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Interview With Steve Hall, Founder, This Is Spain

Steve, you run the website ThisIsSpain.info, which provides information and guidance for people moving abroad. Tell us a bit about the site and its aims.

Hi, it was set up back in 2002 when tens of thousands of Brits, Irish and Scandinavians were buying properties in expatshire. Many (most?) did not know what the questions were… never mind the answers. It was built as an information portal to serve them.In reality, it started as a vanity site but has moved on since then and is now a 2,500 page portal. It self-funds… just.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

There is absolutely no typical day. Last year I travelled 290 nights and so far this year (day 58) I have not been “home” once. I am privileged to do what I want to do.

You've been an expat many times yourself, including cycling around Norway and the UK. Tell us a bit about your cycling adventures, and what first prompted you to move abroad.

I sold a business in the UK back in 2000. There was a three year non-activity clause. So, for three years, I had to work out of the UK. I had lived in Spain in the 90s and I have been a frequent visitor since the 70s so it made sense. Why? I wanted to perfect my Spanish and my chess. #FailOnBothScores

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I loved the first three years and, fifteen years later, I am still here.

In your opinion, what is the main challenge faced by people moving to Spain, and how does ThisIsSpain help to address this?

I have written much about the challenges and I am not sure anything has really changed since the 90s. This page, for example, was written in 2004 and many of the challenges remain. Not speaking Spanish and not having done any research/homework will harm newcomers.

In your experience, which are the most popular areas of Spain for expats? Why do you think this is?

The Costas, the Balearics and the Canaries have for a long time been the favourite destinations for expats. I think this will continue. Why? Sun, ease of access and an expat infrastructure that people can slip into.

Finally, when you're not working or cycling, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I am lucky my “work” is my hobby but I am a massive football fan and addicted to chess. In a perfect world, I would be travelling throughout Spain, watching huge amounts of football and playing chess thanks to the wonderful invention of mobile wifi. Ooops. That’s pretty much what I do! #LifeIsSweet

You can keep up to date with Steve's adventures on ThisIsSpain.info.

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