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.
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.