For many months we’ve wanted to trial working from somewhere else in the world, world-schooling the kids and working from somewhere in the sun!

So last month, we flew caution to the wind and decided we’d look into it….. we spoke to the children’s school head-teachers who both (through gritted teeth) said they couldn’t stop us for a month, so we had a green (ish) light from them. Granted it was more of a red light from our son’s high school, but they admitted they actually couldn’t stop us. Yes, we’d be fined. They were not agreeing to is. They were not happy about it. 

But they couldn’t actually stop us and our children’s school places would be kept open. 

Great- BIG green light for us. 

So two weeks ago we booked an apartment for the month in Spain, booked flights and we were off!

The day before, we started feeling the nerves… it was a mix of a big move for us, albeit only for a month, but a huge experiment none the less. If we enjoyed this time away, we could look to make it more permanent. Plus obviously the virus that was sweeping the world.

Obviously, up to this time, the news had been filled with covid-19, but we figured Spain was not that much worse than the UK and we’d be fine. We had a chat about it the night before and checked everything the minute we woke up at 3.30am Saturday…. the flight was going ahead and we were only being advised against travel to certain areas (miles away from where we were heading). 

Bristol airport was quieter than usual, and with people wearing face masks..felt a little unusual.

The plane was more than half empty and the unease was starting to settle in at this point with this new feeling becoming the norm!

We landed at Alicante and although it all felt a little eerie, we just figured everyone was being extra cautious. We were whisked through passport control, no need to show them our passports (ok, so that’s a little unusual…). 

We went to collect our hire car and were told that the place we were heading was on lockdown and to not go there… the reason they gave… loads of people had fled Madrid to their coastal homes, so now the area that a few hours before had NO virus confirmed, may potentially have a few….

We spoke to a friend’s contact in the area and the apartment owners who told us the whole coast was in the same position and that yes people had fled there before Madrid had been put in lockdown.

We made the decision to go head.. just as many friends starting messaging to see if we were safe as they had seen that some planes headed to Spain had been turned around in the sky. We literally had just made it.

On the way here, we started questioning had we made the right choice as we were seeing that Spain had entered a partial lockdown… but we were here, so decided to make the most of it. 

We met our apartment owners who filled us in with the local restrictions….

We were allowed out to the beach, but all bars, restaurants etc had been closed. That would change our plan a little, but we could cope with a couple of weeks of restrictions and we’d save a fortune 😉

The sun was shining all day Saturday and Sunday and we started to feel that yes this was the right decision. We went for leisurely walks on the beach and sat by the pool with a wine, whilst the children played in the rather cold pool (nothing stops that pair). 

But Saturday night (after we had flaked and gone to bed) it was declared that the whole of Spain would go on complete lockdown and we wouldn’t be allowed out unless for essentials etc.

This changed it a little, but we figured we’d see how it panned out.

As long as we had an option to come home when we wanted we were ok- ish. 
In perspective, we were all feeling healthy, were safe in a lovely (fairly isolated) apartment block and the sun was shining.

Monday morning brought day 1 of true full-on lock-down. My husband drove to the local supermarket for 9am and saw a sign that said they were making changes instore and were opening at 10am instead. He got back there for just before 10am and the queue of people was coming out of the car park. He queued in total for around 40 minutes, not too bad as when he came out he estimated that around 200 were in the queue. 

Upon entry, he was told by a friendly staff member who helped him due to his lack of Spanish that he had to sanitise his hands, wear gloves for everything and keep a decent distance from everyone in store (only around 20 people were allowed in at any stage). There were perspex screens up around the tills to protect the staff from anyone coughing and spluttering on them and sharing their germs.  

That was a surreal experience he said. Then on the hour, every hour a police riot-type van is going around making announcements in Spanish, that we can only presume is telling everyone to stay indoors.

The weather, along with the mood has taken a somber turn for the worse – everything feels oppressive. 

There is a heaviness in the air. An unknown. Something feels out of kilter and nobody quite knows what to do. My chest feels heavy, probably more from an anxiety I’ve not felt before. It was Monday night we made the decision we’d been dreading since we’d landed. Our dream of working from the sun for a month would need to be put on hold for a while, along with pretty much everything in life as we know it….. and we’d have to get back to the UK.

We had been keeping an eye on flights through the day and there were plenty, but as there were announcements that borders across Europe were being shut for possibly 30 days, we realised that we had better get out sooner rather than later or else we may not be able to. 

Before this, if I had been told we may be stuck here for that time, honestly I really wouldn’t have minded…. I love it here. I’d even joked with friends, that I’d happily be stuck here, but this was a very different and uneasy situation and we had started to long to be back on familiar turf.

The UK government are taking a different route to many other countries and only time will tell if this will be the right or wrong decision, but I think we’ll feel better with familiar surroundings and a language we can speak fluently.

Shame, as where we are is absolutely perfect for what we had envisaged… but that can wait. There are way worse things going on.

We have the news on all the time and even though we can’t keep up, we pick up what we can and are obsessively reading news articles. Albeit choosing what is accurate and what is bullshit is a task in itself.

I’m not a drama fuelled person, so I realise we are by far not in a horrendous situation like plenty of others unfortunately are. We have a lovely apartment, food, wine and my husband is a fab cook, so we are eating delicious food 3 times a day.  And did I mention we have wine?  We have toilet rolls 😉 soap, sanitiser and paracetamol, so the things we need to get us through to our flight. 

Although my bloody Havaianas just went and snapped on me!  And they probably don’t count as ‘essential items’.

So today is Tuesday 17th March and day 2 of full lock-down. I’m sat on the terrace working in the rain (I’m undercover… not getting soaked, cos that would be silly!) as the sun has been in hiding along with the rest of Spain, trying to get through my work to-do list for myself and clients… plus keep up with the full-time job that is keeping up with Covid-19. Distracted is an understatement. 

I’ve spent 6.5 hours trying to speak to Ryanair on live chat and still in the queue… we’ve tried the British Embassy with no luck of even getting hold of anyone.
We are simply hoping that our flight will go ahead as planned, that we can drive to the airport easily enough and that we don’t get ill before then. And get back safely to the UK. Then we’ll deal with the updates and changes at home.

So wishing you all luck during this unprecedented time. Stay safe. If there is anything you feel I can help with, let me know!

Katie x