This time around I’m heading to Seville, Spain. My last trip was to Barcelona, Spain and I was able to do some remote telemedicine work from there. The income was sufficient to pay for my overhead and even to set a little aside.
My 2018 Spain trip is coming up beginning of July, just a week away. I’ll be flying out from Northern California to Madrid. From there I’ll take a train to Seville – Sevilla, as I should start calling it.
Housing in Seville, Spain
It took some work and back and forth emails, but I finally was able to lock down an AirBnb for 3 months for $600/month. This is a short-term rental with WiFi and all utilities paid for.
The location of this flat is ideal. I’ll have easy access to public transportation and I can hoof it to the grocery store and my rock climbing gym.
My 3-month rental will end in October and I don’t have any concrete plans after that. A few people will be meeting me all over Europe so maybe I’ll come across other good options for long-term housing.
Visa for Spain
The first time I tripped out to Spain, I took advantage of the tourist visa as a US citizen. This allowed me to stay inside Spain for 90 days. But I would have to leave the Schengen area for another 90 days before being able to return.
This time I will be using my non-lucrative long-term visa which I was able to get approved for because of my passive income and location independent income.
There are a few more things I have to do once I land in Spain to activate the visa. Frankly, I don’t even know all the details – I’ll figure them out once I get there.
With this long-term visa I can stay in Spain for 1 year and easily renew for 2 years at a time. I also have multiple exit/entry options.
Financing the Trip
My major expenses were hiring the lawyer who helped me with my visa. All the application fees and legal fees came out to about $2,500. I shouldn’t have any other major expenses for this long-term non-lucrative visa.
I decided to leave my condo in Portland, Oregon empty. If I rented it, I could probably have around $800/month in my pocket.
Spain Living Expenses
My rent in Seville, Spain will be around $600/month and health insurance should be around $70/month. I’ll have low food expenses since I’ll be preparing my own meals 90% of the time.
I’ll spend money on a gym membership and I’ll probably get monthly public transportation pass. I figure my cell phone bill won’t be more than $30/month.
Remote Telemedicine Income
The income will come from my remote telemedicine work. I plan on doing work for 3 medical groups while overseas. These have allowed me to do remote telemedicine work while outside of the US. I’ll have to put other companies on hold because they don’t allow their physicians to see patients while overseas.
Stateside, I have no major ongoing expenses. No health insurance. No mortgage. No student loan payments. No alimony. No auto payments. No storage space fees. I will have a monthly HOA and annual property taxes. Together these should be around $350/month, most of which I will be deducting on taxes.
Purpose of Living in Spain
I suppose one reason that I am going to go live in Spain for a while is because it intrigues me. I don’t have a significant other, no kids, no pets. Only a plant which I hope my friends will take good care of. This makes the decision to move much simpler.
Living in Spain is cheaper than living in the US. Food, transportation, entertainment, health insurance, and health care are all less expensive.
A distant plan would be to have a second residence in another country – possibly Spain, maybe Portugal. If the US becomes socioeconomically inhabitable, it would be nice to go live somewhere else until the dust settles.
I don’t speak any Spanish. I’ll be learning it but I don’t think this should hold anyone back from making such a move.
Working in Spain
Working in Spain is an option in the future but not something I’m counting on.
My non-lucrative visa does not allow me to be employed in Spain. It does allow me to do my remote telemedicine work and earn money from US customers. If I become a resident in Spain then I will need to pay taxes on that income.
If I find an employer there that I’d be willing to work for, I could have them sponsor me for a work visa. This process isn’t too laborious and might be interesting.
Teladoc recently acquired the largest global telemedicine company. Perhaps there will be an opportunity there in the future. I would only work for an income if it’s something I absolutely enjoy.
I’ve even considered opening my own medical practice in Spain. Or a fruit stand. Or an auto mechanic shop. Yes, I’m all over the place – it’s delightful being able to dream.
I’ve taken 2,000 euros in cash to have on hand. Last time I was in Spain I tried to handle all my spending through cash. I’m not sure if it made me spend less but it’s a fun experiment.
I will be using my world credit card from my bank to handle all transactions. This is mostly for safety reasons should my credit card number get stolen or my account hacked.
The transaction fees are 3% which is well worth the convenience.
Once I’m settled in, I’ll open a bank account locally and I’ll transfer my income from the US over to this bank. That will get rid of the 3% transaction fees.
My remote income streams have been tested and they work out beautifully for me.
When I was in Barcelona, I would do some telemedicine work for about 1-2 hours a day. It wasn’t continuous work since some of the time was spent for patients coming online.
Spain is 9 hours ahead of Oregon time. This means that I can handle all the patients who would hop on online overnight which would decrease my competition from US-based physicians.
For security reasons I’ll be using a VPN router and NordVPN.
One of the main questions I’m asked is how I prevent boredom. I’ve tried answering this in a straightforward manner but have since realized that’s it’s complicated – it’s individual.
Some can pick up a paperback and read it for 6 hours straight. Others couldn’t fathom consuming a book any other way but by audio.
My Daily Routine
In the US my routine is to get up in the morning whenever I can’t be in bed any longer. I make my cup of coffee using freshly ground dark-roast beans. I read a paperback or peruse my favorite blogs.
I tidy up, shower, and head out to a cafe or the library. There I write for 2 hours and come home to prepare lunch. On my way home, I’ll get the groceries for the day.
I rest, listen to a few podcast episodes at home and by around 3pm I head to my rock climbing gym. I spend 2-3 hours there and then head home and make dinner and shower.
I usually do some telemedicine work and write some more. By then it’s 8 or 9 pm and I either listen to some music while doing some stretches or I go back to a late-night cafe for more writing/reading.
I copied this same routine in Spain. If there was boredom, it came in fleeting waves. I have an ongoing list of things I want to do or could do – I just never seem to find time to do them.
So while some people don’t know how to prevent boredom, I sometimes wish I could have a 36-hour day.
Budgeting in Spain
Last time I was in Spain I wasn’t too strict with my budgeting. A few months after I returned to the US – so, for about the past 6 months, I’ve been really good about using my YNAB budgeting software and sticking to my assigned budget.
I can see how a physician household with $500k/year of income may not see the need for budgeting. But, to me, one of the best things about such a high income is the options it affords you – specifically, the option to purchase my freedom.
I budget not because it’s fun. I budget because it has offered me the freedom to have much more autonomy over my life at age 40. It’s allowed me to exit medicine for the most part which has been delightful.