Having spent the better part of 10 years in Spain, completing my secondary education and working a variety of jobs, my girlfriend and I decided it was best to explore new opportunities in the United Kingdom. Obviously, Wilson is coming along too!
I’m constantly asked “why move to the UK? Isn’t Spain paradise?”. The truth is, the country is fantastic as an older person with an established career or as a retiree or pensioner. It has a record high youth unemployment rate and not much of a career path in my line of work: graphic design and web development. Naturally I’ll miss driving during the 330 days of sun and on roads free of potholes and imperfections.
We’ve been planning the move for around half a year with a stroke of luck allowing us to finally bite the bullet; my girlfriend’s uncle is allowing us to rent a room in his cottage for a few months to help us get started.
It all happened very quickly. We packed everything up in November and moved out of our rented apartment while living separate at our parents’ houses. We initially wanted to drive Wilson up with a trailer but among the fuel costs, hassle of getting a trailer hitch installed and registered and the logistics of it all, we decided on having the car and our belongings transported over. The car transport service arrived towards the end of January, a few days before our flight, and trailered Wilson up and took all of our boxes in a van. Angel, our little Podenco, was unfortunately not allowed to fly with us due to UK rabies law requiring a 30-day quarantine. Instead, she stayed behind with my parents and was picked up a week after we left to be transported by a company specialized in bringing pets over into the UK.
To my surprise the car and our things arrived before we did and was carefully parked on the cottage’s unfinished driveway. Angel arrived a week later, happy as ever to see us.
We decided to drive into town on our second day and check out East Grinstead. Being 20°C colder than it was in Spain, the car struggled firing up even with the choke completely out. I’ll have to revisit the fueling to make sure it can handle the colder and wetter weather. I became accustomed to driving on the “wrong” side of the road almost instantly, only forgetting in unmarked parking lots.
As the car is still in my father’s name and we aren’t 100% decided on remaining in the UK, we’re allowed to keep the car in the country for a maximum of 180 days. Until we change our intention (or rather, once one of us has found work or we become residents), I have 14 days to notify HMRC and begin the import process. The car is also insured by our European travel policy allowing us to remain covered in the UK for the full 180 days as well.
The next step is figuring out what we’re going to be doing and getting the car accustomed to it’s new home in the UK!
As always, thanks for reading!