I’m writing this from a café in Praia da Luz, a relaxing coastal city in Portugal’s Algarve. This area of the country is where we’ve chosen to make our home—for now, anyway. And I have to say, this place is as close to paradise as anywhere I’ve been in the world.
We’ve lived in three tropical countries: Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Thailand. Each, we felt, promised paradise. And while we love those countries—they still hold such a special place in our hearts—they were not paradise to us. We found our paradise in Portugal.
Why is this paradise? There are so many reasons. The landscape, weather, and vistas are dramatic and surprising. The people have been welcoming. It feels familiar but exotic, comfortable but exciting. The Algarve is nature’s playground, and we love to play! Mountains, beaches, cliffs, sand dunes, trails—there’s a new place to discover every weekend, and yet we often return to the same places because they’re so incredible.
And probably, part of the paradise is the sense of being settled. For nearly two years, we were completely unsettled: moving from Boise, moving from Thailand, moving from Boise again. There were visas (which we are still dealing with) and moving logistics and vet visits and immunizations and trying to figure out what school we’d send our kids to. Moving is stressful. Moving to three countries in one year is super stressful.
As much as I love exploration, travel, and adventure, I also crave a sense of place. I crave my home; I crave my office; I crave the routine of everyday. I crave space and time with my family, without a flight to catch the next week. Two years into this wild ride we decided to take back in 2018, just now am I starting to feel that sense of calm and place. And let me tell you, in spite of all the hardships, it has been so worth it.
Today, I feel more refreshed and alive than ever. I am inspired creatively. I am in love with my family. I am getting more professional opportunities than ever before, working with people I admire and doing work that (I hope) is making this world a better place.
I deeply believe in the power of vision, and of sticking through the hard stuff, because you know what? The hard stuff leads you here. The difficult choices, the ones people question and wonder about, the ones that are so out of the norm that no one gets it—those are the ones that make life worth living. I now feel certain that we made a choice that was right and good.
Take risks. Live boldly. Persevere through hardship. On the other side of fear and uncertainty are the rewards of living in alignment with your vision and values.
I can’t wait to explore this beautiful country and the rest of Europe, and to see what’s in store for my family and me in this beautiful life we’ve been granted. Cheesy? That’s fine. I can handle some cheesiness when I feel this aligned, authentic, and grateful.
Life, I believe, is meant to be lived full-out, to be explored, to be tested. What matters isn’t where you live—but that you’re living a life you chose, and that you continue to choose every day. We chose this, and we choose this.
How about you? What choices have you made in alignment with your vision? Please share with me in the comments. I love learning about your journey.