Moving Abroad: Speaking from the Heart

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We’re so close, I can taste it. A life so sweet, can’t afford to waste it.”
Michael Jackson “We’re Almost There.”

We were rather down in the dumps for much of last week. A combination of the change in seasons, sad / bad news of family and friends, and the sucker punch that was Portugal’s 2013 budget announcement left us feeling rather listless and uninspired.

Yesterday, however, I began to see the wood for the trees.

It’s easy to become so wrapped up in your day-to-day existence that you lose sight of the big picture. When I heard the song quoted above, everything became clear.

It’s a song I’ve quoted before on this blog – just over three years ago, in fact, when we were less than a month away from moving to Portugal from London. I remember the time well. We were working ludicrous hours and trying to fit “moving abroad” into the evenings and weekends. The resulting feeling was somewhere between excited expectation and semi-hysterical exhaustion, and the song always seemed rather poignant.

Moving abroad - not all about the money
Moving abroad - not all about the money

When I heard it yesterday, it wasn’t in some kind of romantic setting. There was neither sand nor sunset in sight. In fact, I was standing on the balcony while rain lashed down, contemplating the fact that the 2013 budget means that we’re looking at yet more years of doing little more than treading water economically.

Hearing that line, and remembering the tremendous sense of anticipation we felt before moving abroad, brought everything into perspective. It’s easy to forget that being here in Portugal is exactly what we worked towards for so much time. We’re no longer “so close we can taste it,” we actually here…we’re doing it….and we’ve made it work for three years in very challenging conditions.

When I wandered back inside, my wife was on the sofa relaxing with a book, the smell of our roast duck had began to waft around the apartment, and a cheap but tasty bottle of red was sitting waiting to be popped. All was well with the world.

We’re all living in a world where just five minutes on a news website can be enough to cause mild despair. But sometimes, you can live in that same world, in exactly the same circumstances, and all it takes is one line of a song to make you shed a tear of happiness. I guess that’s what real life is all about.

Considering moving abroad? I’d recommend it! Please check out our book:

Moving to Portugal: How a young couple started a new life in the sun – and how you could do the same

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7 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. We’re finally “so close, we can taste it”. Having been unable to get anywhere with the house in Ferreiras we have found one in Fonte Santa, nearer our timeshare in Vilamoura, and anticipate completion towards the end of November. Can’t wait to move!
    Thanks for your blog Ben, it’s been so useful, and I can’t believe you’ve been there for 3 years. I’ve bought the Kindle version of your book and it’s next on my reading list.
    Regards, Sue

  2. Hi Ben, wouldnt the world be a dreadful place without music. Glad you are feeling more positive again and hope you enjoyed the duck. Loved the book and have taken it over to our Tavira house for guests to enjoy whilst on their holidays. Cant believe its been three years – where do those years go? Saz

  3. Oh! That’s not good news for a portuguese, which has as it’s most representative music style Fado.
    Like Amália Rodrigues “Lágrima”:

    – “Full of sorrow I lean / With more sorrow I wake…”

    That does not set a person in a good mood to hear for the thousandth time how bad 2013 bufget is…

    PS: Please, forgive me my joke. I’ve certainly undertood what you meant with this post, and I am happy, someone can get some joy in this “sorrow” days…

  4. Hi Sue,

    Good luck with your move – will you be here in time for Christmas?

    Thank you for buying the book.

    Best wishes,


  5. Hi Saz,

    Thank you also for buying the book – I hope your houseguests enjoy it.

    Best wishes,


  6. Hi Bessa – perhaps I’m just becoming more Portuguese and starting to have “fado feelings” ?!

    Best wishes,


  7. Hi Ben,
    Yes we will be there for Christmas. We’d already booked to fly out on 16th Dec and stay at our timeshare for 2 weeks, so have arranged for our furniture to be moved in on 21st. (Should be completed by 15th, all being well.) Then we will come back for our car and drive down.
    Really enjoyed your book; Louise has got a great way of describing things – I had quite a few chuckles. Your section had some good advice, especially regarding registering with the doctor. Our lawyer is dealing with our residence permits, so hopefully we’ll have less of a nightmare than you.
    Thanks again for your wonderful blog and book.
    Best wishes,

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