Home Behind the Scenes The latest news on our relocation to Spain

The latest news on our relocation to Spain

by Silke Elzner

If you have followed the blog closely you may have caught the news that we are planning to relocate to Spain. So we thought you might want to have occasional updates on our progress. When time permits, we want to share with you over the course of the year our little wins and fails and all the learnings we will have along the way.

First of all, if you are not familiar with the situation, we are a family of four who currently live in Sydney, Australia. We are actually German in origin but we have been here for such a long time we consider ourselves Australian first and foremost, and German only second. Our kids would certainly agree. They have been born here and English is their first language.

Why we want to leave Australia

Last year we started to realise that something was missing from our lives. Yes, Australia has been good to us. But there was something that just couldn’t make us feel 100% happy. We realised that there was a reason why it would pull us back to Europe year after year. We missed the atmosphere and the culture, the human history and the food. Just pursuing these things while on holidays was no longer enough for us. We wanted more.

When we sold our house in Sydney last year but were unable to find a new affordable home it suddenly felt as if a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders. Yes, the circumstances of owning real estate and having kids does make you feel a bit like you were stuck.

Now, we couldn’t give away the kids (not that we would want to, anyway!) but at least there was a feeling of freedom that we hadn’t had for a long time. Instead of being dismayed that we couldn’t find a new place to live we realised that there were options for us out there that we had long considered out of reach.

What we have also come to realise is that life is short. My mother passed away at the young age of 60 many years ago. I am almost 40, and I will be dammed if I left this planet without having collected as many experiences as possibles.

This does entail that you may have to take risks. You will have to ignore the nay-sayers. You will have to overcome your fears and deal with doubts.

Planning is key when you relocate with kids

Yes, we do have kids. And relocating them to the other side of the world will be a huge step for them. They are too young to comprehend now how much this will change their little lives. We are lucky that they are excited about the prospect of living in a new country but they lack the foresight of all the negatives that might come along with this, too.

Now, since we have jobs, an apartment, stuff and kids we do need to put a plan in a place to ensure a quick transition that hopefully won’t eat away too much of our savings.

In April, we will fly down to Andalusia to check things out first-hand. We need to use our time down there effectively to look at neighbourhoods. Schedule meetings with school principals to find a suitable school. And hopefully we can sign a rental agreement for a place to stay. As we have learned already, it would be too difficult to find a long-term rental in high season which is when we plan our move. So it is best if we could secure a place as early as April.

We have contracted a relocation expert in the region to help us with scouting schools and rental places. She will also help us with the contracts, insurances, utilities, you name it. She is an expat from Britain who has been living in Spain for almost a decade. Of course, we could do all of this ourselves but the knowledge and translation skills of a local are invaluable and we are happy to pay for this service.

If it was just the two of us we would be ok to go through mishaps, failures and problems. But since we are relocating with children we cannot really afford major dramas.

Our lives divided in three piles: sell, ship, keep

We don’t want to sell under duress, so we will start selling unnecessary items as soon as possible. This will apply to almost all of our furniture. We have bought all our stuff at IKEA. So it will be easy to replace or even update our furniture in Spain where they have IKEA as well. The only thing we don’t want to sell is our dining table as we love it so much and it is not available at IKEA Spain. We may also keep our oversized TV just because it’s fairly new. Everything else needs to go.

The rest of our stuff consists of clothes, kitchen items and personal effects. We already know that a container on a ship will take roughly four months to arrive in port. That’s a long time to go without certain things. It makes no sense to send stuff like cutlery and plates as we will need the things pretty soon after our arrival. We can’t send it now either to get a head start because we need these things everyday in Australia, too. This means they are disqualified from sending them by ship. We will need to purchase new stuff as soon as we arrive in Spain.

Other things that we need to consider are items that we want to keep but that we can do without for a while. Stuff like photo albums, travel souvenirs, toys, books and so on will need to go into an overseas container.

The rest is stuff that we can do without and that we are happy to part with. This includes home decorations, extra clothing, cushions, etc.

In the end we will have roughly 120kgs of luggage that will go with us on the plane. It sounds like a lot but I am sure we will easily max it out. Apparently, luggage should be checked through all the way to Spain even if we change carriers along the way. But I will need to investigate this a bit further.

Setting us up for the future

I am working hard at the moment to make a few more bucks than I am doing at the moment. But I still haven’t quite figured out how to do this more effectively and efficiently with blogging.

One thing I started now is a German language travel blog for families. For this I am compiling tons of great content at the moment. Hopefully, I can gain some traction with this new website soon. I totally forgot how much time and effort you need to put into an enterprise like this. It definitely shows me how far I have come with Happiness and Things already.

Mentally, this is a challenging time for us at the moment. This is going to be our last Sydney summer for a while. Our last Christmas in Australia, our last fireworks in a balmy mid-summer’s night, our last Australia Day. It’s a long process of saying our goodbyes. We might come back in a year but you never know what life brings.

And while we are excited to start a new chapter in our lives we are also sad to say bye-bye to this wonderful and amazing country. We are torn between impatience and the pain of parting.

However, one thing we know for sure: Life is too short to be stuck in one place if it doesn’t make you happy. We are looking forward to the exciting things to come in 2017.