Realizing A Dream – Step 1: Buying Land
“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.”
– Anaïs Nin –
Life in the UAE has an expiry date. Every expat, no matter how many years he or she spends here, can only ever call it ‘home’ temporarily. We have now lived here long enough to understand the impact of a transient society on our hearts and minds. Not only have we said goodbye to various friends, but we have also experienced the uncertainty of job security, when the company Michael first worked at, closed down. Despite many long-term residents, there is no permanent place here for us, and although we love living in the UAE, and are grateful for all the opportunities life here has afforded us, we are also aware that we need to find an answer for our perpetual question, “Where to next?”.
Our desire to return to South Africa has faded over the past six years. It is no longer a country that feels like ‘home’. Politically, socially, and culturally, too much has happened since we left. Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that we have changed. Close contact with different cultures has brought a deeper understanding of what makes us human, and although we haven’t turned into saints, our daily interactions have stretched out cultural preconceptions and values, until, what makes us different is perceived not as a curse, but a blessing. What we know for sure is that we want to live where people are tolerant, and where it is safe.
We think we have found just that. Or perhaps I should say that the country and the land found us. For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of a little piece of land, where I can live close to the earth. A simple life is something both Michael and I yearn for, and although his simple life could easily include sailing around the world, I far prefer solid ground beneath my feet. For the last three years, since good friends of ours bought a piece of land in Portugal, and started creating their dream life, we have turned our attention and conversations to that part of the world. Michael has trawled the property websites with the eyes of a dreamer, and although I looked at the pictures he showed me, nothing really captured my heart. That is, until recently, when he enthusiastically proclaimed, “Found!!!”
Not one to be easily swept up in a wave of excitement or dreams, I looked at the photographs, and just knew that he was right. We asked our friends, who live 30 km away, to go have a look, and started the buying process without stepping foot on the land. When we did, a couple of weeks later, we both instantly felt at home. Dotted with cork oak and olive trees, the land gently slopes in ways that draw the eyes to the horizon, where clouds often gather against a deep blue sky. To my delight, lavender grows wild on the land, and in my mind’s eye, a haze of purple undulates into the distance.
Even though the land has not been transferred into our names yet, contracts have been signed, and money has exchanged hands. And so we have started dreaming about the next step. Building a house.
Wonderful! I wish you good luck with all your plans on this beautiful place.
Ah, thank you so much. We are so excited to embark on this new adventure.
Oh Jolandi, this is wonderful news. I was rather hoping you’d say your destination was Australia, but Portugal is fantastic too. When can we visit? 🙂
As soon as we have some sort of accommodation on the land, Peggy! That said, we can always dig a long-drop and hang some hammocks from the trees for the time being. 😉 I do hope that you and John will make it to our little place one day. We have lofty plans for it.
So how are things coming along?
What would buying land in Portugal be without a tiny land dispute, Peggy? We are waiting for our solicitor to walk the boundary of the land with the agent, current owner, and neighbour (who we were told thinks part of the land being sold to us belongs to them). And as these things tend to go, weeks have passed and we are none the wiser. So, I guess, things are going according to plan . . . 😉
Sorry to hear you are having to jump through the proverbial hoops. But then it wouldn’t be Portugal. Good luck.
Indeed, and ‘thank you’ Peggy. We are not too concerned at this point in time. Simply jumping through the hoops. 😉
We won’t book tickets to visit you just yet! 🙂
Looks like you will have to give us a bit more time. 🙂
Can do! In the meantime, you are most welcome in Australia. Just make sure we are home.
Thank you, Peggy. Yes, to catch you guys at home can become tricky.
We’ll be home soon if you are getting itchy feet!
🙂 Thank you, Peggy! It is certainly tempting, especially as it seems you guys had a wonderful trip, and I would love to hear those stories in person. I’ve just been to Myanmar, so I guess I’ve done my share of travel for the year.
Delighted to hear your good news about the land. Yay!!!! Great that you got to Myanmar too. We lived there in the 1980s.
For years we led a restless, transitory life that was great as it unfolded but I relish the stability I’ve found after settling at last. Good luck, it looks beautiful.
Thank you so much. We are very excited to sprout some roots, and although it will take a while for us to make the final move, it is a project for us to work on, when the daily grind becomes challenging.
The place is so very beautiful : )
We instantly fell in love with it Deepak.
So amazing and such serendipity … after our travels we too have decided to look further afield than SA and are playing with the idea of Portugal or Spain. Planning a trip next year to have a look. Somewhere with the ocean and beach close by. Life is so exciting.
It would be great to be ‘neighbours’. That part of the world is simply gorgeous. At least you guys have a working knowledge of Spanish by now. I am planning some sort of Portuguese immersion for next year. Very exciting.
How exciting! I AM the dreamer type, always looking at places and land and wanting to make them mine. My bank account does not match my wishes, though, so I dream vicariously and this one is a winner! What are the various dwellings or outbuildings? I love the old stone and chuckled at the circular little “hairy” hut! One more question: is your land close to a city where you can/will work, or will your lives be pretty much in the countryside now? Can’t wait to hear about phase 2!
We are very excited, Lex. The stone building with the roof is a barn, while the other ruin was a teeny-tiny house at some point. We are contemplating restoring it, but we are not sure yet. The little ‘hairy’ hut, we are told, is an oven. If it is, we will definitely restore and use it. I’ve always wanted a wood-fired oven for baking bread and pizza! We are 5 km out of town, but an hour’s drive from the nearest small city. The plan is to ‘retire’ there, work the land, and engage in new ways of making money. This will be our long-term project, as we are not financially ready to make the move any time soon. To create a dwelling is definitely the next step . . .
