Leaving Holland, a new life in Spain.

Sandra’s story

For years I dreamed of emigrating. In 2018 I left the Netherlands behind to realize my dream. I went to southern Spain with my husband and we started a B&B there. In our B&B Casa del Patio we now take care of our guests daily and enjoy the good Spanish life. I would like to share my story with you about the way tot his lifechanging decision.

“If there was a story somewhere about someone who had moved abroad, I would read it. There has always been something in me that wanted to leave the Netherlands. But there were so many things in the Netherlands, such as the people I loved, that kept me from looking for the foreign adventure. But that changed when I got older. It started with the death of my father. He was only 67 years old. Always worked hard and  could only enjoy his retirement for 2 years.

I didn’t think a partner was important and lived my life well by myself. A relationship had therefore always remained in the background. When my father died, I realized that life is too short to stay alone. Would the love of my life roam somewhere on this globe? I signed up on a dating site and there I found my husband Eduard. After 9 months we already lived together. We both loved traveling and we both had a passion for Spain. We travelled a lot to Spain and had a great time.

In addition to that shared passion, I tried to figure out my life in Arnhem, where I now lived together with Eduard. I went looking for a yoga school and found one within walking distance. That’s how I came into contact with Bikram Yoga and soon I bought a ten “rides card” and then many more cards followed. I noticed that yoga 2-3 times a week helped me to get rid of the stress of my demanding job with a lot of travel time. I felt fitter and more relaxed.

In 2015 my mother suddenly died too. She was only 69 years old. Then I had to clean up our parental home with my sister and say goodbye to our home base. A tough period. The moment everything was cleaned up and the house was for sale, I got a kickback due to an injury to my si joint. Although I was not able to perform all the exercises, even then yoga helped on the road to recovery. Physically but also spiritually. After these events it took a while before I could make plans for the future again. Life just continued. I had a nice job, but my heart wasn’t there. I once ran a coffee bar with my sister. Would I want to go back to the hospitality industry? After a while, the foreign adventure also started to itch. If my life is suddenly over, am I happy with this life? Did I get everything I wanted out of it? The answer was no. “

Together with my husband we regularly fantasized about our future in Spain. In the areas outside the big cities it feels so pleasant there because of the peace, the sun and the fresh air. Life is less rushed and in our opinion the Spaniards know very well what is really important in life. Not a nice car or a big house, but spending time with the people you love. During vacations, we always looked at a house agent’s windowdisplay to see the house prices in the region. In the summer of 2016 we went to Andalusia, the south of Spain. Eduard wanted to show me this region.  I was very impressed with nature, tranquility and all the beautiful historic cities. I understood Eduard. But going to live there right away was too fast. In the spring of 2017 the time was apparently ripe. “

“We went to look at the B&B, only that was nothing. A month later we had an appointment with a real estate agent in the Lecin Valley in Andalusia. The dream was getting real! ” How are we going to do it? Are we going to set up or take over a B&B? Are you going to live in the same house or do you want a house separately? We would both see our family and friends much less and therefore – certainly in the beginning – must depend on each other. Through my hospitality experience I know that you surrender a piece of privacy when a B&B or something similar starts. You take care of your guests daily. You must be well aware of that. A B&B is not something you just add to it, you spend a lot of time in it. “

I absolutely did not want a scenario you see in tv  shows where people go for an adventure abroad with no preparation or money.” We both had the desire to have our own house and a private space where we could  relax. I really wanted to find a nice place in Andalusia. We succeeded, so cool! Between July 2017 and January 2018, all our time has been absorbed in all matters that arise when setting up a B&B in Spain. Consider, for example, the purchase contract, the mortgage, the permit, promotional material and of course lessons to learn to speak the language. Since our start here in Spain we have welcomed many guests and I like it very much. I will never go back! “This is truly a dream come true!

“It’s nice to see your guests feel better when they go home than when they arrived. More relaxed and less stressed. With beautiful memories of the area, a visit to Granada and the delicious food. And not to forget with sun vitamins! “

After we started the B & B in April 2018 and everything was up and running it was time to fulfill my great desire to become a yoga teacher. In January 2019 I followed a training for Vinyasa yoga teacher at Suryalila near Villamartin here in Andalusia.

For me, yoga means a lot to relaxation. I think it is special that by doing exercises you create space in your body but also in your mind! Now that I enjoyed the peace and the sun here in Spain, I wanted to share this with others. I wish everyone this experience! As a yoga teacher I want to give the message  that you do yoga for yourself. It is not about how agile you are but about the intention with which you perform the asanas. That provides that special experience after a yoga class!

Our B&B is perfect for hiking in the mountains or visiting the southern Spanish coast. Now you can combine this with yoga classes on our roof terrace with views of the mountains. We offer a long yoga weekend a number of times where everything revolves around yoga, relaxation and good food. But you can also opt for a yoga package that can start every day and where you have a yoga class in the morning, but the rest of the day is free to fill in yourself. Our guests can also reserve a separate yoga class during their stay with us.

All information about the lessons, the arrangement and the yoga week can be found on our sites casa-del-patio.com and yogi-san.com. Here you can also ask your questions or book your vacation.

Do you also consider emigrating?

  • Speaking the language of the country is one of the most important things. At least make sure that you have mastered the basics of the language.
  • Make a trade-off between things that you want and can do yourself and what you let somebody do for you. For example, consider transferring your license plate number when you take your car from your home country. It is a fairly complicated and time-consuming process. You can also spend that time to something else.
  • Do not just think of the beautiful summer months but also the months when the weather is less beautiful and it may be very quiet in the area. Do you also feel at home in those months in your new environment?
  • How much do you feel (in our case) a Spaniard? Can you let go of your Dutch habits and habits and embrace the Spanish?

Sandra Geerlings aka Yogi-San