Facing a series of personal challenges, including unsuccessful IVF attempts, health concerns, and the loss of their cherished pet, Jason Luban and Selena Medlen felt the pressing need for a fresh start. Originally from Oakland, California, the couple had previously planned a vacation to Andalusia, Spain. However, due to Luban’s deteriorating health condition, torsion dystonia, and the emotional toll of losing a close friend, they were uncertain about proceeding with their travel plans.
Medlen shared with CNN Travel that they eventually chose to embark on the journey, hoping that a change of environment might aid Luban’s recovery. Their itinerary included a two-night stay in Ronda, a picturesque town in Spain’s Malaga province, based on a friend’s recommendation.
Their Spanish escapade began in Madrid, followed by visits to Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, and finally, Ronda. Luban, an acupuncturist by profession, described a profound shift in their experience as they approached Ronda. The vibrant flora and the town’s breathtaking beauty left them in awe. Their time in Ronda was marked by a festive parade and the warmth of the local community.
Upon their return to the US, the allure of Ronda lingered. The couple found themselves comparing their daily lives in California to their enriching experience in Spain. The realization that living expenses in Ronda were significantly lower than in California further fueled their desire to relocate.
The couple’s reflections on their future, especially in the context of their fertility challenges, led them to a pivotal decision. They aspired for a life filled with new experiences, cultural immersion, and language learning. Spain, particularly Ronda, seemed like the perfect destination.
Within six weeks, Luban sold his acupuncture practice, and the couple condensed their possessions to fit into four suitcases. By September 2016, they were back in Spain, initially believing it would be a one-year adventure.
However, their return to Ronda post the Feria de Pedro Romero festival presented a different picture. The town seemed less vibrant, and finding a long-term rental proved challenging. Despite these initial hiccups, they soon settled in, joined a language school, and began building connections with both expats and locals.
The couple’s decision to extend their stay in Spain was influenced by various factors, including the political climate in the US following the 2016 presidential election. The slower pace of life in Ronda, coupled with the affordability of living expenses, allowed them to work fewer hours and enjoy a higher quality of life.
Today, seven years since their move, Luban and Medlen have made Ronda their home. They cherish the friendships they’ve formed and the experiences they’ve gathered. While they occasionally grapple with feelings of displacement, they are grateful for the warmth and care they’ve received from the Andalusian community.