Twenty-six years ago I flew into Faro airport for the first time. It was a perfect day for flying and our approach over Ria Formosa, a unique coastal lagoon which constantly changes because of the tides and the winds, looked nothing short of spectacular. Ria Formosa is made up of, barrier islands, marshes, tidal flats islets, dunes, salt pans, freshwater lagoons and is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in Portugal.
Portugal, for me, is sensory overload; whatever the time of year. I wish I could paint, to capture the colours of the verdant umbrella pines, the endless blue skies dotted with puffy, white clouds and the beaches kissed by the waves of the mighty Atlantic Ocean and protected by tall limestone, terracotta-coloured cliffs.
It is a place where I have built memories whilst watching the sunrises and the sunsets in hues of pinks, orange, and gold.
The vibrant nuances of bougainvillea, the heady smell of pine and the cicadas rubbing their wings together in the summer, creating a constant, soothing background hiss.
I’ve always felt a sense of calm here. It’s somewhere I come to unwind and make sense of my life. Somewhere I feel at home, breathing in its aromatic ambiance.
So why twenty-six years on have I still not made The Algarve my permanent home when I am constantly waxing lyrical about it? Even the main protagonist in my current work-in-progress finds her happily ever after just down the road from where I am sitting right now.
So why not me? What is holding me back? Why haven’t I found my happily ever after here… yet? Too much procrastination. I am no longer working 9-5, Monday to Friday. What I do, I can do from anywhere. I only need my Mac and my writing partner. My writing space could be outside for most of the year and I would weave its sensory delights into my writing.
Sometimes, you should allow your heart to rule your head. Life’s so short and twenty-six years dithering about where in the world you want to be is way too long. I could be waking up every morning feeling a sense of calm and living the Ex-Pat’s dream rather than growing older waiting to hear if Brexit is going to put a kibosh on everything.