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So we've decided to SEE THE WORLD...now what?

So, to be completely honest, the conversation of traveling long-term to Europe first came up a year earlier, when we were going through some super stressful life transitions and really just wanted a change. But when we first talked about it, it was a pipe dream, a happy joke.

After my heart attack, it was hell's bells, balls-to-the-wall, no going back. I suggested going to Europe and my husband (as scary as it sounded) was 100% on board. Wow...so before he had the chance to chicken out, we had to pick a main location. ASAP.

Why a main location, if we really wanted to see the world?!?

Well, we're dragging 5 kids around with us, from baby to teen. The odds were already against us because we were significantly outnumbered. So, to make the trip easier, we decided we needed to have a "home base" where we could return back to on a consistent basis, and every 6-8 weeks we would take a long 1-2 week trip in another direction: Rome/Greece, France/Germany, Amsterdam/Hungary, etc. With the speed trains on our side, this seems like the smartest plan so that we could see the many wonders of the world while still providing our kids with a sense of stability and HOME.

We eliminated places first using my own personal rubric (in no particular order):

1. I hate the cold...I can tolerate a visit but I've no desire to live in the snow....my childhood in Colorado was more than sufficient on that front.
2. I love the beach. This one is self-explanatory...I mean, come on, if you could life any lifestyle in the world, daily beach side mojitos should be at the top of the list.
3. It needs to be somewhat affordable, because I have yet to perfect my money-tree seed invention.
4. It needs to be safe for the kids, with plenty for them to do in their daily lives while we're local.
5. It needs to have access (preferably via the Hogwarts Express) to the rest of Europe. Totally stocking up on pumpkin juice for the many train rides. ;)
6. It has to have SOME sort of historical interest- 'cuz we're history-loving nerds, yo.

So, now we know what we want to look for, we started in the most logical place to narrow down dream locations...you tube travel channels. 😂😂😂 Without getting too specific, we found a few places on youtube that looked absolutely amazing, and compiled a list of our top choices.

Next stop: popular expat websites, especially ones that narrow down the top places to live.

Some of the prime places we procrastinated working web-surfed were:
Best Countries for American Expats by Thrillist
45 second Perfect Place to Live Abroad Quiz
BBC's Best Places for Expats with Kids
and we probably spent the most time here:
Nomad List (with handy dandy filters)

In the end, it was Spain that called to us the strongest, and we decided on a coastal city in Spain. Your dream city might be somewhere else and that's cool, cuz you aren't us and your priorities will be different. <3 But in general, this is how we narrowed it down.

Spain, here we come!! Oh, wait...gotta do the whole visa thing first. Buzzkill.