I’ve spent most of my life feeling unsettled. Since I moved out of my parents’ house in 1997, I’ve moved home no less than 21 times. It’s actually quite a shock when I count all the different places I’ve lived. Some of them were for just a couple of months, when I was single and had no ties, and others have held me for a few years before I’ve moved on again.
This morning, I finally realised I’m home.
For the last year or so, I’ve been thinking about buying land. Unless I win the lottery (which would require buying a ticket, which I don’t do very often, and a lot of luck), that would mean moving to a different part of Spain where land is cheaper – I’ve found myself in one of the most expensive locations in one of the most expensive parts of Spain – or moving to a different country entirely. On paper, north east Spain, the area around Zaragoza, looks viable. Bulgaria also looks viable, and has the advantage of being a very cheap place to live, so my money will go further, and enable me to do more for animals.
But something has been holding me back.
It started out with the cycling. People come from far and wide, with their bikes strapped to the back of their cars, to ride the roads and the mountain trails in this corner of Spain. Some mountain bikers who holidayed with a local tour company described the mountains overlooking my garden as:
“…the most interesting and varied terrain we’ve found anywhere in Europe.”
Anywhere in Europe? That’s quite something. And these were serious MTBers, who make a point of travelling around to explore the cycling opportunities in different places.
I don’t need the opinions of other keen roadies to know the road cycling is equally good. The valley roads are smooth, fast, and gently undulating. The road that goes from Malaga, via Cartama Estacion and Pizarra, and on to Alora, is mostly flat. Or head out towards Alozaina and tackle the mountain climbs of the Sierra de las Nieves. There’s a ride for every mood.
The cycling around Zaragoza is probably good too, but is it as perfect? And what about Bulgaria? That’s an unknown, apart from the stories I’ve heard of the wealthy people in their flash SUVs, who like to run everyone else off the road. How safe is cycling in Bulgaria, exactly?
And then there’s my doctor. After the experiences I’ve had with the medical profession, it’s hardy surprising that I don’t trust easily. Having a doctor I feel able to trust is a very big deal. So many people seem to be happy with the “take this prescription and go away” attitude of most of the doctors I’ve come across in the UK, but for me, having a doctor who would rather sit and talk to me for half an hour than write a prescription is a very special and precious thing. Even though I pay for my visits rather than going through the Spanish health system (and having a different doctor), he takes the time to share his knowledge and empower me to take care of my own body, so I don’t need to come back. All the doctors I’ve come across before are only interested in maintaining their own control over their patients.
Last night, I realised something else. Zack’s illness, and the very real fear that I would lose him, has led me to accidentally stumble across a vet who I believe may be worthy of my trust. (I’ve only trusted one vet before, so this is also a big deal!) It’s early days yet, but Ana is the first vet I’ve felt comfortable talking to, and the first vet who seems to naturally talk sense, in a very long time.
Let’s take the cycling out of the equation for a moment.
A doctor and a vet I feel I can trust? In the same place, and after so many years?
Is it any wonder I don’t want to leave?
(Photo: Apparently the best mountain biking in Europe. My house is somewhere down there.)