In 2018, we interviewed Lynda Brettle about her role as Change Management Director of Samaritans in Spain.  Lynda is now a published author and her book focusses on the psychological and emotional impact of expat life.  Find out more by reading our interview.

Why Spain?

I think Spain must have chosen me as a chance visit led to us deciding to move here as a family and leaving the FCO lifestyle behind! No regrets and we had a fabulous place for kids to grow up; if not a great place later to find work. We had lived and worked globally for years and chose to settle in Spain, to bring up a young family and regain some work/life balance, rather than return to UK.

And where are you now?

Dolores in Alicante. Friendly small town atmosphere, excellent facilities, and close to beach, mountains, Alicante and Murcia International airports.

What was the biggest challenge for your move?

We moved here from Mexico where we had support from organisation I worked for. It is very different when you are under your own steam and setting up home and work from scratch.

Life before Spain? 

Prior to moving to Spain I had a career with the UK Diplomatic Service. While children were at school here I had various part time jobs, including language teaching and later on, following divorce, retrained in counselling, social care, life coaching and Reiki healing. Enjoy keeping fit with Tai Chi, Pilates, walking. Volunteered with Samaritans in Spain for 7 years. I have now published book about psychological and emotional impact of expat life – Brains at the Border. More info on my website

Do you have any advice for Women thinking about making the move?

Leaving family and friends behind who many or may not have been in favour of your move. Feeling homesick and out of their depth when confronted with a strange environment, culture, language and so many new things to learn about.  Unless you are on a fixed posting with an employer from home finding work and schooling, medical care or whatever you most need can be daunting and frustrating.

My three top tips…

Do your homework before you come on requirements for working or retirement possibilities and learn Spanish!

Rent first before you buy into a property make sure the area / lifestyle is right for you.

Have some emergency funds for a rainy day – they do say the only way to make a small fortune in Spain is to arrive with a very large one!

Something you are grateful for?

Education and lifelong learning, travels and experiences, good health & relationships.

Who would be at your special dinner party?

Wherever I am I look for an eclectic group of people who are interested in others and can share different perspectives with good humour so everyone leaves feeling enriched for having met them. As for the menu anything for me except fish and seafood due to allergy!

What’s your secret weapon or accomplishment?

Don’t be fooled by my unassuming “girl next door” image” – gets amazing results!

Do you have a favourite quote?

"If you don't know what you stand for you will fall for anything."

Too many people lack confidence in themselves and get buffeted around by others and events. They can only tell you what they don’t want and never really identify what they do want and plans to get it!

One thing you had to bring to Spain and could never give away?

My family history papers – still an ongoing research project after many, many years.

Something you would tell your younger self?

Worrying never resolves anything. Calm your mind and enjoy the moment. You can do it!

Thank you Lynda, where can we find out more

My website :


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