Don't settle

Costa Women Meet … Melissa Hutcheson

Melissa's move to Spain isn't her first life overseas. She has made various moves, to various countries in line with her mantra 'don't settle'. However she believes Spain and her life in Valencia suits her perfectly. Read her story.

Tell us your Spain Story Melissa

I became an expat in 2010, leaving the San Francisco Bay Area and moving to New Zealand. After five years in NZ, New Zealand citizenship included, I took a job for a company based in Asia and lived there for 2.5 years before deciding it was time for different climate and challenges. My husband and I then settled in Badalona (near Barcelona) for 3.5 years after determining that the climate was perfect for us and we could walk to the Sea in 5 minutes. We relocated to Valencia one year ago, and absolutely love it here! We operate two businesses from our laptops and Spain suits us perfectly.

And where is now home?

I live in Valencia just off Turia Park and appreciate the quality and quantity of outdoor activities, diversity of cultural activities and the local food and wines.

What was your biggest challenge for your moves?

Making the initial move abroad nearly 12 years ago the biggest challenge was making new friends. We don’t have children and in smaller regions and cities meeting people might be easy, however, making meaningful friendships is often not easy. I overcame this by deciding to take on a new sport (waka ama) and the community around this sport is so welcoming that after a few months I had a new community of true friends.

What advice would you offer to Women thinking above making the move?

Decide for yourself that you are worth making the move, and then put the move plan into action. It might take a bit longer than you want or anticipate. Don’t let any roadblocks or negativity stop you from fulfilling your dreams.

How do you spend your days?

My day consists on walking/running with our rescued podenco, going for a run myself 3x a week, studying Spanish, and working on our businesses. I just started a ballet class. I enjoy cooking, wine tasting, meeting new people and being outdoors, and, sometimes I make jewellery. We also pet and house sit for folks around the world.

Golden Temple Amritsar

Something you are grateful for?

I am grateful that my childhood experiences gave me the strength to pursue my goals and to live my life on my own terms.

Your dinner party, who would you invite?

I would invite friends from my pre-expat days so that I can catch up with all of them, and because they all have such varied and interesting lives now. I’m sure it would be a meal where new friends are made, and with plans for future dates. I’d also invite Tom Waits, Nelson Mandela and Michelle Obama. So much wisdom with these folks. I would eat fresh crab, oysters and drink lots of sparkling wine.

What’s your secret weapon?

I am super adaptable. Moving so many times from infancy through adulthood teaches you to be flexible, and to keep your mouth shut at the right times (not that I manage to succeed at this)

Favourite saying you live by? 

Don’t settle! This mantra has served me well so many times. When in doubt I return to these two words, and move forward.

What did you have to bring to Spain with you and could never give away?

My three rescue cats. Two of them have been with us since 2006, and they have more passports than I do!

Something you would tell your younger self?

Be confident in yourself. You have the inner strength and resilience to manage anything.

Where can we find out more?

Connect on Instagram: HoneyBeeMuse

Facebook – Forever Litter Trays


And our blog: 

Thank you Melissa!  Do you want to share your story?  Complete the online form
And read more Costa Women stories in our regular interview feature!

2 thoughts on “Costa Women Meet … Melissa Hutcheson”

  1. Wow Great stuff But you forgot mention the tattoo !!!
    Seriously all the best I enjoyed your story may it inspire many

  2. I really enjoyed reading this. What an interesting life. Great to see you are settled now and part of Costa Women.
    ❀Welcome and nice to meet you❀
    Aly Farmer

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