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About Craig Briggs
Craig Briggs was born on the 12th of July 1962, in St. Luke's Hospital, Huddersfield, the second child, and only son, of Donald and Glenys Briggs. The birth of their daughter had been a joy. The arrival of Craig would make the family complete. Unfortunately, Craig was not a 'normal' lad; he'd been born with congenital feet deformities.
Unaware of his disability, Craig got on with life as any infant would. His first birthday brought a gift that would change his life forever. A marvel of modern engineering, manufactured by J.E. Hanger and Co. of London for and on behalf of the National Health Service. Bespoke footwear gave him what the Vespa had given the youth of the fifties: freedom and independence. They weren't quite as stylish as an Italian built scooter but he didn't care. From now on, Master Briggs was on the move and no one would hold him back.
Over the next five years a series of surgical procedures changed the way he moved. When the time came, his mum walked him to school like any other proud parent and his dad gave him his first and only piece of worldly advice. 'If anyone hits you, hit 'em back.'
With one exception, his mind proved sharper than his boxing prowess. Academia was not really his thing; he found it difficult to concentrate on anything that didn't interest him.
In May 1980 he left college and entered the employment market. Margaret Thatcher was busy dismantling British industry and unemployment was running at a post-war high. He signed on to receive unemployment benefit and spent the summer lounging around the house watching the Wimbledon Tennis Championship on telly. As the tournament drew to a close, parental pressure to find work intensified. In September, during one of his many visits to the Job Centre, a job card caught his eye: 'Wanted: trainee retail managers'.
Five hundred and sixty applicants chased six positions. He pleaded his case at an interview and ended up being selected. After a two-week training course in the seaside town of Southport, he passed with honours, achieving the rank of assistant manager. When asked where he'd like to ply his newfound retail skills, he chose London, a city paved with gold.
In October 1980, he left Huddersfield a naive child, and returned three and a half years later a wiser and more mature young man. A brief period of letting his hair down followed, catching up on lost time and lost youth. During these wild and hedonistic months, he met the love of his life and future wife, Melanie.
His career in retail spanned six and a half years with five different companies but to realise his dream he would have to go it alone. Not long after his twenty-sixth birthday, he handed in his notice. His future lay in leather jackets. Unfortunately, no one shared this vision and his aspirations fell at the first hurdle.
The prospect of returning to the retail trade pushed him into pursuing a different path. He reached a compromise and worked as a self-employed agent for one of the nation's largest insurance companies. The job title, Financial Consultant, exaggerated the role. In reality he was nothing more than a desperate insurance salesman. Life was hard and the insurance industry ruthless. Trying to sell a product that nobody wants, and which by its nature will never benefit the payee, is not easy. Unlike most recruits, he managed to survive and learnt some difficult but valuable lessons.
His 'Big Break' came when he was asked to invest in a fledgling printing business. The first year's accounts showed greater losses than actual sales. Against all professional advice he jumped at the chance, re-mortgaged his house and bought an equal stake.
By accident rather than design, he'd finally found his true vocation. The company was losing money hand over fist. The bank had taken a second charge on the partners' homes and his investment was swallowed up in a black hole of debt. Just when things couldn't get any worse, the bank called in the overdraft. While others worried, he applied himself to the problem. Through hard work and determination they weathered the storm, but casualties were high.
After thirteen years of blood, sweat, and holding back the tears, he ended up owning a modestly successful little business. The time was right to begin his journey to a dream.
Craig's writing career began in 2004 when he was asked to pen a weekly column for an online magazine. Over the last few years he has written a number of articles for the Trinity Mirror Group and online publications such as CNN, My Destination, and Insiders Abroad.
In 2013 he published his first travel memoir, Journey To A Dream. It tells the story of a turbulent first twelve months in Galicia. Since then he has added Beyond Imagination, Endless Possibilities and Opportunities Ahead to The Journey series.
As well as writing, Craig is an enthusiastic winemaker and owns a small vineyard.
Follow him on Facebook or visit his website and blog:
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Sell up, move abroad, and live the good life. How difficult could it be?
“I found it hard to put down laughed, smiled & loved the journey.”
“Funny, interesting and hugely enjoyable read.”
“I have read a lot of travel books and this one is up there with the best.”
“A great read describing life in Spain wonderfully.”
“This is an exceptionally well written book and the author paints a vivid picture of the people and the country.”
