Around 40,000 Dutch people emigrate abroad every year. How do you like working in their new (temporary) home country? And do they really want to go back to the Netherlands? This time we talk to Anna Schram in Spain.
- WHO: Anna Schram
- Function: owner of La Kookaburra Retreat Centre
- Where: nature reserve Barranco Blanco, near Málaga
- In Spain since: 2018
How did you end up in Spain?
“In 2018, I was recovering from a burnout. I was working in online marketing at the time, but noticed that it had to change course. I felt the need to be in nature and have real contact with people. Not only through a screen .”
“Before I came to online marketing, I worked a lot in the hotel industry and studied at the hotel school. Hospitality has always had my interest. I thought: if this idea excites me so much, why can’t I see if it is possible to run a bed and breakfast or a small hotel? I searched the web for that. This is how a glamping site in the middle of nature came our way. The owners were looking for people to take advantage of it. My partner and I decided to take this opportunity. “
Did you move right away?
“We sold our house and emigrated. But first we wanted to see if it would be something for us. It has now been 4.5 years and I am fully enjoying life in Spain. The adventure started at the end of last year Ved the glamping in Alicante we offered retreats, with sports and relaxation. Because it also helped me a lot, I thought: more people should experience it. So now I have started my own retreat center in collaboration with trainers and yoga teachers: La Kookaburra, near Málaga.”
What do you like about the place where you live now?
“Nature and surroundings keep me stable. A low-stimulus environment really heals. The amazing thing is that this is a protected nature reserve. For a large part of the year you are not even allowed to come here by car. Five minutes walking tours there is a waterfall. But you are also within fifteen minutes in a very nice village. Furthermore, Málaga is only half an hour away. So you have the best of both worlds here. You can stand up to the crowds if you want. But you are not constantly confronted with it like in Rotterdam, where I come from.”
Already feel like a Spanish?
“I can make myself understood in Spanish. Many Dutch people who start something here can still do it alone after a few years”Hi‘and’cerveza‘ say. Doing your best to integrate makes you feel that much more part of the community. I no longer feel like a tourist. Not yet a Spaniard, but I am very much at home here’.
“Now I even manage to be late every now and then without stressing about it.”
What did you most need to get used to?
“The ‘mañana, mañana’ attitude that the Spanish would have is real. Running a business is quite a challenge. For the prices my guests pay, they expect perfection. But to run my business, I am high degree dependent on the Spanish. Their attitude to work is a little different from us Dutch. I always have margin in my planning, but it often gives me stress.”
“On the other hand, it has also made me much calmer. I had to. There’s no point in worrying, you only have yourself to deal with. You also learn that the world doesn’t end if something is postponed one day . I now even manage to be late every now and then, without being stressed about it.’
What do you prefer to do to relax?
“I think sports are a great way to clear my head. I hike for example many in the area. But I also love to visit the city every now and then and drink a cocktail or eat a fish in Málaga.”