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Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Old May 17th 2012, 5:51 pm
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Default Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Hi and thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

I am a 43 year old male looking for new horizons. Single, no kids, no mortgage. I would love to hear from anyone who can offer advice about relocating from the UK (Northern Ireland).

I’m well travelled having lived/worked in Canada, USA, France, Czech Republic and Sweden. For the past 10 years I’ve been back home in NI, but I really miss the sunshine! Also, it’s become so expensive and the way the economy is going I’m not sure I can handle the gloom much longer. I realise that it’s tough everywhere, but I work hard and need to enjoy my off-time somewhere that still has 4 seasons instead of a continuous mid-winter!

Work-wise, I freelance as a Web Designer/Graphic Designer and also write for a couple of music magazines. Evenings and weekends I teach guitar. I don’t need to rely on the local job market as I’m self employed. Therefore I would be looking to relocate somewhere that has a decent population (say 100,000 within a 50 km radius) and would give me the market that I need.

Outside of work I enjoy dining out with a sociable drink, cinema, fly-fishing, live music, swimming, amateur golf, long walks and meeting people.

Can anyone recommend a location that might suit me? Have you moved somewhere special? Are the locals pleasant? Is the cost of living affordable?

I’ve been looking at the Algarve in Portugal, Lake Garda in Italy and Southern Spain. Generally I’d prefer staying within the EU and would love to have some form of UK/Ireland expat community around me (though not essential).

Any advice, no matter how insignificant, would be greatly appreciated. Looking at next few months to make the big move.

Thanks.
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Old May 20th 2012, 7:19 am
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

methinks you have already started homing in on certain areas/countries.

this is a personal thing, just because there are the people around doesnt mean you will "fit". you know for your music you need to be with like minded people, same music genre, similar sounds that you can bounce off each other, expanding your own boundaries

Southern Spain sounds nice - its overcast and raining at this very moment, but like anywhere you will find it difficult to just move as a wandering minstrel. Everywhere has costs, and you will need a good 6m living money behind you to get started.

Considered somewhere you have not tried, i.e. Italy ? May work, may not - but the same may apply anywhere.
At the end of the day it is where YOU feel happy not where I or others have found our happiness.

best of luck
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Old May 20th 2012, 10:47 am
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Hi Domino. Thanks for that. You're right, it was a very personal plea. I know I should really be asking more practical questions. I suppose like anyone else thinking about getting away from the UK I don't want to up-sticks, spend the life-savings, only to regret the move six months later.

Truth is I would be comfortable anywhere, as long as the work was coming in.

What about you? Was it a risk when you relocated? What was the toughest part of it all?
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Old May 20th 2012, 12:42 pm
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

The toughest part of it all is getting to grips with (often) a complete new culture. People are often in a comfort zone in the UK as they know "the score", but the moment you move to another country you are the immigrant and (normally) in the minority.

The rest is down to planning. It was no risk to me really, other than the property. I didnt have to earn a living though, whereas its different for you
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Old May 20th 2012, 1:40 pm
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

You're right Mitzyboy. It's often a challenge getting to grips with a new culture. It can also be exciting and refreshing, something which I would look forward to.

What has been the trend in recent times for relocators to Spain? Has there been many success stories that you can comment on?
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Old May 20th 2012, 4:49 pm
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Originally Posted by EFC69 View Post
You're right Mitzyboy. It's often a challenge getting to grips with a new culture. It can also be exciting and refreshing, something which I would look forward to.

What has been the trend in recent times for relocators to Spain? Has there been many success stories that you can comment on?
Personally, well I know there are a lot of Brits still here and happy, although I know quite a few have gone back as well for one reason or another.

You dont need me to tell you that Europe is not a happy place at the moment. Here is no exception. One of the local Spanish builder guys works in a restaurant now . When the construction slowed down all the people in it had to find work somewhere.

