What Do You Do All Day?

I get asked this question a lot. Not just since I moved here for nine months a year. Even when I came for one to two months each year, I was always surprised that people were puzzled, especially since I travel alone, with what I would do with myself each day, .

And yet, the question still surprises me. When I travel I love to settle in, make myself at home and feel like a resident, even when I visit some place for a week. Of course, if I only have a week somewhere I usually spend a lot more of my time exploring new places each day than I do when I have an extended amount of time in one place.

On trips as short as three days, I have a definite ‘nesting’ routine. I find the closest neighborhood grocery. I unpack EVERYTHING from my suitcase. Most often I rent small places from owners when traveling. However, when in a hotel for at least three nights I still nest!

So, my answer to this question, especially when I am some place for more than a week, is that my routine is much like it is at home. I shop for groceries, engage in social media exchange, go for long walks, read, do laundry, etc, etc, etc.

I do spend more time than at home exploring the world around me, learning new things, meeting new people.

Now that I am in my own version of paradise for a full nine months, I find that I am struggling with the balance of my day to day activities a bit more. When home, besides the normal business of everyday life, I do some travel writing for publication, work part time as a travel writing editor, and research my family history and blog about it (www.cherokeerootsblog.com). Usually when traveling I do less research and writing and spend more time on those things when I get back home.

So my struggle…I pictured that once I was in Portugal almost full time my schedule would look more like it does at home, with the addition of finally putting pen to paper on two books that are reminding me every day that they are waiting for their stories to be told.

I have my daily to do list where I check off items each day, and move others forward to another day when I do not complete all of the tasks that I have set for myself. However, I find that I spend way more time at my new home, expanding my breakfast time on the patio from the 20 minutes it is in the U.S. to one to two hours of tea and reading thrown in. How do you walk away from the patio when almost every day is full of sun and sea views!


View from my Patio

At home I walk four miles per day almost every day. I do the same here breaking my walks in to two or three walks per day along the oceanside promenade and through the village.

Yesterday was a good example of how a walk on a cold, but sunny, day made it very difficult to go back to my condo and start on my to do list.

And then the day before, I was taking what I planned to be a 30 minute walk before digging into some research on my computer. Noticing that a cafe that had been closed for a few weeks had reopened, and having as always a book in my backpack, I sat down for a traditional Caipirinha and read for an hour!


Caipirinha at Lazuli Bar

Cleary, I am still working on the right balance for me, well, for the two of me. For there are two of me for sure. One is ready at 72, to run full speed into a relaxed retirement and do nothing but read, watch good films, sit in the sun or take a walk whenever the mood strikes. Oh…but that other me…the one who feels driven by the realization that there are only so many days left in this life and so much still to accomplish. So many things that I do not want to leave undone.

And there is the answer to the question, what do I do all day. I am at peace, I fret, I am relaxed, I am driven. I am, and I do, exactly as elsewhere, fill each day to its fullest and yet long for more.

Praia da Luz – Portugal Village

Strolling along the beachside promenade in Praia da Luz yesterday I was struck again by how the town reclaims its Portuguese village status once the tourist season crowd has mostly departed.


Quiet Sunday Afternoon

On the benches in the square at the end of the promenade, Portuguese couples soak up the sun of a peaceful afternoon.

Walking towards the restaurants at the other end I pass young families joking with each other. The sound of Portuguese is music to my ears. In the busy days of summer and early fall you are much more likely to hear English being spoken (mostly by British and Irish on holiday) than Portuguese near the beach.

While the international vibe during the busier times of the year is energizing and a boon to the local economy, I am happiest gazing out on the near empty beach and listening to the native language of this village that I love.


Nearly Empty Beach at Praia de Luz

Portuguese Resident Permit


SEF Office in Portimao

On November 29th I arrived at the SEF Office in Portimao anxious, yet confident that I had everything that I needed to complete my application for a Portuguese Resident Permit.

I arrived earlier than my appointed time and received a number for the order in which I would be seen. The process was easier and less stressful than I had anticipated. I first met with a person who reviewed my file and handed many papers back to me that I did not need (I had decided to bring anything that they might ask for!).

He then took digital fingerprints of both index fingers and took a digital photo, similar to a passport photo. Next I placed a digital signature under my photo. He asked me to correct one item on my cover sheet and then to wait to be seen by the person who would finalize my permit. I spent about 10 minutes at this first desk.

After a 15 minute wait I was seated in front of a woman. She first scanned my paperwork. All of the paperwork that you bring in is returned to you. After clarifying a few items I was asked for the fee (as of this writing 159,70 Euros). The woman who was assisting me printed out a receipt and a one page temporary permit before telling me my Resident Permit card would arrive in the mail in about a week.

The entire process in SEF once my number was called took about one hour.

I walked out, smile on my face, and had a celebratory lunch while waiting for my bus to Praia da Luz.


Ham and Cheese Omelette, Fries and a Salad – 5 Euros!

A bus ride home and I was gazing at the cloudless sky and deep blue ocean in Praia da Luz.


View from Promenade – Praia da Luz


Coming soon – content list of packet for Resident Permit Application for retirees. The requirements vary some depending on the type of Resident status for which you are applying. I will also be posting information on various health insurance options. Having health insurance that covers you in Portugal is one of the requirements for any kind of Resident Permit.

Continuing to live the dream in Portugal….