Spain Preparation – The Green Light

Only in Granada.  Photos taken on April 6, 2014.  Both scenes about 30 miles apart  Source
Only in Granada. Photos taken on April 6, 2014. Both scenes about 30 miles apart. Source

I thought it’s as good a time as any for the 6th update in this series as our family plans for our move to Granada, Spain.

If you’d like more background, you can see the evolution of our decision in these previous posts:

Part 1 – The Motivation

Part 2 – The Considerations

Part 3 – The Decision

Part 4 – The Commitment

Part 5 – The Application

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ABCs of Travel with Kemkem from Next Bite of Life

Today is the 2nd edition of our guest post series called ABCs of Travel.  This is a listing of 26 prompts (one for each letter of the alphabet) that lets you tell a little bit about your travels: best, worst, and memorable.  Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of ABCs of Travel.

I have to admit that my taste in blogs is slowly shifting.  While I’ll always keep a pulse on personal finance blogs, I’m finding myself less drawn to sites that offer up a lot of impersonal advice to those that tell the stories of folks who have worked (and saved) hard to gain some sort of financial freedom.  I like to see what other people are doing with their free time.

This is where Kemkem from the Next Bite of Life comes in.  Her site is great fun if you want a glimpse into someone who has gained early retirement by doing more things right than wrong and has a healthy perspective on life.  Originally from Africa, Kemkem now lives in Malta (via the U.S.) where she, her Italian husband, and two rescue beagles now reside.  Have a look over at her blog as every weekend it seems they can be found gallivanting around Europe.

The following is a post from Kemkem who writes about some of her travels that span from her teens to just a couple of weeks ago.

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I think we’ll keep at it for a bit longer

One year

When I started this blog, I put a reminder on my calendar one year out.  I wanted to commit to trying this for 12 months.  I had forgotten about it until it prompted me this morning that tomorrow, April 10 is its one-year anniversary from my first post.

If I can trust the analytic tool built into this thing, it says I get more views in a day or two now than I did an entire month early on.  I feel some of my better stuff came during those earlier months so I thought I’d take this opportunity to call out a few.

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Artistic brainstorm needed

Granada Graffiti

All right readers, I need some inspiration!

As many of you know, come June 30 our family is embarking on what we hope to be a prolonged adventure.

The last time we went on a long trip was about 10 years ago B.K. (before kids).  My wife and I took unpaid leaves from our jobs, bought a pair of ‘around the world’ plane tickets and did some cool things.

During this 100-day excursion, we each kept daily journals.  I recently came upon them in an unlabeled box in the basement.  I’ve spent the last few nights thumbing through them and am so glad we had taken the time to jot down a few pages about what we did each day.  There were definitely days it felt like work to keep them up.

What was most remarkable though, was the flood of memories that surfaced as I read through the pages of mundane daily activities of what we saw, who we met, moods, trials encountered, and the like.  There are experiences I had definitely forgotten, but recalling the littlest detail seemed to be able to bring me back those places in a blink of an eye.

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Skills worth paying for

Lovin the swimminAs a parent of almost 9-year-old twins, I’ve been thinking a bit about what activities we’ve paid for that have been worth their cost.  I’ve been playing a little game where I ask myself if I had to do it over how much would I be willing to pay to have our children obtain a particular skill.

My filter for such a list is as follows:

  • Will this skill be useful throughout their life?
  • Will this skill be more difficult (and potentially more costly) to obtain at a later age?
  • Is this skill best taught by someone else?

Best Buys

Below is a list of my top 3 best buys.  Our involvement in these as parents has been pretty minimal other than opening our wallets and schlepping them to the activity.  I’m also coming at this from a perspective of dual-working parents.  As a soon-to-be stay at home dad, I’d consider taking these on myself in lieu of the expense.**

** Where it makes sense.  Does any one else have kids that listen and trust complete strangers more than you when it comes to learning something new?

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My ABCs of Travel


The best part of blogging is meeting and getting to hear from all of you.  I always have my ear to the tracks for suggestions about the best of what’s out there and I want to hear your stories.

You may have noticed a new page at the top entitled ABCs of Travel.  I’m looking to hear about your best and worst travel destinations and experiences.  I thought I’d get the ball rolling by answering the questions myself.

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How to Apply for Non Lucrative Visa for Spain as US Citizen

Consulado General de EspanaLast Monday our family spent the morning in Chicago applying for non-lucrative visas that will hopefully permit us one year of residency in Spain.  This type of visa is also sometimes referred to as a non-profit visa and will not allow us to work while there.

Our experience was a bit different from others who had documented their process.  I think the requirements have changed over the years and I wanted to make note of what they look like at this point in time.

Most U.S. citizens are able to travel to Spain visa-free for periods up to 3 months.  We wish to remain longer than that.  This is the first step to enrolling our kids into public schooling for the 2014-2015 academic year in Spain.

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