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Best Laid Plans - Planning to Emigrate During a Pandemic

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

In my previous and first instalment of our plans to move ourselves and my business abroad, we ended on making the "well thought out" choice of Portugal to be our new home. If you haven't seen this previous blog you can find it here:

Our initial plan was to do a "recce" road trip in our camper to discover where in the country we wanted to settle, but then 2020 happened...........

A Global Pandemic Sized Stumbling Block

As my husband and I celebrated NYE 2019 at our house in Ulverston with some friends, we were both giddy with excitement about the big trip we had planned for the summer! I turned 40 in 2020 and it seemed like the perfect way to celebrate it, with a month-long road trip around what was going to be our new home country, Portugal. We had heard murmurs on the world news about a virus breaking out over in China, but at the start of 2020, like with most people around the world, we had no idea how this would affect us, 1000's of miles away in the UK. Oh, how we were soo wrong! I won't go into details, because I'm fairly confident whoever is reading this, and thank you by the way :-), will already know how this all unfolded. By the time we went into the first lockdown, with my princess stubbornness and, I admit, refusal to accept just how significant this pandemic was, I was still determined that our trip and my 40th celebrations in June/ July WOULD BE GOING AHEAD!!

First world problems

Once I had a few shameful tantrums and had a word with myself about perspective, I joined the rest of the world in agreeing that plans for 2020 would need to all be put on hold, or at the very least amended dramatically! So, our month-long road trip to ease ourselves in gently and get to know the area's in Portugal we were most interested in moving to, very quickly changed into jumping on a plane as soon as the government allowed us for a 10-day whistle-stop tour of the Coimbra region of Portugal.

When the paused & people planed

Now prior to this, as I'm sure many of you can remember, the first lockdown in the UK we were totally blessed with gorgeous hot days, and for many, our gardens and yardens became our new front rooms. It was during this time of slowing down and pressing pause on our fast-paced lives, that ideas and creativity flourished in many homes. Although this gift of time to slow down and take stock came out of an awful situation, it was the key to my business developing and growing at such a fast rate, that now, Just 1 year on I have a successful and sustainable business I can take anywhere in the world. For this, I will be forever thankful.

Ok so back to Portugal........

Although my husband and I were both still working, Darren was now working full time from home and, at the time I was spending much of my week in the early stages of developing my business. As we were both gifted with this time together at home, we spent many a sunny evening in our garden, craft ale in hand, planning our future lives in Portugal and more importantly how the hell we were going to navigate these plans around a global pandemic! As we had a rough idea, that it would be the Coimbra region we would like to settle in, we also spent many hours looking online at potential properties and daydreaming about our lives in rustic Portuguese villages. It was during these long spring evenings we, with the help of google earth, figure out where our ideal home would be.

House hunting in the style of supermarket sweep!

When lockdown eased in July that year and we were able to book our flights for our 10 day trip! As we had so much time to plan and more importantly dream, by the time we were set to fly, we had already lined up a number of properties to view, but had pretty much decided that one of these was THE ONE!

So with the spreadsheet I created, detailing every day and time of this trip, with google map links and estate agents contact details, to try to get a month's house hunting and exploration of the area fitted into 10 days, we were ready! For those that know me both personally and in business, I usually have a spreadsheet in hand for most events, projects or activities I'm in any way involved in and am flabbergasted just how anyone can live without them!? Yes we make crazy impulsive decisions but guaranteed the journey to any decision started off quite well-structured #spreadsheetqueen #spreadsheetnutter

Aaaaaaand you've probably guessed it, from becoming more aware of our impulsive decision making, we came home from those 10 days abroad, with an offer accepted on our dream forever home!

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