January 2020. A news report ‘coming out of China’ advised of a new virus. Suggestions were that the virus was like the one that caused SARS. China rarely shares anything other than shipping containers. So, take note.
Little did we know the impact it was going to have. Two years later, we still don’t know. But so much has changed.
For me personally, those changes are significant. Some have happened. Some are in motion. Some are planned. Some are unknown.
In the last year alone, I have made significant progress towards my Portugal adventure. I sold my house in the latter part of 2020. The sale was completed in February 2021. It removed a significant commitment to remaining in the UK and a massive step forward. I’m renting a small house, short-term in the UK. But I have removed the anchor of a house I need to sell.
My mindset changed. All of a sudden I was less focused on bricks and mortar. The “status symbol” of a large house “showing off” success vanished. Literally evaporated. It honestly felt liberating.
Focus turned to practical things I need to do in preparation for my move. I have a long list and, where possible, I have begun to get things lined up. I have turned my intention to move to Portugal into actual commitments.
NIF, bank, learning Portuguese and buying a car
I am keen to demonstrate and prove my commitments to Portgual by getting things completed in plenty of time. I applied for my NIF eighteen months before I move to Portugal. I’m ahead of the process as I didn’t want to apply for my NIF only to secure my D7 visa application.
This enabled me to open a Portuguese bank account on my scouting trip in September. Since then, I have transferred some sizeable amounts into my Portuguese account. These funds, which are far more than needed for my D7, will be held in Portugal for more than a year before I apply for my visa. Further commitment has included purchasing shares in Portuguese companies.
While on my scouting trip, I connected with several people, all of whom have been so helpful. I have since appointed a Portuguese lawyer who is assisting in some property discussions and guidance.
I started learning Portuguese in July and have just completed my second block of lessons. I will continue learning through several different ways although when I need to add this to my personal statement for the D7, I will be able to demonstrate that I have been learning Portuguese for more than a year. When I say demonstrate, that is perhaps not in fluent Portuguese – but I have proof I have been learning.
On returning from the scouting trip, I bought a left-hand drive car. This was not necessary to demonstrate my intention to move to Portugal but I put it down to sensible planning for when I want to matriculate a car to Portugal. It has all the necessary European paperwork and registration documents and it won’t need any modifications to take and register it in an EU country.
I’ve taken out a mobile phone contract which will give me at least a year of paying a bill in Portugal. As the account is not registered to a Portuguese address it may not count for much, but when I call from my Portuguese phone number it gets answered almost every time. Unlike from a UK number.
I continue to undertake periodic decluttering and minimalisation. Little and often is the approach. Every couple of weeks I drop a bag or two off at the charity shop. I’ve several items that I’ve earmarked to sell. And more to give to family members. My daughters’ “bottom draws” are bulging.
Strangely, this is only half of what I’ve achieved as the amount of research, planning and scheduling is immense. The amount of walking and sightseeing I’ve done on Google maps is ridiculous. I’ve explored villages, river beaches and places of interest. Deep-diving into specific towns and areas to help with orientation. And I’ve done so many property searches.
When I reflect on how much progress I have made, I am pleased. I am actually a little taken back. Yes, I could probably get an honorary degree in planning, but it’s helped me so much. I’ve achieved a lot over the last year and I deserve to take a little time off over the festive period!
When we entered the pandemic I, like many people, believed that everything would be back to normal in a few weeks. Very naïve! Everyone has a tale and a story to tell from the last couple of years.
As the enormity of the pandemic hit, my perspective changed. My distant ambition of moving abroad remained an answer to the question “where do you see yourself in five to ten years?”. Yeah, I could see myself living abroad in five or ten years. But the pandemic has definitely accelerated that.
Typically my approach is “just do it” and then find solutions to challenges that arise. But increasingly I’ve found myself researching and planning for every eventuality in my decision making. Making decisions based on gut feeling or simply through confidence has waned.
Often I would have intent, but not commitment. I would procrastinate. Feel the need to consider every option. I became a champion in talking myself out of doing things. I needed to justify everything. Have an answer ready for when I was challenged. Even if I was challenging myself.
Decision making and procrastination
Relatively simple things like what to do, or where to go on a day out were big decisions. I felt as though everyone’s eyes judging me. I’d got myself into a pickle where I was making decisions based on other people’s views or opinions.
Reflecting on how I’d got myself into that position was helpful. Much of it stems from the work environment or personal relationships. Losing confidence in my ability and decision making in work has had a massive impact on all aspects of my life. I know I over consult compared to my natural position of just making the decision. Minimising the risk or impact of decisions during the impact has been crucial. But delaying, or not making, decisions increases risk as well.
This definitely spun into my personal life. I was hesitant in making even the smallest decisions that involved other people. Maybe I was trying to please everyone all the time. Maybe I wasn’t being honest with myself. Or maybe it was just circumstances or people. Who knows.
As soon as I started making decisions it gave me confidence. Once I had made a decision it was so much easier to focus on what I needed to do rather than what I might do.
Just do it. Thank you Nike.
Just do it. No point in waiting. I made the decision to put my house on the market within about five minutes. Estate agents were called, valuations completed and contract signed. It felt right. It felt good. I’d made a decision. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t acted on my gut, I would’ve talked myself out of it.
Now, as we head towards 2022, there are so many things to organise and arrange, but I’m confident and ready. I’ve made massive progress and I have a plan. I am so anal about planning!
Finally, I’d like to do a quick shout out to 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.
For me, 2022 is going to be a massive year. It’s going to be full of change, present emotional challenges and bring lots of fun.
Featured image, a beautiful lake on an awesome afternoon at Pedra Furada, Montelavar, Portugal by kind permission of Wendell Adriel
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Thank you. Muitio obrigado, Marc