I am enthralled with your plan. Really really can’t wait to see it all take shape. Don’t stop blogging, please!
Well done! I’m in a somehow similar predicament, even though the thought of buying land is waaaay beyond our capabilities. My addition to your problems would be the necessity, actually the urge, to be near, if not in, the mountains… Should you find suitable places would you let me know?
It’d be interesting to hear your impressions on South Africa, a country that I almost ended up moving to when I was, if I remember well, 18.
Good luck with the land!
Thank you, Fabrizio.
Have a look at this website to get an idea of land in Portugal: http://www.pureportugal.co.uk/
Mmm, at this point in time, I will tell you that you were lucky that you didn’t move to South Africa. The amount of crime and corruption, for me, outweighs all positive aspects. BUT we all differ, and look for different things in life. What is true for one is not for another. And paradise on earth simply does not exist. The question is always, “what is more important?” And feeling safe is more important for me. For that, I am prepared to learn a new language, and integrate into a different culture.
That’s sad to hear (I mean about South Africa)… Good luck with learning Portuguese, though!
It is lovely. I hope it will be everything you hope for. Good luck with your next chapter in life.
Thank you so much, Tanja. Your good wishes mean a lot.
How exciting! Wishing you all the best in this new adventure. My husband and I have started to seriously consider purchasing our own land too.
Thank you, Takami. I hope you and your husband will find that perfect piece of land too.
Thank you for your kind words!!
Wonderful news Jolandi. Well then we shall be neighbors as we shall spend the next few years in Europe but mostly in France so let’s meet. Bisous
Thank you, my dear friend! I am looking forward to happy reunions in Europe.
Wow, it is stunning. Your own little piece of land with beautiful views. Wishing you the very best.
Thank you, Terri. I never knew I love cork oak trees, until I stepped foot on this piece of land. They are gorgeous, and I cannot wait spending time under them.
Congratulations. I am thankful, too, for what the UAE has offered me, but one eye is always looking elsewhere. And Portugal is a great choice. Great food, warm weather, fantastic people. No doubt you’ll all enjoy the next phase of your adventures
Thank you, Geraint. We are looking forward to this new adventure. It is, at this point, a long-term project for us, as we still enjoy life in the UAE, but it is good to work towards a dream.
Congratulations on your new chapter! How exciting. You’re my second friend to retire in Portugal. I’m so excited for you. It’s sure to be amazing. Hugs from Cambodia!
Ah, thanks, Lani. We are excited about dreaming new dreams. I am planning a quick trip to Myanmar for beginning November, but from next year, I guess my focus will shift more and more towards Portugal. Hope we can catch up again in real life one day.
Me, too. Cheers.
will there be architects involved Jolandi ?
Yes, there will be Becky. Michael is flying back in two weeks’ time to meet with one. We have mad dreams of incorporating the old stone buildings into a new, modern structure, but we suspect that would be too costly. There are a myriad possibilities, so we want to cover all our bases, and explore all our options. It will definitely be an interesting process. One, I’m sure that will involve heated debates. 🙂
I am so pleased for you, Jolandi! I hope all goes well. 🙂
Thank you so much, Clare. I will regularly report back on the progress. 🙂
That is incredibly exciting! And that area is lucky to have you, outsiders coming in with your experience and perspective, I hope you are able to find welcome. (From the Portuguese people I know, I think it’s likely.) Happy homecoming!
Ah, thank you! We loved our interactions with the people in the area. They were extremely friendly and helpful, despite our dismal grasp of Portuguese. And it really did feel like a homecoming when we set foot on the land.
Wow, all the best.
Looks stunning! Very best wishes for your new venture how exciting 🙂
Ah, thank you, Rosemary. We are very excited.
definitely charming. Has a homely feel about it. Best wishes
An incredible step, a beautiful and adventurous step ~ congratulations. From your photos, it looks to be a perfect sanctuary after all your travel…it is good to grow roots.
Thank you! I am looking forward to growing some roots, Randall, although I wonder how it will affect my itchy feet. 🙂
I think it will help ~ having a place to return to while traveling is very powerful. It actually supports the wanderer’s lifestyle. 🙂
Those sound like wise words, spoken from experience.
How exciting for you. It will be hard work, but rewarding, to make this your special place. I am not sure if you follow Sandra Danby / also Notes on a Spanish Valley. She and her husband did a similar thing and I loved watching what was happening on their land. As it happens, theirs is up for sale now. Not sure why – but they were splitting their time between two places, so there may be a motivation in that. https://notesonaspanishvalley.com/2017/08/17/swim-watch-the-stars-at-night/
Yes, I am familiar with her blog. And thank you, Gwen. We are quite excited. It will definitely be a labour of love and patience, as it will take time before we can settle there.
I think it is a dream place. Absolutely exciting for you!
Thank you so much.
The place looks very nice and I hear that Portugal is a very beautiful country. I am happy that you have found a place you can call your home. Wishing you all the best.
Thank you! We are excited to sprouting roots and discovering the beauty of the country.
So sad you’re leaving! Good luck in Portugal, I can’t wait to follow your new journey..
Thanks, Sarah. It will still take a while for us to get there, but we are practically working on this dream.
Very nice land! Congratulations! We bought land too. How do you get so many followers?
Thank you, Dana. And congratulations on your piece of land, too. It looks lovely. Followers happen over time, and one needs to read lots of other blogs and connect that way. Some people build theirs quickly, others (like me) take a long time. Happy blogging, and building your home.