Extended Stay: why a month in Spain is the way to travel

Travel is about experiences and enjoying the moments, unfamiliar places and situations that might make you feel just a bit uncomfortable. When we’re uncomfortable we tend to be more observant and if you’ve ever had a cultural moment abroad where you felt out of place, it’s likely it’s etched on your brain.

Too often we whiz by those travel moments in life, on our way to the next site, stop, or photo op. How can we make time to stop, relax and observe — and learn something?

Don’t just visit: LIVE

It’s with this question in mind that I’ve taken time off my day job and booked a trip to Malaga, Spain. My husband and I have plane tickets and arrival dates and a set departure but a couple things make this a unique trip; we’re going to one place for 30 days, and renting an apartment in a local neighbourhood, not a tourist zone.

We are making no plans for having a touristy must-see schedule and filling our days with endless stops. Our goal is to live like locals by working during the day and doing the stuff locals would do in our off-hours.

Long stay benefits

We’re expecting there to be major benefits to this endeavour. Though I’m already fluent in Spanish, I’m rusty. I want to get back to the easy grace of the language I first immersed myself in while on a high school exchange program in Albacete, Spain in the 1980’s. My husband has learned Spanish too thorough short trips to tropical islands, but this will be his first real opportunity to practice it.

I want to learn to cook more Spanish foods, authentically. I’d like to learn more about how the culture of Spain has changed since I first lived here, and see how the people have adapted and changed — or not.

I’m also keen to explore a region of Spain that is totally unfamiliar. We chose Malaga largely at random, but there is informed choice to our selection.

Winter warmth on the Mediterranean

We want a place by the Mediterranean so we can experience a seaside community which would be vastly different from our Canadian prairie existence. A spot with relatively warm weather is also a must. Our hometown of Calgary, Alberta has been sitting at about -25 C for the last few weeks so we want to get warm. Even though Malaga’s average temperature in February is only about 15 C, it’s still better than the bitter prairie winter.

We want a place in a province and a region that I’ve not had the opportunity to explore in depth — Andalucia. We also want a large city with cultural offerings like museums, shops, ancient sites, and world class restaurants (Malaga has an astonishing 7 Michelin Star restaurants). Malaga checks all these boxes but we don’t really know what to expect once we get there.

And that’s part of the fun.

We’ll be writing about this adventure over the next few months. Follow our journey here on the blog as we check out long stay living.  And please, ask any questions you have as we experience this amazing opportunity.