Charting a couple's move from London to Portugal, tales, adventures and moving advice

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Just Another Day in… Portugal

Posted on October 02, 2012 by Ben Algarve

Many times, I have lamented the fact that people widely assume those of us living abroad do nothing all day but float in the pool drinking mojitos.

Even friends who visit us get a false impression, perhaps not realising that we work 12-hour days and see no daylight for at least a week to get ahead and have time to spend with them when they arrive.

Having said that, I would never deny that I now have a far better work / life balance than I had back in the UK. It is, after all, one of the reasons I moved to Portugal in the first place.

London Tube - I Don't Miss this Part of my Day

London Tube - I Don't Miss this Part of my Day

With this in mind, I have decided to detail a typical working day for a freelance writer and IT geek living in Portugal – that person being me.

The day in question is yesterday – a day where that work / life balance was just perfect. It’s not always like that – but it’s what I aim for!

9AM: Woke up, grabbed laptop, and went through my usual morning routine: Cleared the spam from my email accounts, checked the commission earned from my various online endeavors, then browsed quickly through Facebook, Twitter, News (Portugal and UK), weather, and a few forums I frequent.

9.30AM: Checked how many copies of Moving to Portugal – The Book had sold during September (a pleasing number), updated my book sales spreadsheet, then dealt with a few emails, mostly related to book promotion but also a couple of technical bits and bobs from IT clients in London.

9.45AM: Settled down to put the finishing touches to a magazine article about property in Portugal – finalized some text and edited some pictures of houses.

11.30AM: Decided to grab a quick dip in the bath and a read couple of chapters of my book (John Stienbeck’s “East of Eden” – a book that has been frequently passed over for lighter reads, but one I am now forcing myself to persevere with). One of the main benefits of being a self-employed homeworker is the ability to get properly “up” whenever I like – but if I have to actually speak to anyone, I must be properly presentable.

East of Eden - A Highbrow Bath Choice

East of Eden - A Highbrow Bath Choice

12 NOON: Wife popped out to dry cleaners, picked up lovely fresh rolls and made delicious chicken and sweetcorn rolls with Sunday dinner leftovers.

12.30: Sat down to make a few work calls, but made the mistake of trying to contact people in Portugal during the three-hour “lunch window.”

1.00PM: Heard from magazine editor that she is happy with my article, with just a few tweaks to be made. Celebrated by heading off on my moped to get some sunshine.

1.30PM: Stopped at the hamlet of Cacela Velha where I was thwarted from a planned walk due to high tide, but managed to spot birds of prey of some description.

View from Cacela Velha

View from Cacela Velha

1.45PM: Stopped at a small cafe for an espresso. Checked email on my phone and electronically signed a contract to do a batch of six IT articles for a regular client. This ensures extra money but means another venture out on the moped will be unlikely before the weekend. Also confirmed a few of hours of remote IT support with clients for later in the week.

2.00PM: Moved on to Manta Rota and did a swift 5km walk along the shore and back (using the much loved Pedometer app on my phone). Headed home with just a very quick stop for a can of Iced Tea.

Manta Rota Walk

Manta Rota Walk

4.00PM: Back to work. Dealt with new emails, made the last of my calls, completed and sent the final version of my article and sent out a couple of invoices.

5.00PM: Blog stuff: answered comments, removed spam (grr), made a start on this post.

6.00PM: Had a quick look at the titles of the technical articles for the next day (so my subconscious could make a start during the night), and headed to my local for a quick pre-dinner Super Bock.

8.00PM: Settled down for something my wife and I call “picky dinner” – basically composed of whatever we can find in the fridge and cupboards when we don’t want to go to the shop.

Portugal "Picky Dinner"

Portugal "Picky Dinner"

So, with that committed to text, what did I miss out? OK, I’ll be honest: about 15 more checks of Facebook, five of Twitter, several cigarettes and a cheeky couple of Ferrero Rochers…..BUT no cocktails and certainly no floating in the pool!

Even so, yesterday was a good day. Today will be less so, as I have all those IT articles to write. I’d better get on with it.

Thinking of working on your own work / life balance? Please check out our book:

Moving to Portugal

Tube image with thanks to Wikimedia Commons.

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4 to “Just Another Day in… Portugal”

  1. Alyson says:

    oh and there was me thinking of you doing exactly that – floating in the pool and slurping cocktails all day!
    I’ve been told off this summer for not having a better suntan as I have been in my studio so much!
    and we have ‘picky dinners’ too – we call them ‘ifits’ – if it’s in the fridge/freezer you can have it! 😉
    thanks for sharing the average day – it’s got me thinking too (too much time on Facebook?!!!)

  2. Kate says:

    The three hour lunch catches us out all the time! We’ve been in PT for four months and still get down to the bank/mechanics/vets/shop during the lunch ‘hour’. We then sit with a coffee waiting for the relevant place to re-open. Hence half the day gone. 🙂

  3. admin says:

    @aly – I have noticed that none of the “long-term expats with jobs” have suntans really!

    @Kate – thanks for reading the blog and trust you’re loving it here in Portugal 🙂

    Best wishes,

    Ben

  4. Marco says:

    Hi there this does sound wonderful. But maybe the book should be titled how to live in Portugal whilst earning money from uk. We moved here in 2000 at just 29 years of age and started a young dynamic tourist business. Today we employ 3 people and business gets better year by year. However my time at the moment is constantly filled with meetings with lawyers accountants and general bureaucracy that eats into your time and creativity. Just look at the complications of setting up up a ltd company and the headache of issuing facturas .Really if you want to live here and be part of you local community and offer jobs to those that live around Then that is real integration and you may haveS something to offer in your book otherwise how you caught up on your twitter in the local cafe is rSeally missing the point of living in Portugal and is about as informative as BeyonceS new hair do..



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