How is it to be back in Belgium? It is a question I got quite often lately. It is comfortable, familiar and yet never the same as before.
Before this year of living offgrid.
How to sum up a year with so many life changing events! Being pregnant from our third child, moving to a tent, leaving everything behind, receiving the most sweet baby in our midst, getting to know Portugal and learning Portuguese… and building up a retreat center, seriously! Oh yeah, and Covid…
At the end of 2019 we moved to a tent, not even a yurt in the beginning, while I was pregnant from Mauro.
Why on earth would we do that?
We had questions about the way we were living. Our souls were calling for change.
The speed, the pressure, all the material wealth and consumerism, pollution. Weren’t we taking everything too much for granted in our daily lives? Could we possibly do different with our family? Could we live more in line with our ideals and believes? Could we slow down, scale down and live with a lot less?
The proof of the pudding is in the eating
If it is truly for you, one can only discover this by doing. By taking a big jump in the unknown and going for this dream of a different life.
I must admit that it wasn’t easy to unlearn certain habits, letting go of our comfort. We all had a hard time the first months, especially cause winter was sooo wet last year! Boy, it rains a lot in winter.
Then again the reward is a green and lush land! During spring you can discover new wild flowers each week. Yes, we really enjoyed nature and living close in it. Connecting with the wilder human in ourselves. This keeps all senses vivid and the energy high!
Life was certainly moving at a slower pace. We visited many similar projects, where the founders were working very hard for 10 years, but they still didn’t reach the point where I would like to get in only a few years. Might it be I have to learn to be patient 🙂 Oh yeah, Portugal teaches you patience big time! Everything takes time.
We got to know a very lively and friendly community of people spreaded in the mountains of Serra do Açor. This made us feel at home and makes the possibility of living there realistic. But our kids didn’t really connect that easy. They missed their school and family. Covid didn’t make a social life easier, now did it.
Nevertheless we organised a few great event, like an ecstatic dance night with a small group of chill people and an Ayurvedic cooking workshop
We discovered that many foreigners go back to their home country to make a living during winter times. I guess they are escaping the harsh life in winter too and enjoying seeing friends and family.
Making an income isn’t easy, but of course life is a lot cheaper and you don’t spend as much as in Belgium. At least we didn’t. It’s relaxing to have less, spend less. But , big but; if I feel financially unstable I get kinda stressed. So somewhere in between both is where I wanna be.
It was never our plan to look for a regular job in Portugal and making ends meet. We were there to do our project or else go back. Covid, baby Mauro, kids at home and wanting to go back, no volunteers to build everything up…we had to face facts. Money would be gone soon, so we decided to go back. Back to a warm and dry house, family and friends.
We did manage to find a reliable architect for our project (I hope) and finally signed a contract to make the retreat center of our dreams. Forever grateful for all the people who supported our crowdfunding and the help from volunteers and friends.
Hopefully we can return in November to plant more trees and take a few steps forward regarding the project and retreats in 2021.
Looking back it feels like one big dream. But I know this dream isn’t over; it has just begun.