The Road We Didn’t Take

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Hi, Ben here, looking suitably shame-faced as to the amount of time it has taken to write this update post. It’s been so long since I wrote a personal update that some kind readers have even been in touch to check all is well with us, which is very touching. So, today, it’s time to catch everyone up with what’s been happening.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that we planned to move house. Well, to put things quite simply – we didn’t. But, I’m going to take the time to explain what went on.

Earlier in the year, as regular readers will know, we took a trip to the USA, our first “proper” holiday since we moved to Portugal nearly four years ago.

Our New York Holiday Unsettled Us!
Our New York Holiday Unsettled Us!

On our return we felt rather unsettled, and struggled to get back into our regular routine. This wasn’t helped by the fact my wife went freelance at the start of the year, which meant our routine bore no resemblance to the one we were used to anyway.

Time in New York and Florida reopened our eyes to various things: culture, the theatre, a huge array of dining options and, above all, the size of the world outside our tiny Algarve village.

In some way, our brains rebelled, and we became convinced it was time for a change, so we decided, quite impulsively, that we wanted to move to Lagos before the start of the summer. Lagos is a sizeable town/city in the west of the Algarve, which is rather more varied and cosmopolitan than where we live now.

So, we set off on some viewing trips and came very close to moving, but the fates conspired to convince us that a move West wasn’t meant to be.

Lagos - Not Meant To Be!
Lagos – Not Meant To Be!

First, we found an apartment we loved, and arranged a day to collect the keys, only to find on “move day” that the owner has decided to sell it instead of rent it out.

Deflated, we zoomed around several estate agents and found another apartment, put down a deposit, and returned a couple of weeks later to collect the keys.

Well, it turned out this wasn’t meant to be either. From the moment we entered the property, everything felt wrong. Then we met the next-door neighbour, who was a bit of an oddball and someone who, it transpired, had a key to the apartment that he was reluctant to relinquish. This was just one of several boring issues that combined to give us the desire to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, we hadn’t burned any bridges in the East Algarve, and we were able to return home and remove the estate agent’s signs.

With summer approaching, we’ve now resigned ourselves to staying put, and somehow it feels right – not just a resigned, giving-in kind of right, but REALLY right.

Since the day we got back, we’ve spent great times with friends and visitors, met lots of great people and made real progress with our Portuguese. Right now, it feels almost strange that we felt compelled to have a change, when there’s really nowhere we’d rather be than here.

This will do for now :-)
This will do for now 🙂

So, for now at least, the East Algarve is where we plan to stay – and if we do move in the future, I have to say it’s unlikely that it will be to Lagos. We’ve come to associate the place with being stressed, and spending far more time than anyone really wants to in estate agents’ offices. We’ve also discovered that “that end” of the Algarve is windy almost all the time and considerably cooler than the sheltered area we’ve become used to.

What we have learned from the whole experience, however, is that we need to spend more time exploring the country we now call home. One of the key reasons behind our wanting to move was to vary our routine and stop living a “small town” life in the same shops, bars and restaurants. We’re determined to spend our free time doing more so we avoid having another identical summer. Hopefully, that will give me plenty to discuss here on this blog. I’ll try my best not to leave it so long before my next update.

Wondering about moving abroad yourself, or want to hear more about our experiences? Please consider buying a copy of 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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6 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Hi,

    Just read your intentions to move. From Tavira to Lagos there is no point, in my opinion.

    Cultural life in the algarve is short, but Faro is by far the center of it.

    If you want to change your life into something more cosmopolitan, than I suggest you start spending some time in Lisbon.

    There you need time to discover where things are happenning but as soon as you get into the flow its lovely….obviously the trafic is terrible….


    PS-I should have written this in Portuguese….

  2. Hi CcoR,

    Thanks for your comment. Lisbon is certainly close to our hearts and we do pop up there from time to time for a bit of big city culture. I agree with you about the traffic though!

    Best wishes, Lou

  3. Hi!
    Good luck with your discoveries. Maybe some weekends in the capital and further north will do the trick for a change of scenery?

  4. Hi Fernando – definitely! There is so much more to central and northern Portugal than we have seen so far and we intend to spend much more time exploring this year. We will of course report back on the blog 🙂
    Best wishes, Lou

  5. Hiya
    Sorry you had so many problems in Lagos but glad you feel back ‘at home’ again in cabanas. Saz

  6. Thanks Saz, we are definitely glad to be home 🙂

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