Okay, let’s blame the wine.
The Evolution of a Dream
Dreams evolve, and ours certainly has. What started off as a 1-year sabbatical to travel around the world morphed into selling everything we owned to travel for 5 years, which morphed into writing books and building our business, which has now morphed into finding an inspiring place where we can write uninterrupted when we’re not actively traveling.
Or, as Warren puts it, “I’d like a place to store my tent when I’m not using it.”
For the last year, we’ve been seriously considering investing part of our retirement savings in a piece of property. It’s been tricky finding the place that meets our financial + creative + lifestyle requirements. We have friends in various levels of property management and ownership, and we’ve had our eyes opened to the ways property can fit into our lives and enhance our income and savings without sacrificing our travel.
This all made sense to us logically, but we didn’t find the place that stirred our hearts to action until now.
It’s a little bit like love: when you know, you just know.
The House Hunt
We arrived in this small village in the Andalucía region of Spain on December 6 for a month-long house sit. Our goal was to write, explore the countryside by hiking, and generally catch back up after being offline for a month hiking in Turkey. Our British homeowner clients hosted a small holiday gathering before they left on their journey. Mince pies and mulled wine seemed odd in the warm Spanish sunshine, but who are we to argue with tradition, especially when it includes wine and food?
We met their friends and neighbors on the terrace that Sunday afternoon, including the local real estate agent named Karen O’Hagan. Like he does everywhere we go, Warren asked her about the local market. Spain’s economy has been in recovery for several years now, and real estate is pretty much at rock bottom pricing. Karen patiently answered all of his questions, and Warren asked her if she would show us some property in our price range, expecting her to balk. Turns out, she did have a few fixer-upper houses we could afford.
We met Karen at the local coffee shop on Friday before we walked to the houses on her list. (Yes, the village is that small.) The coffee was strong, and as we sipped Karen told us about taxes and the process for buying homes in Spain. I kept thinking this was a lark, that we were wasting her time and should have never made the appointment.
We weren’t ready to buy a house, were we? And really, are we Village People?
Apparently we are. As the morning wore on and we visited these quaint little houses, we could see the potential in an investment here, both personally and financially. It ticked all our boxes for lifestyle, price, and that just right feeling. We’d been talking about this as a possibility for months, but this was the first time it felt like something we wanted to do instead of thinking we should do.
When we walked into the house we eventually bought, I could see myself writing there, Warren could see himself cooking there, and we could both imagine an enjoyable life both together and hosting our friends and family. In over 100 destinations thus far on our travels, we’ve not had that feeling, so it was a pretty good indicator we were on to something.
The months of conversations about evolving our lifestyle a bit and investing some of our retirement savings all came to a head in that moment and made it easy to say yes. One thing I love about our relationship is that we never have to wonder what the other is thinking.
We looked at the house on Friday and made the offer on Monday.
Why We Bought a House If We’re Not Going to Settle Down
The people, the culture, the landscape, the food, and of course the wine…it all keeps us coming back. But why now, 8 years after our first visit to this country?
We want the creative energy of a writing retreat, especially after traveling to more challenging areas like our recent trip to Morocco. We don’t want to stop seeing the more difficult destinations of the world, but we do want a soft landing pad when we’re done to re-energize.
We want to have a creative sanctuary together, a place to write and work without interruption and in relative comfort. Dream Save Do was launched from a coffee shop and Strip Off Your Fear was written on a rickety makeup vanity table in a guesthouse. And you would be amazed at our ingenuity if you saw the mobile podcast studios we create every week to record the show.
We want to be in a beautiful place where we can take long hikes and enjoy Mother Nature. Bonus points if this place is also convenient by plane, train, or boat to other beautiful places where we can walk.
We want a solid investment for our retirement. We’re in a position to make a good investment for our future while being able to make vacation rental income on it in the present. That’s pretty compelling when you’re self-employed and not getting regular corporate paychecks anymore.
Our new house is over 100 years old and is nestled in a whitewashed village in the hills of Andalucía. The rooftop deck is the real stunner, with 360-degree views of the surrounding area. As writers, this is as close to paradise as we can imagine and just a 30-minute drive to the Mediterranean Sea.
We won’t be living here full-time, but we are still tethering ourselves down simply by getting an address and all that goes along with it. After spending 25 months getting rid of everything we owned and traveling for 3+ years with complete freedom, it is not so easy to consider accumulating again, even as our wiser and more experienced selves.
Even in paradise.
This is a period of change for us, to say the least, and we’re excited to see how our relationship evolves because of it.
We haven’t figured out all the answers yet, but like usual we’re pushing through anyway. We hope you’ll join us as we uncover the answers together (and no doubt add more questions) on this next leg of our adventure.
Bienvenidos a España!