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Expat Military Retiree Profile: Living in Rota, Spain

6 August 2018 by

The coastal city of Cadiz is a short ferry ride from Rota. Started as a trading post by the Phoenicians as early as 1100 B.C., Cadiz claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe.

Are you thinking about moving overseas post-retirement? Here’s the inspiration you need to consider southern Spain!

In the latest profile of our Expat Military Retiree Series, Tony Guyette, a Navy retiree, tells us what he loves about living in Rota, Spain. He has embraced the slower-paced lifestyle that comes with Spanish culture, and he has plenty of great advice for military retirees who want to make the most of their retirement.

Where do you live?

Rota, Spain

Did you move there immediately post-retirement? If not, how long after retirement did you move there?

My last duty station was Rota. I applied to separate locally and immediately began working a General Schedule (GS) position.

Well, that’s not entirely true . . . I left work on Wednesday and came back the following Tuesday.

Why did you decide to retire overseas, and why did you pick Rota?

Fate, providence, blind luck?

My wife and me were both active duty and stationed here in Spain. It worked out perfectly that as one career came to a close, the other one was ready to begin, and I didn’t even need to get on a plane.

My wife and I on the grounds of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. The 2-hour show is relatively cheap and showcases the amazing skill of the horses and riders.

How did you get the visa/legal authorization to live there? Does your legal status have any restrictions or privileges?
There is a process to separate locally. It requires permission from the installation Commanding Officer, the U.S. Consulate, and the government of Spain.

As a regular retiree, Spain has many drawbacks. The unemployment rate is high, so you need to have a unique skill set. Access to the Navy Exchange and commissary is prohibited. Your kids can attend DODEA schools, but the tuition is outrageous.

I am very fortunate that my status as a GS employee allows me most of the benefits of an active duty member.

Tell us about life in Rota!

About the author
Hi, I’m Stephanie! In 2015 my husband retired from the Army and we took a year off to travel. I quit my job, and we set off on an adventure to break from our routine and explore the world. Military resources and Space A travel were a major part of our strategy for making our voyage affordable. The other part – immersing ourselves in the local economy – not only saved money, but gave us unique experiences we never would have shared if we followed the tourist circuit or stayed exclusively on military bases.
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