Craig Briggs dreamt of a new life, free from the stresses and strains of modern living. Unlike most of us, he decided to follow his dream.
In May 2002, Craig, his wife Melanie and their dog Jazz packed all their worldly belongings into their ageing executive saloon and headed off to Spain. Not for them the tourist-packed Costas of the Mediterranean or the whitewashed villages of Andalucia. They chose Galicia, an unspoilt paradise in the northwest corner of Spain.
With help from the locals, they quickly settle in to their laidback lifestyle. Long, lazy lunches fill their days and lively village fiestas keep them up until the early hours.
It’s only when they start searching for a new home that the problems begin. They encounter a freelance estate agent of dubious character and risk life and limb tiptoeing through dirty, derelict, and dangerous buildings.
Worse follows: a brush with the law, a builder who downs tools, a floating swimming pool, and the mysterious disappearance of their life savings.
Join Craig, Melanie and Jazz along a colourful, bumpy and sometimes perilous journey and immerse your senses in the sights, sounds, and tastes of a Spanish adventure.
“I loved this book and found I just could not put it down. I just can't wait to read the next one.”
“Well written and fun to read.”
“Absolutely couldn't put this book down and really didn't want this 'journey' to end.”
“I can’t wait for the sequel!”
Craig and his wife Melanie have put their hearts and souls into lovingly restoring a ruined Galician farmhouse and converting it into a holiday rental property. Their financial future rests on making it a success. Will their hard work pay off, or will they find themselves short on luck and out of pocket?They approach their challenge with optimism and enthusiasm, and pull out all the stops. Travellers from around the world are treated to an evening of free wine and tapas, but not everyone plays by the rules. Spring, summer, and autumn are dedicated to their fledgling enterprise. Winter belongs to them. Their destination of choice is the Costa del Sol. Often referred to as the Costal del Crime, it doesn’t take them long to find out why.Craig’s flowing writing style invites the reader to share in their adventures. Experience the highs and lows, and the tears and joys of a route less travelled.
When the dream becomes a reality, the results are beyond imagination
“Very enjoyable! Highly recommended.”
“I love Craig's writing style that often had me laughing out loud.”
“… I was looking forward to this one, and it didn't disappoint.”
“Really enjoying this series of books. Good escapism.”
Craig Briggs’s bestselling travel memoir Journey To A Dream told the true-life story of his move abroad with wife Melanie and their dog Jazz. Not for them the tourist-packed Costas of the Mediterranean or the hills of Andalucia; they chose Galicia, an unspoilt paradise in the northwest corner of Spain.
In Beyond Imagination Craig and Melanie begin to realise their dream and finally take procession of their new house. When it comes to choosing a name for their new home one phrase stands about above the rest El Sueño (The Dream).
Transforming a sunbaked barren plot into a garden oasis tests his resolve and physique. An eye for a bargain sends them on a quest to secure a national treasure. As the adventures unfold new challenges appear.
Village neighbours are quick to introduce themselves and eager to assist when a communications oversight jeopardises their future, but even they are powerless to help when planning officialdom threatens to shatter their dream.
Stroll hand in hand with Craig and Melanie as they settle in to their new surroundings, and journey with them as they embark on a life Beyond Imagination.
“… I would recommend this to anyone…”
“It left me with a happy feeling…”
“Interesting, well written and an enjoyable read.”
“So inspiring… Great book, looking forward to the next one.”
How far would you go for the one you love?
“Quirky, funny, great reading. Five stars with no hesitation.”
“Well written, humorous and enjoyable.”
“I have been addicted to reading this series… Can't wait for the next instalment.”
“Amusement and much, much more.”
Life in the Spanish region of Galicia just keeps getting better for Craig Briggs, his wife Melanie and their faithful hound, Jazz. This is the third book in The Journey series which began with Craig’s bestselling travel memoir JOURNEY TO A DREAM.
In ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES Craig’s attempts at winemaking produce mixed results but fail to dampen his enthusiasm. Life in the Galician countryside is rarely uneventful and when Melanie is rushed to A&E it’s Craig who has to pick himself up off the floor.
Having successfully bought, renovated, and sold a property they decide to seek out a new project. After months of searching they eventually find their prize, a romantically appealing farmhouse in a ruinous condition. When the slow turning wheels of Spanish bureaucracy threaten to scupper their plans they’re forced to hold their nerve.
