If we are lucky in our lives, we get unexpected windows of opportunity, a chance to do something totally different, to change tack or to travel a different path. Two years ago this month, I was offered an impromptu visit to Portugal – it was to change my life for ever. I knew if I missed this opportunity I would regret it for life. Six weeks later, I relocated here.

I moved from South West England to South West Portugal. As one of my best friends rather quaintly put it, “I moved from the ass end of nowhere to the ass end of the ass end of nowhere.”

From Here to there:

From this house:

To this house:

I am proud to say that I now live in Alentejo, a very beautiful part of Portugal. Alentejo is a rural/agricultural region famous for its produce–  particularly olives, wines and fruit, its cork and its beautiful countryside and beaches.

The pace of life here is very much governed by nature – in summer we rise early with the sun – in winter we get a lie in! Garden crops are often still planned by the moon and almost all gardens are for food – not a blade of grass in sight.

Alentejo is dotted with small villages each with their own customs, their own histories and their own stories to tell. They celebrate their lives in their art, their music and their food. Each area has its own bread and sometimes their own vegetable or specialist dish. They hold festivals to celebrate all of these where traditional clothing is worn and ancient songs are sung and history is made all over again.

I hope to share with you my adventures and journeys throughout Alentejo and beyond as I explore the wealth of Portugal.

Posted by Nicola

22 Comments

  1. A beautiful story, Nicola, thank you for telling us about your journey.

    Why was the offer to visit Portugal so important to you? Why was the offer made, and what clicked inside you to warn you against turning down the invitation?

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    1. The initial visit was for work opportunities – a chance to enable me tocarry on with my previous life with more financila stability. However I did not count on having my heart stolen by a tall dark frenchmans while I was there, Having said that Portugal stole my heart too. So instead of saying No Isaid why not? And have continued to do so ever since.

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      1. It looks like Kismet was on your side, Nicola! You have a “good gut” and Malcolm Gladwell would be proud of you! SMILE!

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        1. The trick is to continue to say “why not?” and to leave the old habbits and negative behaviour patterns behind as they are usually learned responses to outdated circumstances.

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  2. Nicola, lucky you!! Do let us know more and enjoy your stay!!

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    1. Staying for good now !

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  3. I cannot wait for the day I travel to my first country outside of the US. Even though traveling to a new state can seem like traveling to another country on it’s own, I am itching to get the full experience.

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    1. Come to India, Brielle! You get to see Himalayas to desert to beaches to what not! I will happily be your tour guide!:)

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      1. Oh that sounds like a lot of fun! If i ever head to India you will definitely be on the top of my list for tour guides!

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      2. Does this invitation go out to others as well? I have a small family that would benefit well from such a visit.:)

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        1. Gordon! Any day! Let me know! :)

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      3. Sounds like party at your place sometime soon Katha !

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    2. I cannot recommend travelling enough – especially when you are younger and able to enjoy everthing the world has to offer while you are fit enough to enjoy it.

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  4. What a fantastic story, Nicola! I too would like to know what compelled you to visit, and then how this led to your move a short while later.:)

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    1. As I have replied to Davis – work initially then love of a man and a country. I hope in the following weeks to share a little of why I love the country so much.

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  5. […] was supposed to be sharing more of Portugal today — but as I am in France this weekend, it seemed to be more appropriate to share five […]

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  6. […] of the unexpected advantages of my move to Portugal is the change in my everyday diet and the results on my health and my weight.  Portugal is a low […]

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  7. […] in rural Portugal was one of the first, and the hardest, lessons I had to learn on arrival here. In Portugal, with the exception of a few pampered pooches and overindulged kitties in the cities, most animals […]

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  8. […] close to the sea in Portugal, we are blessed with an abundance of seafood.  A favourite starter is often a shared dish of […]

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  9. […] I am new to Portugal, and as I do not speak the language apart from a few basics, I had expected that there would be […]

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  10. […] is the administrative centre for Southern Alentejo and it was administration that took us there today. Mr P had to renew one of his residence permits […]

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