I would like to introduce John Reid Young who has kindly agreed to an interview with Tenerife Life Magazine. Actually he needs no introduction to many people on this beautiful island we call home, as he has lived here most of his life.
I hope you enjoy his interview as much as I did, definitely left me wanting to know more.
Hi John, Why did you move to Tenerife?
Luckily, I had no choice. You see, I came here when I was eleven days old! My great grandfather, Peter Reid, whom the locals knew as don Pedro el inglés, first came to the islands from Scotland in 1849 to join his cousins in Las Palmas, the already established Scottish merchants Miller and Swantston. He started his own firm in Puerto de la Cruz, (then still known as Port Orotava) in Tenerife in 1865. My grandfather was born here, as was my father.
It had something to do with the local laws of the time I think……in that I would be considered Spanish if I were to have been born here myself, so my parents went to London to make certain I was “British”!
What do you think of Tenerife?
Having lived here for most of my life, and continuously since 1989, I consider it to be home. It is certainly not the tranquil and unspoilt paradise I grew up in because it has become over-developed and over-populated. But the real Canarios are much as they were, friendly, generous and hospitable. Anyway, Tenerife is where I have always considered home to be ever since I was sent to schools in England and Scotland from the age of 9. Most of my life-long friends are Spanish, my wife is a local girl, my two sons have been brought up here and I do consider we are exceptionally lucky to live on this island.
What did you do in the UK?
Before returning “home” in 1989 I was in the Royal Navy for a very brief period and then had one or two jobs in England. Then I decided to go to university as a mature student, first for a combined degree in Law and Politics and then for a Masters Degree in Diplomatic Studies.
What do you do in Tenerife?
Spain has been hit very hard by the economic crisis these past years, with unemployment running at over 20% nationally and at over 30% in the Canaries. I have spent the last 25 years working for a small firm which also ran into difficulties so, although I am still involved with this firm, I set up my own company called Tenerife Private Tours a couple of years ago and offer exclusive guided tours in Tenerife. Book Your Tour Here
In fact I am an official Canary Island tourism guide and I only wish I had been doing this all my life.
I am also a freelance translator of non-official documents and texts and have provided my voice for local film productions, audio guides and numerous documentaries, including Loro Parque, Natural Paradise. I have also been a contributor to the press and am author of a collection of short stories based in Tenerife, the Skipping Verger and Other Tales. (If you would like to read the review please visit Tenerife Life Book Review. )I keep a blog in which I post historical articles and stories about Tenerife and the Canary Islands, with British travellers to the islands and their experiences over the centuries being the main subject. John´s Blog
Do you miss anything about the UK?
The English summer countryside, the country smells (something my wife can’t understand), sitting on the banks of the river, angling for pike in the loch, walking in the drizzle of the Scottish glens, popping in for an ale and a pie at the village pub, playing cricket on a thundery afternoon, spending a day at the Melrose Sevens, going down to Silverstone with a blanket for a race weekend, and so many other things one takes for granted. In fact I miss so many good aspects of the traditional British way of life other nationalities yearn for but which we tend to forget to protect until it is too late to miss them.
What advice would you give someone moving to Tenerife?
Try to learn the language and to mingle with local people. I have seen too many foreigners come to live here and not be bothered to learn the language or to understand local customs and habits. My advice to any traveller, although we are all ”European”, is to remember that we are still no more than “guests” and therefore we should regard and treat our hosts with respect at all times.
Make sure you are not going to be left alone in old age. Better still, if you do come to retire here, make sure this is where you really want to spend your last years before the time comes for help. I’ve seen too many lonely elderly British people in Tenerife and old age can be quite cruel at times.
What has been the most difficult experience in Tenerife?
The economic crisis. It really took toll on the local economy as well as mine.
Would you go back to the UK?
Yes, for the summers, as so many swallows do.
Thanks John, I am sure the readers will love your Interview as much as I did
By Chris Bracken