroad in Sevilla and travel, and my beloved late father’s professional and personal relationship to Spain, there was surely more meaning and emotional connection in deciding on Spain. (Selecting the ‘best fit’ city was a whole other thing… more in a future post.) 

Everyone’s situation is so different, but I recommend some general resources for families contemplating this type of experience: 
• “A Better Life for Half the Price: How to thrive on less money in the cheapest places to live” (2nd edition) by Tim Leffel (for narrowing down countries)
• “Let’s Leave the Country!: A Guide to Your Family Year Abroad” by Jacqueline Jannotta (helpful for stages of dreaming, actualizing, and refining plans)
• Joining a few family travel, country-specific, and expat-related Facebook groups to observe and learn (and chatting with those who have ‘been there, done that’ is also invaluable), as well as following thoughtful podcasts and blogs on these topics. I particularly enjoyed Carole Hallett Mobbs’ podcast, Expatability Chat, as well as her accompanying blog.

Having decided on Spain, what did it take to actually relocate here? That’s in the next post.