In October 2013, London blogger Sam Cookney worked out that he could save money on London’s astronomical rents by commuting 1,500 kilometers from Barcelona.
He explained his calculations in a blog post that went viral, but few thought he’d actually go through with it.
With London rents spiraling ever higher – a two-bed apartment in his neighborhood of West Hampstead now averages £2,137 ($3,318) a month, more than $180 more than in 2013 – three months ago Sam took the plunge.
The 32-year-old social media manager now lives alone in a two-bed apartment in Barcelona – with roof terrace – and pays just €800 a month (around $875).
With additional bills coming to around $125 a month, that’s a lot of extra cash to go on his regular flights – which usually cost him less than $150 for each return journey.
“Everything about the lifestyle is better,” Sam tells CNN.
“From my lovely flat, to walking to work, to having the beach on my doorstep, to the amazing food.”
He lives in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter in the heart of the old city.
That means he can walk everywhere, and on weekends he can take trips out of town and enjoy the Spanish sunshine, incredible food and relaxed pace of living.
But he can still keep up with the buzz of the UK capital.
After all, they couldn’t charge those rents if the whole world didn’t want to be there.
Door to door, his commute takes around five and a half hours.
That’s a lot of early starts, but Sam insists he doesn’t mind.
“Honestly, so far, no downsides.
“The 7 a.m. flight is a little testing, but I’m willing to put up with it.”
Sam’s currently single and blogs about navigating the world of 21st-century dating.
He’s even had one blind date chronicled on UK news site The Guardian.
Surely his chances have doubled now he has his feet in two cities.
Have the romantic propositions been flooding in since his story went viral earlier this week?
“Not one proposal sadly,” he confesses.
There are a lot of single women in Barcelona and London missing out on sunset walks on Barceloneta Beach or afternoon tea at the Ritz.
Could one tempt him to move permanently to one place, or is he wedded to his twin-city lifestyle?
“I think the right woman could persuade me one way or the other,” Sam says. “Let’s see …”