Never Been to Spain
My dream has always been to retire at the beach. I’ve always imagined a nice two-bedroom condo in Rehoboth—beachfront, of course—from which we would take long, leisurely walks and watch the sunrise every morning.
But reality, as it often does, put the kibosh on that real quick. We’ve done OK finance-wise, but there’s no way in hell we can afford a beachfront anything in Rehoboth. Or Delaware. Or the East Coast. And two bedrooms? Not in a blue state. And even if I could get a mortgage, I’d be 95 by the time it was paid off. Something tells me I won’t live that long. Plus, now that I’m not working, my income is less than it used to be. And in three years, that income will be further reduced by the cost of Medicare and the gap coverage we’ll both need.
Yes, we could sell the house in Dover for a pretty penny right now, but my wife is still working for a few more years. Who knows what the housing market will do in the next couple of years? I have a feeling it won’t be pretty.
In fact, I’m fairly worried about 2024 and beyond…as many of us are. Can you spell theocracy? People say it can’t happen. I say, look at history.
So, we’re putting on our contingency glasses. We’re looking at numerous options, like many people we know. There is a place where we can get a two-bedroom condo, beachfront I doubt, but very near an ocean. In fact, it would be the Mediterranean Sea. In Spain. We’re seriously considering it.
There are drawbacks. Like excessive heat and wildfires. Europe is experiencing climate change just like the rest of the world. So, we would make sure we have AC. At least a window unit. I’ve never been to Spain, so we would be doing a reconnaissance mission trip in the next couple of years.
I’d have to brush up on my Spanish. I took it from eighth grade through my sophomore year of college. I can conjugate verbs till the cows come home, but my nouns are rusty to say the least. But if I was able to read Cervantes and write my papers in Spanish in school, I think it would come back to me, despite my more advanced years.
We’re zeroing in on Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, south of Barcelona on the coast. It’s beautiful, affordable, and fairly easy to get a visa and/or residency if we decide to stay. Right now, it’s 91°F (feels like 100) and clear, going down to 73° overnight.
But the biggest drawback would be leaving our friends. They would visit, but it’s not like I can say, hey, let’s go to the boardwalk today! But many of my friends live in different states already. For example, I belong to a writer’s group that we started when I lived in Brooklyn. Only one person remains there. If I can Zoom from Dover, I think I can figure out a way to do if from Spain.
The country is complicated politically, but I don’t think a bunch of gun-totin’ crazies are going to try and storm Madrid. Never say never, I know, but still. Spain’s culture is old and abiding, something that also draws me. It was one of the first European countries to legalize gay marriage. It’s progressive. They have nationalized healthcare. Marijuana is legal. I don’t know, but it seems you’re treated like a grownup—everyone minding their own business. How refreshing that would be. And don’t forget siesta. It’s still very much alive in Spain.
There’s also a large ex-pat community there. It’s diverse. It’s enchanting. So we’re thinking long and hard, and I’m spending time doing research. But one thing stands out already—our retirement dollars would stretch further there.
However, we’re not putting all our huevos in the Spain basket. We haven’t ruled out Panama, either, or even Canada. So, there are many options we’re considering.
But something keeps drawing me to Spain. Time will tell. A lot could change. Truth be told, I’d rather not have to move at all. But we’ve got to sell the house eventually anyway and will need to move. So what if it’s 3,888 miles away? We’re not too old for an adventure. I’d be fulfilling my retirement dream. And my wife is totally on board. Here’s to watching the sunrise on a beautiful beach, whether it’s Rehoboth or Spain. ▼
Beth Shockley is a retired senior writer/editor. She lives in Dover with her wife and five furbabies.