Kris in Rome potrait with Trevi fountain behind him.

A very interesting conversation with Kris Sunkara about his journey from California to Valencia Spain. I always find it fascinating to find out how people from all walks of life end up in this gorgeous part of Spain. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he said. Sometimes you just have to follow your heart and realize that money is not the be-all and end-all. A great listen and full of wisdom from one so young.

American Expat In Valencia Kris Sunkara:


I’ve known Kris for about two years and l was glad to be able to chat with him once the school year ended. It feels weird to live in the same city, but yet to not have seen each other for so long thanks to the covid situation, and not even being able to cross barrios at different points during the quarantine.

American expat in Valencia blog post. Pic of kris in Morocco spice souk with bags of spices and potpourri along the path.
Kris on one of his many travels.


Highlights of the podcast interview include:

  • His parents immigrating to America, thanks to a crucial shortage of doctors.
  • Growing up in America, and his experience.
  • Following in the footsteps of the parents and siblings and becoming a doctor.
  • Not enjoying his chosen profession and making a move to the tech world.
  • The final realization that the long hours and stressful life was not for him, and that finding his bliss was more important than hoarding money and dealing with the stress that went along with that lifestyle, especially in the Bay area.
  • Moving to San Diego in search of a life that was more suited to him.
  • The job loss, how it came about, and the decision to find a better lifestyle.
  • Deciding on Europe, and Spain in particular when it came to lifestyle aspects.
  • Choosing Valencia because it fits a lot of his requirements, and what those were.
  • Switching careers to teaching, and landing his first choice of cities.
  • How he likes the job, and the children he teaches.
  • The pay, and how you can still survive on that amount.
  • The neighborhood he lives in, and what it’s like there.
  • Life during the quarantine.
  • Valencia being fun, walkable and being big, but not too big.
  • How he feels about Valencia now after being here for two-plus years, and if he plans on staying there or going elsewhere.
  • The joys of traveling and if he regrets his decision.

Listen to the American expat in Valencia podcast here:

Or watch the video here:

It’s always delightful to chat with friends about shared experiences and travels, and this conversation was no exception. His decision to forgo high earnings in search of a calmer life is so contrary to what people do.

American expat in Valencia - Teacher in mask teaching kids English
Doing what he loves.

The luxury of being able to do that is definitely a privilege thing, but he made his own money (in case anyone was wondering). He realized that the way Europeans think is more to his liking. While most people would have been afraid to make such a move, choosing instead to keep working crazy hours and accumulating more stuff, being on the perpetual hamster wheel, he chose his sanity. How admirable is that? 


Are you an ex-pat or thinking of becoming one? If not, what is holding you back?

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