“You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need” is the song with a significance for Wendy Leo-Smith. However that need included her sailing around the world for five years and she wants us to ‘come sail with me’. Read her story.
I impulsively visited Spain in February 2001 for a week, with a view to investing in property since it was all the craze. I had never been to mainland Spain before, and wasn’t particularly drawn to the Costa Del Sol. However, as soon as I reached Alhaurin el Grande to stay with friends, I was smitten.
Our friend introduced us to a real estate agent who quickly set about showing us a variety of properties. 3 days fifteen properties and numerous cafe con leches in Bar Rose later, nothing had hit the mark.
Then, late one evening, they came up with this last property, a casita close enough to a main road and town, with a couple of neighbours then endless open campo…idyllic in my eyes and the deal was struck. Although I had no idea if I was going to move or rent it out.
And where are you now?
I live in the campo in Malaga surrounded by nature, whilst Alhaurin el Grande, a small inland town, is only 1 km away.
I love the fact that it is still very much a community, and our neighbours have made us feel part of it.
Also I enjoy the individualism of the town as it has an extensive assortment of independent shops and restaurants offering a good variety of products and services.
However when the desire comes to visit the coast or travel further afield the roads are excellent and Malaga, Fuengirola and Marbella, are all well within a 30 minute drive.
What was the biggest challenge for your move?
The language difference. I am not a natural linguist and learning Spanish has been very difficult for me. I enrolled in a Language School and studied the basics. I am still far from fluent, but have learnt to just brave it out and normally I am eventually understood.
Do you have any advice for Women thinking about making the move?
Don’t let the sunshine fool you…take extra care when making the vital decisions.
Living in Spain is like living anywhere else apart from you have sunshine for the majority of the year and very little rain. The normal trials and tribulations are still here, which are sometimes made harder or are frustrating due to the language barrier, or the distance from your loved ones. However, the relaxed life style can blur all these problems into insignificance.
How do you spend your days?
I like to active and when I am not sailing or travelling, my days are spent taking care of our home, pets, large garden and orchard. In my spare time,
I am actively promoting “Come Sail With Me”, my memoir which I have thoroughly enjoyed writing over the last couple of years.
For my mind body and soul I regularly cycle around the campo and practice Yoga something I have been doing for over twenty-five years now.
My Sunday morning treat is our early morning mountain or beach walks with Boza, our English Bull Terrier followed by full English breakfast. On those long solitary days on the ocean I rediscovered knitting, and have created many well loved baby garments for the entourage of grandchildren and great nieces and nephews or snuggly jumpers for me for those chilly winter days.
Something you are grateful for?
I am very grateful to be fit, well and able to enjoy everyday. Something I learnt at a young age you can’t take for granted.
Secondly, having the opportunity to “live my Dream” and spend five years sailing around the Atlantic visiting far flung destinations in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.
Who would be at your special dinner party?
I am not a great one for dinner parties, actually, I can’t remember when I last went to one. So it would be a very small affair with two key guests. The first would be, Louise Minchin, I so miss her on Breakfast TV. I love Louise’s sense of adventure and compassion and I am sure she would get us all talking. Then for a bit of glitz and humour it would have to be Johanna Lumley, another lady I admire for her adventurous spirit.
What’s your secret weapon?
To live life one day at a time.
Do you have a favourite Song?
“You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need” a song by the Rolling Stones. For me this means life may not be perfect, but I have everything I need to make it as happy has can be.
One thing you had to bring to Spain and could never give away?
Gemma, my west highland terrier. She was my soul mate and saw me through the darkest days of my life.
Do you have a favourite film?
I find it hard to pick my favourite as I love both movies and books so, I am going with my favourite most recent watch …28 Days which is far deeper than it appears. 28 Days addresses addiction with a combination of humour and, more importantly, shows the harsh consequences. I especially like the underlying message to reach out for help. Something that we all need at some times in our lives.
Something you would tell your younger self?
Don’t be frightened, just do it.
Thank you Wendy Leo-Smith where can we find out more?
My website: www.wendy-leo-smith.com