I am Dawn “Alba” Starr. For approximately 30 years, I lived in the lovely area of San Luis Obispo County California. Now I live in Altea, Spain, on the Mediterranean in the Costa Blanca area.
1. Why did you move abroad?
I like the pace and priorities of life in Spain: friends, family, fun and food, as opposed to working long hours to accrue material things.
2. How do you make a living?
I am a retired forensic psychologist (previously specializing in risk assessment for sexual and violent offenders.) I now do some writing about travel, food and living as an ex-pat in Spain.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
Mostly, I communicate by email, Facebook and messenger, and occasionally, Skype.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Spain?
The fabulous friends from many different countries.
5. What's the worst thing about being an expat in Spain?
The frequent inefficiency of government agencies and businesses, often necessitating multiple attempts to accomplish a task.
6. What do you miss most?
My 3 adult children, favorite local California restaurants, and ethnic foods not available here, like Korean, Vietnamese, etc.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I became more outgoing in public situations such as restaurants. Also, I attend activities I enjoy like dancing and live music where I meet people with similar interests.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
I am from the first county in the U.S. that outlawed indoor smoking, so I am not used to how many people smoke, their lack of concern when the smoke affects other people including their own children and babies.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
I am not aware of any.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
In spite of the great quality of life here in Spain, the cost of living is incredibly inexpensive. My monthly expenses here are less than my monthly car payment was in California (granted I had a high end car), but I don’t have or want a car here. I walk almost everywhere.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Take a trial stay in the place(s) you are considering moving to by renting a vacation rental in the town you like, which can also provide the opportunity to find out the pros and cons of various neighborhoods.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I initially started my blog to discuss travel, food, and entertainment, particularly live music and dance. When I lived in the San Luis Obispo area, we had many talented musicians who moved to our area (about 3 ½ hours north of Los Angeles). They would sometimes perform locally to sparse audiences, so I began writing about various performers. In addition, as an avid traveler and foodie,
Dawn's blog, Starr Treks
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