I have never been to Valencia and neither has C.
We've been to Spain, and we loved it. However, deciding to pick up and move across an ocean to a city that we've never been to is, admittedly, a lot of crazy. But it isn't insane.
Albert Einstein is widely attributed with the quote: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."
We have a great life in Atlanta. My family is here, we have good friends, great jobs, the kids are in wonderful schools; the quality of the life we get to live is unbelievable. And yet, none of us are happy. There is nothing specific about the dulling routineness of our lives, we just aren't bounding out of bed each day--or even most days--with enthusiasm.
When we first started talking about what sparks excitement and joy, every one of us said travel (#3 said "going other places"). We enjoy taking day trips or weekends away but, after 20 years, we've hit most of the places we can get to easily (i.e., by car) at least once.
So, rather than continue in the insanity of expecting tomorrow to bring a new adventure, we are creating one of our own.
A lot of folks have asked how we narrowed our choice to Valencia? It started with selecting Spain as the country and that boiled down to 2 reasons: citizenship for C and climate.
I attended university "up north" and got to enjoy snow, which was great, and I loved it for my 4 years on campus. After graduation, I had a work assignment in Buffalo, NY in January and February one year, and that cured me of any desire to ever live anywhere that far north again. Will I go for a visit, of course. Will I willingly settle down somewhere cold for a while? Nope.
Valencia averages about 44 days of rain/precipitation a year. The coldest month is January and the average temp is 48ºF, and the warmest is August at 78ºF, so we are talking temperate and comfortable year-round.
Once we narrowed our search to Spain, we came up with several other criteria that we wanted in any city we would consider.
I wanted to be on the coast. Atlanta is land locked, and anytime I come back from somewhere that is near water, whether the ocean or even a significant river, I'm always struck by how much I like that.
Second, it had to have options for international schools for #2 and #3.
Third, the city had to be affordable and not extraordinarily touristy.
Fourth, public transportation must be well incorporated throughout the city (I dream of the day that I will not own a car *swoon*).
Fifth, there must be a strong religious and equally strong vegan community.
And lastly, it cant be more than an hour to an international airport.
When we put it all together and looked at what cities made sense, Valencia rose to the top.
I'm a part of several Facebook groups of expats and Americans living in Valencia, and there has not been 1 person that has said anything negative about their experience. Blinders? Maybe.
But I'm liking our odds and willing to behave a little crazy.