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Old Aug 7, 08, 10:21 am
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: BCN
Programs: BAEC Gold A3 Gold IB Plata
Posts: 8,397
About five and a half years ago, I was in a similar place as you. I was a bit (cough) older and had established myself in the business world pretty successfully, but was not happy with my quality of life, the weather where I lived (Seattle), and generally felt that I needed a big change.

On Jan 2, 2003, I decided to sell my business, my house with most of its furnishings, and my car. 91 days later I boarded a NW flight with six suitcases that contained nearly all my remaining worldly belongings and headed for Barcelona.

Today I'm living in a beautiful place, immersed in a culture I love, married to a sweet and adorable Spaniard, coming off one successful startup and beginning a second. I'm also fluent in two new languages.

Point being: it can be done. It wasn't easy, necessarily. And there were times at the beginning I wanted to turn around and go back. Even today I get frustrated at cultural differences sometimes, and miss certain things. But I would do it again in a second. It was the best decision I have ever made.

Things will be easier for you, because you're an EU citizen and can get employment. If you don't speak another language, you'll probably have to work in the hospitality industry in a tourist area at first. That's OK; you'll make some friends and learn your way around.

The first step in your plan, though, has got to be travel. This isn't a decision you can make in a couple of days - it's a process. There are cheap flights all over Europe from the UK. Go spend some time in places like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Milan, Rome, Lisbon etc., even if it's just for a weekend. Take the public transit, walk around, talk to people in bars, and get a real feel for what it's like to live somewhere foreign.

One last piece of advice: when you decide where to head, make an effort to learn the local language and get to be involved with local people. You will not learn Spanish, for example, hanging out in the one pub in a town full of British expats moaning about how backward your new country is.

Enjoy exploring, and good luck on your new adventure!
alanw is offline