We’re nearly ten months into our time here in Portugal, which is hard to believe. This time last year, we were living in Boise, Idaho, in transition from Thailand to Portugal, waiting for our Portuguese visas.
It seems like it was just a few months ago we were arriving in Lisbon, staying in a cramped, hot apartment just outside the Portuguese metropolis. A few weeks after arriving in the country, we moved to the Algarve and haven’t looked back.
If you’re not familiar with Portuguese geography (I wasn’t before we moved here), the Algarve is the southernmost region of the country, known for its beaches and tourism. When we first toured the area back in August, as we were deciding where to live, we were initially unimpressed. The landscape looked barren and brown, and I couldn’t understand why so many people holiday here.
Then we found the city we eventually moved to, located in the Western Algarve, and I better understood the charm and draw. And nine months into our time in this incredible region, I completely, absolutely, 100 percent understand the draw.
So that’s all to say: we are happy. We love living in Portugal. And I mean, l-o-v-e it. It feels like a peaceful utopia, a little corner of the world in which we’re able to withdraw from the chaos of the rest of the world. We have a mountain nearby, and incredible beaches, and cliffside trails. The people are kind and helpful. We feel welcomed. And overall, I feel immense gratitude for Portugal and its people.
Living here in the midst of a pandemic has had its challenges, of course. With months of quarantine, we haven’t fully been able to live here, not really. Our visa appointments were cancelled (and then rescheduled with less than a week’s notice). We’ve had to figure out some of the most basic living-in-a-new-country things while at the same time being cut off from the community at large. And being cooped up at home instead of out in the community, I’ve barely learned a lick of Portuguese.
Layer all that with the civil unrest and Black Lives Matter protests back home in the U.S. I’ve felt, at times, like I both desperately wanted to be home marching and eternally grateful to be out of the United States right now.
So we’ve done the best thing we know to do: calm the chaos internally by spending time outside. We’ve spent every weekend at the beach, each Sunday visiting a new location. Something about the water and sand makes everything better, don’t you think?
Ten months in, and I feel like we’re just getting to know this country we now call home. Ten months, and we’re starting to feel a sense of calm amidst the chaos of the world. Ten months, and our family is feeling settled. Stable. After the challenges (and joys) of Thailand last year, we are so grateful to be here! More to come . . . but for now, a few photos.
What’s your favorite country you’ve ever visited or lived in, and why? Please share with me in the comments. I’d love to add your favorite place to my travel list!
We have been lucky enough to have traveled a lot. It’s hard for me to pick just one. We loved Samarkand, Uzbekistan for its rich culture and color. Japan and Iceland we’re both amazing to visit. I could easily move to New Zealand. But there are so many other places yet to explore : )
Japan, Iceland, and New Zealand are on my list! I’ve heard wonderful things about Uzbekistan too. And I agree—so many places to see, so little time to see it all. Thanks for reading and commenting, Christina!
Thanks Stacy for sharing. I’m always impressed by people who “let go and live”. For I, more often, tend to live in a position of fear and the what if’s. I think, imagine if things hadn’t worked out so beautifully fir you and your family. I’ll leave all my fears for you to myself. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful to see and hear about your journey and adventures with your family that I’m sure will always live on in your young children’s memory as they grow and be a source of pride. Thanks fir helping me to think about the possibilities as I dream of my ideal future. Best, Paula
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Paula! I believe it’s never too late to embrace adventure, and reading/thinking about the possibilities is a first step. Kudos to you for dreaming of an ideal future for yourself.
Fun to see your pics, family and fun. Keep the priority. They grow so fast!! Rosie Barfuss
It’s wonderful to hear from you, Rosie! And yes, they do grow fast. 🙂 I hope you are doing well!
Absolutely beautiful pictures Stacy. I love hearing about your journey. Adventure is not our escape from life but our way of ensuring life doesn’t escape us! It’s fuel for my soul. Last March, my brother Mike and his wife Lisa joined Mac and I on a trip to Italy. From the backroads of Tuscany to Montalcino to Cinque Terre, we fell in love! And not with the geographic landscape but with the people as well. As you know, Portugal is on my list. Much love to you and your family.
Thank you for this sweet comment, Jen! I haven’t been to Italy yet but I imagine that was a magical trip. I’ll have to get your advice on must-visit places before we travel there (hopefully next year!). Much love right back to you—and I’ll look forward to sharing Portugal with you someday!
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