I live in Spain and plan to stay put. There are plenty of things wrong with Spain, but it’s the same story everywhere. The UK is hardly a paragon of excellence.
I’m fully aware of this country’s faults, but I can’t imagine a nicer place to live.
South Africa? It’ll go the way of Zimbabwe with time (where I lived for 5 years). Security is a serious problem.
Kenya? It was paradise in the 70s and early 80s when I was a child growing up there. Now it’s still a lovely place to visit, but I wouldn’t live there again if you paid me.
South of France? Perhaps, but France has serious problems too, and is firmly in denial about them. Easy to visit as much as I want from where I am now, and climate not quite good enough anyway.
Florida? Hmm, I dunno. I’m not sure I could stomach all that homeland security stuff.
Australia – too far away from family and friends
Chile – same as Australia
Dubai – no thanks
Turkey – long term political risk and the islamists slowly take over
Everyone will have their own criteria. Nowhere is prefect. Catalonia will just have to do for me.
Have you considered Cyprus?
Seriously though, your thought process is similar to mine. Also having a Spanish wife and the attractions of bringing up kids in Spain swings it for me (not just them being bilingual, but it is relatively cheap to bring them up in a happy and stimulating environment). Maybe when they’re older we’ll consider moving back to the UK (I actually like the UK as well) but unless our situation here changes I can’t see it happening for at least 10 years.