‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’― Mark Twain
Moving to Mallorca is not a decision that can be made lightly, and amongst the excitement there is always an undertone of concern and anguish about what we may be leaving behind in the UK. However, as someone who has taken this leap, I shall endeavour to deliver my top 10 reasons for moving to the island; and explain why it really was the best decision I ever made!
Reason No. 1 - The People #
When I first stepped off the plane, at age 18, I didn’t know what to expect. Nervously walking around the enormous airport, I felt so incredibly small; yet the minute I stepped off of the plane I was greeted by warmth. I don’t just mean the warmth of a July morning, but the warmth in the smiles of everyone I met. From the coach driver, to the hotelier, the street sweeper to the barman; everyone was full of kindness and compassion, something which is sadly lacking in much of the UK.
Mallorquin people are simply joyous! Their attitude is that life is to be enjoyed- whether it be relaxing at the beach, or whiling away your Sunday at a sleepy bar, sipping an ice cold beer- Mallorquin’s celebrate whenever they can. A prime example of this is the sheer number of fiestas that take place in each and every town, bringing entire communities together through music, food, dance and religion- it’s truly wonderful!
No matter where you go across the island, you can guarantee a warm welcome and continued support from those around you.
Reason No. 2 - The Climate #
Of course the climate played a huge part in my decision making process- who doesn’t want to enjoy 300 sunny days per year? There is something so refreshing about feeling the sun on your face, and I’m almost certain it makes people happier! Mallorca’s mild climate allows for a wonderfully rich ‘outdoorsy’ lifestyle, removing you from your phone and computer and allowing you to embrace nature; something sadly nigh on impossible in the UK.
The island’s rocky landscape allows for strenuous hikes or simple strolls, and for those of you who prefer a sea breeze, you’re certainly not short of coastal walks! The golden sands and tranquil waters are a haven for beach bums and water sports enthusiasts- whatever the weather!
Reason No. 3 - The Scenery #
Whilst flying over the Tramuntana, hues of green and brown cover the landscape like a patchwork quilt. I always assumed Mallorca was nothing more than sea and sand, but how wrong I was! In the UK we are blessed to have parts of the country that are exquisitely beautiful; such as the Lake District and the Highlands (to name just a couple of hotspots!). One of my largest concerns was that I would be losing a varied landscape, and missing all my favourite historical landmarks; yet Mallorca offers all of this and more.
Upon every stretch of road there is a glimmer of Mallorca’s industrial history, with traditional windmills scattered across the countryside. Ornate churches seem to tower over tiny, picture perfect, towns, and protecting it all are the looming Tramuntana mountains. As the sun’s rays beat down they appear to embrace the towns below, yet as the rain pours (and it does, occasionally!) they can appear ominous and eerie- but they are always spectacular, no matter what way you look at them.
Reason No. 4 - The Diversity #
Mallorca is home to a large number of nationalities, all embracing one another’s cultures, languages and lifestyles on this small Mediterranean isle. There are couples consisting of Spaniards and Brits, Swedish and German, Polish and Russian; and children raised in homes where they speak three of four languages from the age of three!
One of my biggest reasons for leaving the UK was its narrow-minded approach to language. Many schools only offer one or two foreign languages, and it is not compulsory, meaning that British children grow up failing to understand the importance of communicating in more than one language- but more than that, they fail to have an interest.
In Mallorca, children are taught in both Catalan and Castellano (Spanish) meaning they’re immediately bilingual. On top of this, English is introduced from the minute they start school (trilingual) and at secondary school they are encouraged to learn French or German too- isn’t that fantastic?! Although learning a second language can seem daunting when you are an adult, the Mallorquin people embrace and encourage those of you who are practicing your Spanish, and are always keen to exchange Spanish for English wherever possible!
Reason No. 5 - The Culture #
The island is a cultural hubbub, with Catholicism at its core, yet combined with some pagan style celebrations- there is always something going on! Mallorca’s history is prevalent in almost every town, and it is something that the local people are incredibly proud of- and rightly so!
In the UK it is so rare to see street parties, religious celebrations or town events. It seems a crying shame that we only seem to see these acts of community spirit (in large towns and cities) when a great tragedy occurs. I think the art of people coming together is simply beautiful, and can be seen on a regular basis across the entire island. Whether it be a Holy Communion, a small town wedding, a birthday party or a fiesta - you can guarantee that it’ll be celebrated in style and accessible for all.
