The end of the year is, for me, a time to reflect and a time to look forward. And time to action plans. The first of January is a false trigger. The reality is that it is no different to any other day, but it does give a pivotal point to make changes.
The coming year is going to be massive for me. It’s going to be challenging. It’s going to challenge me. It’ll be tough at times. Both practically and emotionally. I will be able to influence some things and action others. Much though, will be outside my control and I will need to work hard to navigate around these.
Practically I’ve been productive over the fortnight of Christmas and New Year. I’ve done a lot of housekeeping on my “project plans”. The list of tasks to do shrunk. Quietly, I have been completing things. Some are simple. Others massive steps.
Ticket to Portugal
One way ticket to Portugal, booked. Yep, I’ve booked my ticket to Portugal.
It’s a massive step as I now have a provisional date to move to Portugal. Provisional as there are lots of technical things I need to finalise. Not least, securing my D7 Visa and there is some flexibility over the ticket, but it has to be used during 2022.
Now I have a specific date in 2022, it focuses my schedule around a fixed date. Currently, it dovetails with leaving my rented property and a couple of other key things happening in the summer of 2022. However, I know I might need to do some sofa surfing for a while.
I’ve bags of excitement and positivity about 2022. I even did a jig to I even did a jig once I’d booked my ticket. It’s liberating and a powerful statement. A huge leap forward. No more procrastinating. No more finding excuses. It’s all systems go.
It’s come at a great time too as the last couple of months feels that progress has slowed. Maybe because during the earlier part of the year I was focused on organising my first scouting trip which took place in September. Since returning, I have made progress but perhaps not with the vigour as the spring and summer of 2021 as I didn’t have a fixed date to work towards.
That is not to say that I haven’t made progress. I definitely have, although in a less obvious or explicit way.
D7 Visa preparation
Following booking my ticket to Portugal, it’s on to building my D7 application schedule. Working back from the provisional date, I can identify key dates that I need to complete the various aspects of my application.
I’ve worked out the timeline to obtain my criminal record check and health insurance. The key dates I need to ensure I’ve all the proof of my income and balances in my Portuguese bank account. I have a period to write my personal statement and obtain supporting documentation.
Critically, it puts a timeframe on securing a fixed address in Portugal. Either a property I own or I a 12-month rental agreement. The time is ticking. This is going to be the most challenging aspect. But I’ll achieve it. I’ll find a way.
Early in the New Year, I will make contact with the Portuguese Embassy in London to confirm the process and book my appointment.
Obtaining the D7 Visa should be a relatively straightforward process. There are detailed instructions and the criteria and evidence you need to provide is clear. However, interpretation of these criteria and validation of the evidence does vary.
There are many companies available that can support this process, but I want to fully understand the process myself. Therefore, I will continue to compile all the information required and complete the D7 Visa requirements myself, in the knowledge I can call on professional assistance if required.
I’ll start on the basis that “if it’s meant to be, it’s up to me”.
Minimalising and decluttering
Towards the end of 2020, I undertook a lot of minimalisation and decluttering. All my possessions were in storage as the sale of my house had been delayed. It was a time when I had the bare minimum. Pretty much a bed, chair, table and a few kitchen utensils.
I decluttered before putting things into storage and did more when I moved in. However, like most people when they move, I have some boxes I just haven’t opened. With constant rain, dark mornings and nights, I’ve taken the opportunity to revisit many of those boxes.
On opening the boxes, most things fall into two categories “things” I want or need to keep. It’s time to get tough and really challenge more of my thinking. I am not a hoarder, but at times I do like to hold on to things. Gradually, the pile for the charity shop grows, my daughters’ “bottom draws” are growing and I’ve more items to sell. It’s time to get more ruthless.
I am struggling with one item in particular though. My car. I’m not entirely sure why as I have already purchased a left-hand drive car so I now have two cars at my disposal. I’ve driven fewer miles in the last year than in any single year that I’ve been driving. But I’m going to admit I’m struggling to let it go and sort it out.
Maybe because I am not sure when the optimum time to sell a car is. Perhaps I have an unconscious bias towards the motor trade. Possibly there are just too many options available to sell it. Idleness? Hesitation? Reluctance? Caution? Whatever it is I have to get over it and just do something about it.
I have though sorted out all the paperwork. I’ve got the spare key in the presentation box that I was given when I bought the car. All I need to do is take all my things out of the car, valet it and then get a price for it. It’s not that difficult, is it?
As more companies move towards two-factor authentication, it challenges me whether I need to use this company. Let me stress, I fully support improved security issues but I know that when I move to Portugal using a UK mobile for authentication can cause problems. So I’m using this change in security to validate whether I still need this account.
As part of a major decluttering exercise a year ago, I closed a significant number of online accounts. The ones that are automatically opened when you purchase something from a retailer. For a brief period, I became addicted to clicking the unsubscribe link on emails (from reputable companies).
At Christmas and New Year though, there is always an increase in emails offering seasons greetings. No hiding from the fact that these are “polite” marketing emails. This flurry has given me the ability to unsubscribe and change my preferences even more.
Another digital declutter has been reducing my domain name squatting. Over the last twenty years, I’ve built a small portfolio of domain names. Some have been sold although I have continued to hold quite a few. When I went through my previous digital declutter, I reduced the number of domains significantly. Now, except for personal domains, all of the .uk domains either have or are about to, expire.
Small steps lead to larger steps
Eighteen months into my adventure I have made some incredibly small steps, which have led to larger, more adventurous steps. Each one, whether small or large, is a step closer and builds on the previous steps.
I’m sensing a few hurdles ahead, but remaining focused, and with a specific date now on the horizon, it’s likely to swiftly move to a hop, skip and jump.
Portugal, it’s going to happen in 2022!
As always, I’d like to thank everyone who reads my blog. I am humbled by your interest in my little world. I write for myself and I write in the way I read. I’ve always approached this as my personal blog. I enjoy writing and helps me think things through. Bordering on therapy I guess.
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Thank you. Muitio obrigado, Marc