Why I left Spain

Why I left Spain

I recently returned to New Zealand after 2 years abroad, where I mostly lived in Madrid, Spain.

I’ve been asked by a few people why I left Spain, so I thought I’d share my reasons.

Firstly let’s be clear – I LOVE SPAIN.

I had an amazing life in Madrid, it was super social, I only worked part-time and I travelled often, both within and outside of Spain.

In fact, when I look at a map of Spain, I’m pretty satisfied with all the places I managed to explore – and that doesn’t include any of the international destinations I visited!


When I wasn’t travelling, I spent my time learning to speak Spanish, indulging in Spanish cuisine, freelance writing and hanging out with great friends, usually drinking tinto de verrano in the sun.

I believe it’s called ‘The Good Life‘…


But… in the back of my mind I knew it couldn’t last forever.

As easy and fun teaching English part-time was, it wasn’t the career path I wanted to go down, and I knew that the longer I spent in Spain, the harder getting back into my career would be.

I mean, I totally respect teaching and think teachers in general are pretty amazing – but it’s not what I studied, nor what I planned to do long-term.

Especially as I was only a part-time teacher (auxiliar de conversacion) – not a qualified teacher. In this particular role, there was no room to grow. No pay-rise or bonus to work toward and no pay over the summer months.

Nice for travelling – but long-term, not for me.

Southern Spain

I eventually started to feel a bit stuck in Madrid… like, it’s AMAZING and fun, but it’s also kind of like living in a bubble.

A bubble where you don’t have to worry about your career, savings, house deposits or all those friends at home growing up and settling down.

Now it’s not that I want to ‘settle down’, BUT I would like to start making some real money again (so I can spend it all on more travel), and after considerable research I realised Spain wasn’t the best place to do this.

The Spanish economy is still pretty shot and salaries are known to be pretty uninspiring.


So I decided to leave.

It had to happen sooner or later, and with some important events for family and friend coming up in New Zealand and the offer of a job, I took the leap and came home.

It wasn’t easy.

Leaving Madrid was actually really hard.

I cried my last few days at school. Cried as I said goodbye to all my friends. And cried some more as I walked around my favourite spots in Madrid on my last day, with one of my besties.

Then I came home.

Seeing all my friends and family has been amazing, though I still think of Spain regularly.

While I have no plans to return to Spain to live, I know I’ll definitely go back for a holiday to see old friends at some stage.

“You will never be completely at home



  1. Hi Liz, I felt similarly at the end of my half year trip through Asia. I was conflicted – part of me wanted to keep traveling, but part of me wanted to reconnect with my world back in New York. Like your trip, it was a great ride!

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