Honest answer? If I needed to work to keep myself then I wouldnt consider coming to Spain right now unless I had a very special talent or business to use

Last edited by Mitzyboy; May 21st 2012 at 9:23 am. Reason: mixed my words up
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Old May 21st 2012, 8:45 am
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Have to agree with Mitzy, now entering retirement I am in a position where I drop my anchor where I want. Funnily enough one or two potential business opportunities have suddenly appeared that I can look at - but do I want the hassle.?

I managed to send the BH out here to work a couple of years ago and she has seen several Brits return home with their tails between their legs. One, a carpenter blossomed out into building work but it all went pear shaped when the bubble burst. He tried to carry on with installing satellites, but seemed to get all his business from 100k away so losing on fuel costs alone, letalone not being very good at it. Wife had to work to help pay the €800/m mortgage but that didnt work because of a small pre-school child.
Their house is now locked and empty.

A Spanish acquantance is a fully qualified architect, he is studying English in the week and pumping petrol at the weekend, desperate to get out of the country.

Anyone leaving their comfort zone needs a buffer, a space age silver blanket, and remember that Spain can be V E R Y COLD during the winter months.

But you have to do what you have to do, it is your life, your experience, your future on which you can build and grow. No matter how much we try to put you off we may have the opposite effect.

All I can say is good luck and keep in touch
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Old May 21st 2012, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Originally Posted by EFC69 View Post
Hi and thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

I am a 43 year old male looking for new horizons. Single, no kids, no mortgage. I would love to hear from anyone who can offer advice about relocating from the UK (Northern Ireland).

I’m well travelled having lived/worked in Canada, USA, France, Czech Republic and Sweden. For the past 10 years I’ve been back home in NI, but I really miss the sunshine! Also, it’s become so expensive and the way the economy is going I’m not sure I can handle the gloom much longer. I realise that it’s tough everywhere, but I work hard and need to enjoy my off-time somewhere that still has 4 seasons instead of a continuous mid-winter!

Work-wise, I freelance as a Web Designer/Graphic Designer and also write for a couple of music magazines. Evenings and weekends I teach guitar. I don’t need to rely on the local job market as I’m self employed. Therefore I would be looking to relocate somewhere that has a decent population (say 100,000 within a 50 km radius) and would give me the market that I need.

Outside of work I enjoy dining out with a sociable drink, cinema, fly-fishing, live music, swimming, amateur golf, long walks and meeting people.

Can anyone recommend a location that might suit me? Have you moved somewhere special? Are the locals pleasant? Is the cost of living affordable?

I’ve been looking at the Algarve in Portugal, Lake Garda in Italy and Southern Spain. Generally I’d prefer staying within the EU and would love to have some form of UK/Ireland expat community around me (though not essential).

Any advice, no matter how insignificant, would be greatly appreciated. Looking at next few months to make the big move.

Thanks.
May be worth contacting someone who works in a European country as a designer. For instance this guy, Nathan Powell works as a web designer in Madrid - website here http://handmadestudio.info/ Contact him nicely and I'm sure he'll tell you about the benefits and drawbacks of working in a sunnier climate.
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Old May 21st 2012, 10:27 pm
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Originally Posted by Mitzyboy View Post
Personally, well I know there are a lot of Brits still here and happy, although I know quite a few have gone back as well for one reason or another.

You dont need me to tell you that Europe is not a happy place at the moment. Here is no exception. One of the local Spanish builder guys works in a restaurant now . When the construction slowed down all the people in it had to find work somewhere.

Honest answer? If I needed to work to keep myself then I wouldnt consider coming to Spain right now unless I had a very special talent or business to use
Thanks Mitzyboy. Kinda what I expected really. Same thing everywhere. Web Design & Social Networking for Businesses is one of the few industries that's in demand globally, so I'm hoping there's a place for me somewhere. Cheers.
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Old May 21st 2012, 11:01 pm
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Originally Posted by Domino View Post
Have to agree with Mitzy, now entering retirement I am in a position where I drop my anchor where I want. Funnily enough one or two potential business opportunities have suddenly appeared that I can look at - but do I want the hassle.?