Reason No. 6 - The Cuisine #
Paella, Frito, Tapas, Pamboli- the list goes on! Spanish food is undoubtedly tasty, (relatively) healthy and designed for sharing! The Mallorquin people take pride in their local dishes, and enjoy nothing more than a leisurely lunch or late night meal that involves grazing away for hours.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get pangs of missing a fish and chip Friday, but the reality is, much of our food in the UK is designed for convenience. We are far too busy with our 9-5 jobs, to enjoy a 3-hour lunch or late night meal, our lives run to a timetable. Other than a Sunday roast, we appear to have lost the art of enjoying a meal in the UK, with many pubs closing their kitchens at 9pm they don’t cater for those of us who have been working late into the evening. In Mallorca this isn’t a problem! If you fancy steak at 11pm, you can bet your bottom dollar there will be somewhere open to serve it!
Reason No. 7 - The Lifestyle #
Quite possibly the jewel in the crown for me is the lifestyle. Having worked in London, I was used to grabbing a sandwich on the go and answering emails on a Sunday; there seemed no time to switch off!
It amazes me the drive and dedication that the Mallorquin people have, working all summer long in demanding jobs, and then many heading into construction work for the winter- they are certainly not work shy! However, despite this hardworking outlook, one thing that they haven’t lost is the ability to enjoy themselves.
Here in Mallorca the idea is that you ‘work to live’ and not ‘live to work’; something which can be hard to maintain in the UK. Although the hours are long in the summer, so are the evenings, and no matter what time you finish, you are able to grab a drink or late night snack with friends. Sunday is still very much a ‘family day’ here on the island, and my favourite pastime is to stroll along the beach and listen to the chatter of happy families simply enjoying each other's company.
In the UK Sunday could be any other day in the week, Tesco is open, clothes shops are open- everything runs as normal. Here in Mallorca things are closed! Yes, really- supermarkets shut on a Sunday, and it’s wonderful! Instead of walking around the supermarket using that trolley with the wonky wheels and trying to grab everything as quickly as possible; Mallorquin Sunday’s involve strolling around the market, collecting a fresh ensaimada and sitting on the balcony with a coffee, whilst watching the world go by- perfection.
Reason No. 8 - The Opportunities #
Mallorca may seem as though it only offers hotel and bar work, and admittedly there isn’t such a diverse range of positions as there may be in a large UK town or city, however when you look in the right places, it’s amazing what you can find… Living La Vida Loca - Making a living in Mallorca
Networking is key on this little island, language barriers and a reliance on the tourist trade can limit what you think you can do- but the reality is the possibilities are endless! 9-5 is almost non-existent, of course there are a few office jobs, but they are far less common than in the UK. For those of you who freelance the island is a haven of tranquillity, perfect for running your business from home or by the sea! It’s one of the few places where entertainers can make a living performing to large crowds ever night, and where those with a gift for education can teach without having to spend four years at university; instead they can share their language skills and enrich the minds of others through life experience and knowledge.
Through the nature of the lifestyle itself, Mallorca is incredibly sociable, and by embracing this and integrating yourself you never know who you may meet, or what you may end up doing. In order to make the most of these opportunities, remain flexible, keep an open mind and see what journey life has in store.
Reason No. 9 - The Future #
For me, the most exciting thing about Mallorca is the future that it can offer. I’ll be honest and admit that the initial process of establishing yourself, making friends and learning the language isn’t easy… Finding happiness in Mallorca, and it can take some of us longer than others. Of course we miss our friends and family, and that never gets any easier- but take a look at what is available to you.
Aside from the beauty of the island, it offers a safe place to raise a family, a cosmopolitan capital city to party hard or study an abundance of courses. A place to shop, and a place to relax. Dramatic coastlines that take your breath away, and mountains that hold ancient secrets within their cavernous rock faces.
It raises the question when, in the UK, can we do this? Maybe for those few weeks of the year that the sun shows its face, or in the two weeks that we have off over Christmas. Do you feel that your children are safe wherever they go? Can you climb a mountain at 10am and be in the sea at 2pm? The answer is no. Not because the UK doesn’t have the capability to offer this, but because UK life doesn’t allow for it.
Mallorca is stripped back, it's bare and to some people maybe backward; but isn’t it also perfection?!
Reason No. 10 - The Reality #
To make the ‘Mallorcan dream’ come true you might have to cross a stretch of bumpy road in order to find exactly what you’re looking for. But surely the idea of removing those UK stresses of meeting deadlines, catching tubes and attending board meetings- and instead learning to walk on the wild side and enjoy the ride; sounds like a risk worth taking?
I did, and I’ve never looked back...
By Zoé Holmes
19 November, 2019