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Fred and Arpi Shively (23/02/10)

Expat Experiences: Spain - Fred and Arpi Shively (23/02/10)

Who are you?

Fred Shively

Fred Shively - freelance creative director, writer, photographer. Arpi Shively - professional writer.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

2003 from the USA to the Alpujarras in Andalucia because we wanted to get back to Europe.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Being an American citizen made it slightly more difficult until we found out that, because I was married to a British national, I could come in as 'familial'. Otherwise the usual stuff: language, bringing a car into Spain (particularly difficult and expensive from the USA), the culture shock (compounded by moving to a small Andalucian pueblo).

Can you tell us something about your property?

We rent, always will as it obviates a whole load of problems. We have neither the need nor compulsion to own. Also, we're about to take over the management of a totally delightful Finca and casitas which we could never have done had we been tied to a property.

What is the property market like at the moment?

As far as we can make out: dire. Although probably a good time for buyers.

Are you employed or self-employed? What challenges did you face in either finding employment or running your own business?

Both my wife and I are freelance. We used to do a lot of articles together for various Spain-centric magazines - most of which have ceased to exist. Aside from photography, I occasionally act as a creative consultant for events, seminars, etc. mostly outside Spain. From May, I'll be offering photo-treks in Andalucia. My wife is a Lonely Planet author having written the Andalucia section of the latest Spain guide. But her main stock-in-trade is marketing/branding strategy and copywriting for clients mainly abroad. Further details about Arpi can be found at her website here.

Are there many other expats in your area?

Quite a few although, relative to coastal areas, not a huge number (we live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada).

What is your relationship like with the locals?


Fred Shively

What do you like about life where you are?

Clean air, stunning surroundings, the people (both indigenous and expat), the location (between Granada and the coast and within easy reach of both), pace of life.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Very little to the point of insignificance.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Visit first, rent second, buy last (if at all), have enough income/savings to at least live modestly, try to learn the language (a little goes a long way), do not try to impose your culture.

What are your plans for the future?

Whatever fate has in store - it's been an interesting trip so far!

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.