I managed to send the BH out here to work a couple of years ago and she has seen several Brits return home with their tails between their legs. One, a carpenter blossomed out into building work but it all went pear shaped when the bubble burst. He tried to carry on with installing satellites, but seemed to get all his business from 100k away so losing on fuel costs alone, letalone not being very good at it. Wife had to work to help pay the €800/m mortgage but that didnt work because of a small pre-school child.
Their house is now locked and empty.

A Spanish acquantance is a fully qualified architect, he is studying English in the week and pumping petrol at the weekend, desperate to get out of the country.

Anyone leaving their comfort zone needs a buffer, a space age silver blanket, and remember that Spain can be V E R Y COLD during the winter months.

But you have to do what you have to do, it is your life, your experience, your future on which you can build and grow. No matter how much we try to put you off we may have the opposite effect.

All I can say is good luck and keep in touch
Hi Domino. You could be right about having the opposite effect. I love a good challenge!

Such a pity about those guys. I have clients over here (a few of which are qualified architects too) who were building mansions just a few years ago, now they're moving into council houses. Hard times all round.

However, it's great to get all this feedback. I think a lot of people look at it as following a dream (a very dangerous human emotion that once got me married). Unfortunately, reality bites pretty hard and, unless you can afford the sticking plasters, things can get very tough indeed. Having a buffer, as you say, is essential.

I'll keep working on it Domino.

Ps. If you ever need a hard-working & forward-thinking web-designer and online-marketeer as one of your investments...let me know. I'm sure I know someone
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Old May 21st 2012, 11:08 pm
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Originally Posted by steviedeluxe View Post
May be worth contacting someone who works in a European country as a designer. For instance this guy, Nathan Powell works as a web designer in Madrid - website here http://handmadestudio.info/ Contact him nicely and I'm sure he'll tell you about the benefits and drawbacks of working in a sunnier climate.
Cheers Steviedeluxe. That's decent of you. I'll send Nathan a polite note to see if he can advise in any way.
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Old May 22nd 2012, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Originally Posted by EFC69 View Post
Thanks Mitzyboy. Kinda what I expected really. Same thing everywhere. Web Design & Social Networking for Businesses is one of the few industries that's in demand globally, so I'm hoping there's a place for me somewhere. Cheers.
I would suggest there are alot of people around who are doing that, some are successful others are a legend in their own coffee cup.
I have seen that those in that arena in the more affluent Barcelona and Madrid are really struggling, even with excellent Spanish language. Some have gone home, to Sweden, Germany, Holland as well as the UK.

I have been around for a few depression periods, and each time there has been a major alteration in the workplace for those who have jobs.
Even in the "much needed" IT markets there are serious difficulties.
But each time this happens companies stop spending money on the one thing they cannot prove does any good - advertising!! So agencies suffer, newspapers suffer, journals suffer, designers suffer.
I say it is wrong, its no use advertising when you are stuffed with work, you need to advertise when you need work, let more people know about you, advertise in different arenas to pull in work from new clients and markets.
But it doesnt happen.

Good luck to you in what you do, where you go, you may well need it - no matter how positive you are, there are many out there who can afford to undercut you, have a track record locally, or are just plain desperate and will work for anything.

rgds
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Old May 22nd 2012, 10:39 pm
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Originally Posted by Domino View Post
I would suggest there are alot of people around who are doing that, some are successful others are a legend in their own coffee cup.
I have seen that those in that arena in the more affluent Barcelona and Madrid are really struggling, even with excellent Spanish language. Some have gone home, to Sweden, Germany, Holland as well as the UK.