More adventures follow. A birthday surprise ends with Melanie in tears and a festive break to Lanzarote puts Jazz in a spin.
Tasked with preparing their friends’ house for holiday letting, Craig and Melanie find themselves in a race against time. Broken bones and blocked drains conspire to defeat their efforts. With confirmed reservations just weeks away, they have little choice but to soldier on.
Craig’s easy reading style, keen sense of humour, and attention to detail transport the reader on a journey of ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES.
“Very enjoyable! Highly recommended.”
“A brilliant well written book!”
“It's a fun story…”
“Craig's prose is so easy to read, and I can't wait to start book four!”
Follow Craig and his wife Melanie as they strive to complete their building project on time and within budget. Establishing a holiday rental property is a risky and challenging business. A late booking is no joke when frantic preparations lead to a personal injury and a mix-up at the hospital ends in hysterics.
Their journeys take them from Galicia to the Costa del Sol, England, and Portugal. They visit palaces and cathedrals, churches and castles, and a day trip to a ski resort is an eye-opening experience. Tour with them as they drive along stunning coast roads and circumnavigate breathtaking waterways. Food is a passion and wine their obsession. They feast on the gastronomy of Galicia, English staples, Portuguese specialities, Chinese delicacies, and Indian delights.
At the heart of their exploits are the wonderful characters they meet along the way, from helpful neighbours to caring professionals; local characters to airline jobsworths.
He’s done it again. Craig has crafted another page-turner that will have you laughing and crying in equal measure and leave you hungry for more.
Could you leave your keys under the doormat and let strangers commandeer your home?
“A great addition to a wonderful series.”
“Craig's writing makes me feel like he has known me for a long time and is telling me as a friend about his experiences as an expat in Spain.”
“After reading this I just had to go back and read the previous 3 books again…”
“Excellent, funny book Craig. Love the humour.... Typifies life among the Spanish.”
Craig Briggs and his wife Melanie moved to Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain in May 2002. His bestselling memoir JOURNEY TO A DREAM tells the story of their challenging first year. Since then their lives have changed beyond imagination. OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD is the fourth book in The Journey series.
In OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD Craig and Melanie finally take possession of a romantic ruined farmhouse in the sleepy village of Vilatán but all is not as it seems. Hidden behind the picturesque facades of quaint village houses lies a family feud of biblical proportions. When sibling rivalry threatens to delay their renovation project, the local community rallies to their aid.
The shortcomings of buying a property without public utilities soon surface. Mystical powers and divine intervention locate a likely water source but connecting to the national electricity grid proves far more difficult. Progress is slow, hindered in part by the leisurely pace of Spanish bureaucracy. When patience fails, they take matters into their own hands.
Life in Galicia is never dull. Craig and Melanie’s thirst for knowledge takes them into the shady world of moonshine production where a chance encounter with a man of science saves them from getting blind drunk. Craig’s eye for an opportunity produces mixed results, from death defying accidents to intercontinental travel.
More than ever, Craig and Melanie are learning from the past, living in the present, and looking forward to the OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD.
“What an amazing series of books…”
“I like Craig's style of writing, his turn of phrase, humour and wit.”
“Another excellently written book…”
“They truly are living the dream…”
Sell up, move abroad, and live the good life. How difficult could it be?
When Craig Briggs and his wife Melanie followed their dream of a life in the sun, things didn’t go exactly to plan.
Craig’s bestselling memoir Journey To A Dream began this life-changing story. The fifth book in The Journey series, Driving Ambition, chronicles their ever-evolving lives.
In Driving Ambition Craig and Melanie get to grips with their latest property restoration project. Keeping costs down comes at a price. Suppliers and subcontractors test their patience and beasts in the bodegas keep them on their toes. With the help of their builder Manolo, they transform a romantic ruin into luxury accommodation for the discerning traveller.
But there’s more to life than work. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance takes precedence. Their quest for the Holy Grail is a great success and leads to an amazing discovery. Wacky ideas keep life interesting. Who said you need to work in an office to hold an office Christmas party?
Craig’s driving ambitions have mixed results but the trip of a lifetime takes them far from their rural home in Galicia and all the way to Wollongong in Australia via Shanghai in China. A forty-nine-day tour to six countries on three continents, flying 27,000 miles and driving over 13,000 kilometres.
Once again, Craig’s attention to detail and flowing writing style will keep you turning the pages.