Moving Abroad – Alan Cuthbertson

Moving abroad?

How many of us have sat on the beach or next to the pool, sipping a cold beer and counting down the days to the end of the holiday. Our minds drift back to what awaits us in the UK. Those cold winter nights, the endless rain and the queues of traffic on York Road as we drive to work. We lower our sunglasses, look around and take in the blue sky, golden, sandy beaches and wonder what it would be like to actually live in a place like this.

According to the BBC over 700,000 Brits have moved from the UK and now live in Spain, and there is nothing stopping you joining them. Though that might change after the referendum, but we’ll go into that at a later date.

East Leeds Magazine have asked me to contribute a regular article that looks at what such a move would involve. The first snippet of wisdom I would like to pass on is “Don’t do what I did!” When looking for a new house anywhere the advice everybody gives is, location, location, location. Moving abroad is a little different. My advice would be research, research, research. After watching an episode of ‘A Place in The Sun’. I announced to my family that we were going to sell everything we owned, ship the kids off travelling for a year (that’s not as bad as it sounds, they were 20 years old) and buy a one-way ferry ticket to the continent. We had no idea where we were heading.

There is a lot more to think about than you would imagine. Which area, work, schools, tax, travel, living costs, the list is endless. A lot of the information will be useful not only to those considering ‘The big move’ but also for those who just intend visiting Spain for a holiday. For example, did you know that there is a fantastic ski resort in southern Spain? That it is illegal to drive in flip-flops? I promise I won’t be bombarding you with facts and figures, you could get them off the internet. No, what I will be doing is giving you advice from someone who has been there, done it and got the T-shirt. Including all the things we did wrong. I will also add some of the amusing anecdotes. Like when one of the locals took us to see some piglets and we ended up being chased by an irate, wild boar. Or the time we ventured up the Sierra Nevada for a family ski day. Could anything go more wrong???


If anybody has any questions or topics they would like me to cover then please email me at I would love to hear from you.


Alan Cuthbertson is the author of Fiestas and Siestas Miles Apart, and Clover House. He has lived in Spain for over ten years. For more information please visit

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