I have been around for a few depression periods, and each time there has been a major alteration in the workplace for those who have jobs.
Even in the "much needed" IT markets there are serious difficulties.
But each time this happens companies stop spending money on the one thing they cannot prove does any good - advertising!! So agencies suffer, newspapers suffer, journals suffer, designers suffer.
I say it is wrong, its no use advertising when you are stuffed with work, you need to advertise when you need work, let more people know about you, advertise in different arenas to pull in work from new clients and markets.
But it doesnt happen.

Good luck to you in what you do, where you go, you may well need it - no matter how positive you are, there are many out there who can afford to undercut you, have a track record locally, or are just plain desperate and will work for anything.

rgds
I wonder if things on the continent are a few steps behind us here in the UK? Just as the creative sector in North America suffered heavily 2007-2009 then picked up again, in the UK the creative sector hit a serious low 2008-2010. Both markets picked up when SMEs realised that if they didn't promote their businesses then their competition would.

In 2008 I personally seen a drop in demand of up to about 60%. In 2010 there was a dramatic rise in demand and has been steady here ever since. SMEs realise that the economic filter is getting a good shake with the weakest falling through the holes. In short, the panic is on.

Take a small town for example. In 2007 there might have been 5 pizzarias, all doing quite well and spending on advertising. By 2009 the credit crunch had hit hard and maybe 2 had closed up. Since then the 3 remaining pizzarias have been battling it out, knowing quite well that there's just enough room for 2 in the town. So they start spending on advertising again to stay one step ahead of their competitors.

It's been like that here for the past 18 months or so. For advertisers, web designers and printers there's been a good market. The SMEs are careful about what they spend...but they do spend.

I assumed there was just as healthy a market on the continent? Looks like I was wrong. Maybe the resurgence has yet to happen out there? I'll keep my eye on things. Now I'm off to the pizzaria.
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Old May 23rd 2012, 8:20 am
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

well even the Spanish will tell you their country is 30 years behind the times due to the "calming influence" of Franco.
but they are making up for it, and rapidly. But that is the youngsters with a more cosmopolitan attitude whilst the oldsters are generally stuck in the mud.
The youngsters embrace the new technologies, you see them in the cities with their mp3's, pda's and all sorts of other TLA's, searching out wifi hot-points. The prices for such products 3 years ago were reminiscent of the differences between UK/US of a few years ago. Now they are coming down, forced down due to competition, but also due to cross border importing and the grey market. But so few of them have the money as they don't have jobs. Another reason for Spains problems - borrowed money growing, not being paid off.

The web is still forcing things through, the use of Apps is still growing (I keep thinking I must develop an app for something, selling 100,000 for £10 each would do nicely).

My UK local paper, part of Johnson Press, is going to a more online product rather than ink on paper. So are many others. Those who have been leading in this for the past couple of years have been seeing hard times - lets be honest, there is nothing better than holding and reading, rereading, filing, going back to a book, letalone the glory of a really old book. (I have a couple that are 200yrs old).

But it seems that the web and tecky arena is full of failed builders, carpenters, chefs etc etc desperate to keep the dream alive and not go back to the UK/F/G/etc with their tail tween legs. They use "borrowed" copies of software and churn out rubbish. The web is the poorer for this.

You have to have a good product, good skills that can be placed at a higher than basic level, more than one customer, most importantly maintain a relationship with customers. Too many sites out there are out of date, blogs not added to since 2009, prices from 2010, out of date special offers.
So perhaps there is work out there for you - but the hardest part is convincing the customer that they need to have an update and find the money you will want (reminds me of the tenant who said to me she had a choice - buy nappies or pay the rent. Even the judge smiled when granting the eviction order)

.
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Old May 23rd 2012, 9:53 am
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Default Re: Which Location Should I Consider? Advice Needed!

Originally Posted by Domino View Post
well even the Spanish will tell you their country is 30 years behind the times due to the "calming influence" of Franco.
but they are making up for it, and rapidly.
.
Spot on, and to some extent it's a great shame because it will eventually become what many left the UK to escape from ...... but warmer
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