Hi, my name is David Leigh and I’ve been living in Catalonia since 2001, first in Barcelona and now in La Selva.
Although I was born in London and raised in a town 30 kilometres from the big city, I always knew I’d end up somewhere else; probably because neither of my parents was born in Britain I always felt like an outsider in the UK.
The catalyst for change came when I met a Catalan girl while visiting my parents in l’Escala one Christmas. After three years of easyJetting back and forth between London and Barcelona I finally decided to quit my job working in the internet industry and move to Barcelona. I’d been trying to get the courage to quit for a few months, but when I resigned I felt a huge sense of relief and moving was easy.
The advantages to living in Catalonia are enormous. First, I live in the same country as my other half; that can’t be overstated! But, also, I’ve given up working nine to five and while I often spend many more hours working it is for my own projects and derive a huge amount of satisfaction from that.
It also means that I can get out on my mountain bike during the working day to recharge, do some thinking, or completely switch off. And in summer it is a short distance to the beaches of the Costa Brava; no, I don’t regret spending my time on the beach while other people are slaving away in an office. I also sometimes dive in l’Escala or the Medes Islands.
Catalonia is fantastically varied, with beaches, the snow capped Pyrenees towering in the distance and the unbelievable stark beauty of Cap de Creus and as well as nature it has plenty of art and culture, including Gaudí and the disturbed genius of Dalí.
There is also the greatest football team in the world; I’ve been lucky enough to see Barça play many times and saw Ronaldinho at the height of his career and Lionel Messi from when he played in the number 30 shirt. My interest in FC Barcelona goes beyond sport though because, working with official ticket agencies for the club, I’ve been providing tickets to overseas clients via Simply Barcelona Tickets for the last 10 years.
Another project I am working on is Costa Brava Lifestyle, which is aiming to provide a resource for expat residents living on the Costa Brava and Girona province, as well as holidaymakers looking for the real Catalonia.
And I also worked on the website of ClinHab, a free consultation service at the University of Barcelona’s Faculty of Law. ClinHab offers legal advice and mediation on housing, an extremely worthwhile project that gets students involved in solving real cases.
Do I miss the UK?
Not much; friends, who I’d like to see more of; and my brother and his family. I don’t have any other immediate family there (my sister lives in Australia) and I can easily buy Marmite and Coleman’s mustard here these days. On the other hand it’s still difficult to get a really good curry, but there are calçots, pa amb tomàquet, escalivada, navalles…