Justin, living in the middle of nowhere (in Spain), which is how he likes it


I’m Justin: I’m fifty-two and I live in a tiny village between Huesca and Barbastro in Northern Spain. I’ve been here since 2006, after resigning from a lousy job at a university library in London. I never meant to come here in the first place, but I put an ad in the personals saying London/anywhere, got a call from anywhere, and now I live in the middle of nowhere, which is how I like it.

We’re booksellers, my wife – who’s also English – and I. We sell English books at book fairs in primary and infant schools across much of Spain (we go to Asturias, Cáceres, Menorca and Pamplona, as well as many points between) which includes storytelling and songs. We make a living – not a great one, as years of education cuts and other changes in the market have slashed our turnover when we began – but we manage to keep going, and we get to see Spain on our travels.

Brexit is a tragedy and an outrage for us, throwing everything up into the air which we had every right to think was secure. We were citizens like everybody else – now we don’t know what we’ll be. We had access to healthcare like everybody else – now we don’t know what we’ll have. We had a secure future. Now we’re not sure what future we’ve got anywhere.

Yes, we could apply for Spanish citizenship, but what happens then, if things go wrong in the future – most especially, if the atmosphere here worsened for foreigners – where would we go then? It’s a huge leap to take, and we shouldn’t have to take it. More likely, perhaps, is that if the situation develops such that we can’t stay – and if we were to lose our access to free healthcare, that would very likely be the end for us – we would have to come back to the UK, in our mid-fifties, without jobs to go to, without prospects. What’s the point? As with so much about Brexit, what’s the point?

Justin is just one of the volunteers to our Citizens’ Panel. To read about the experiences of other Britons living in the EU27 visit our Meet the #britsinEurope feature

Disclaimer: As with all of the information supplied through the citizens’ panel and presented in our Conversations with the #britishinEurope feature, the views, information, or opinions of individual study participants presented above are solely those of the individual author. They do not necessarily represent those of the project team, Goldsmiths or our funders.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.