Sounds familiar? A dream that many share but, though we chose the same country, my story and that of Alyson are very different. I was excited, and very nervous, to meet Aly not long after I started blogging, by invitation to their wonderful home in Ferragudo. I had been following Algarve Blog and comparing notes and experiences, because she and husband Dave lived almost at the opposite end of the Algarve from Tavira. They were lovely hosts and Alyson showed me her artist’s studio with great pride. It was to become key to their new lifestyle, and the development of Alyson’s own very individual style of painting. Me and Michael were plied with banana bread, and regaled with stories of how ‘living the dream’ became a reality for them. Some funny, some more of a warning for what we might face in our own pursuit of the dream.
Little did I know then that I was getting a foretaste of the book she was to write. What we share is an enormous enthusiasm for the Portuguese way of life. Its kind and generous people, who welcome us into their homeland, and tolerate our wilful ways, with little more than an occasional roll of the eyes and a gentle shrug. Alyson has done her best to integrate into the community, and she and Dave give back wherever they can, fund raising for the bombeiros, the crucial fire fighting service here, and Madrugada, for those who need a helping hand. I know from personal experience of Alyson’s generosity with her time and expertise. I struggled mightily with the technical aspects of running a blog at the outset, and she would often offer help. Her artistic flair was never in doubt, and I take great pride in the logos she designed for me, which I still use on Six Word Saturday.
I don’t really need to say more, do I? The book is a wealth of experience for anyone considering the move to a new country. It’s also a travel guide with many enticing recommendations. And it’s a darn good read! I’ll leave you with an early example of Alyson’s art work. I hope she won’t mind.