Us on the glass walkway at Tower Bridge in London

We’re moving to the Algarve!

Hello from London, where we’re housesitting for a couple of weeks before we start the next chapter of our adventure: we’re moving to the Algarve! After a hectic year of travel in the Americas, our plan was always to move to Portugal in the autumn, but we had our sights firmly set on Porto until Andrew was offered a great teaching job in the Algarve.

Us on the glass walkway at Tower Bridge in London

Soaking in the views from the glass walkway at Tower Bridge this week

A new life in the sunny Algarve

We were in the middle of an adventure yoga camp in the Scottish Highlands a few weeks ago when Andrew got an email about a last-minute teaching position at an international school near Faro. It all seemed too good to be true, a job teaching French, Spanish and English (Andrew trained as a languages teacher in the UK) with a good salary and amazing holiday leave located in Portugal, a country we fell in love with during a visit last autumn.

Amy walking the dogs on Salema Beach on the Algarve, Portugal

A dog walk on Salema Beach while housesitting in the Algarve last autumn

One interview later and they offered Andrew the job. I think we may have literally jumped for joy in the supermarket when the confirmation email came in. After the stress of balancing freelance work with our most expensive year of travel to date, knowing that we’d have a guaranteed base and salary coming in for the next year was a huge weight off our shoulders.

Digital nomad struggles

I’ve blogged about the challenges of digital nomad life before, but this year the realities really struck home. In theory, being able to live completely untethered, work remotely and go anywhere you have a wifi connection is utopia. It certainly worked well for us while we were living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Andrew was teaching online while I built up my freelance writing work.

Us at a tea plantation in Mae Salong, Thailand

Digital nomad life in Thailand

Trying to take that digital nomad lifestyle to South America this year was a struggle. For a start, Andrew couldn’t teach online because of the time difference for his students in France, so the pressure was on me to take as much writing work as I could to keep us going. That meant a lot of stress for us both, plus many weeks spent hunkered down in a cold apartment somewhere, be it Medellin, Cusco or La Paz, on a laptop all day.

Selfie overlooking Guatape, Colombia

A two-day break from work in Guatape, Colombia

A few weeks of work would be followed by a few days or a week of amazing travel adventures, such as trips to the Amazon Rainforest, Machu Picchu or the Uyuni Salt Flats. Here’s the thing though, travelling in South America turned out to be way more expensive than we thought it would (see our Bolivia costs, for example) so the money we made quickly disappeared.

Obligatory jumping shot on the Bolivian Salt Flats tour

Trip to the Bolivia Salt Flats

This led to a constant internal dilemma: we felt guilty about being stuck inside working when we could have been out exploring, yet when we were out exploring we felt guilty about not working. What’s more, blogging went completely out of the window. In over four months of travel in South America I wrote just 18 posts.

Photographing a river in the Amazon Rainforest in Bolivia, at Madidi National Park

Our amazing Amazon adventure

Life changes

I’m not saying that you can’t live a happy, balanced life as a digital nomad. You can and I know many people who do. It worked well for us in Asia where living and travel costs were lower, as well as in Europe last autumn. I love working remotely and would never want to go back to a 9-5 job, but the lifestyle doesn’t work for everyone.

Yoga pose on the sand at Findhorn Bay, Scotland

Pondering future plans at a yoga camp in Scotland last month

Andrew has never loved teaching online or being on a computer all day, so we had to consider what was right for us as a couple and adapt our lifestyle. There’s no way we want to stop exploring the world or move back to the UK (especially given the state it’s in right now!) so moving to the Algarve is hopefully the ideal solution for us.

Andrew teaching in Vietnam

Andrew teaching in Hanoi

Andrew can teach in the classroom again while I continue to work freelance. We’ll have one guaranteed salary each month to take the financial pressure off us and will hopefully be able to rebuild our savings. We’ll be living in a sunny place just a couple of hours from the UK with our own apartment and a spare room for visitors. Since Andrew gets an amazing amount of time off for school and public holidays, we’ll still be able to travel.

The View of Mount Doom from Mount Tongariro

The start of our adventure in New Zealand, 2013, trekking Mount Tongariro

We left the UK back in 2013 because we wanted to see the world, but also because I wanted to change a lifestyle that wasn’t fulfilling and build one that I truly loved. Five and a half years later, after backpacking through Asia, teaching in Hanoi, living in Chiang Mai, road tripping through Europe and travelling the Americas, that quest has brought us back to Europe. We’ve figured out what’s right for us at this point in our lives and we’ll keep adapting and changing as the years go by.

Moving to the Algarve – next steps

It’s always a joy to be back in London and we’re making the most of these last couple of weeks catching up with family, friends and exploring the city. We’re off to see Aladdin at the theatre with my Mum, check out some vegan treats at the Plant Based Live expo, watch my friend do some stand-up comedy, sightsee with Andrew’s parents and take our nephew to the Warner Bros Studios.

View from the Golden Gallery of St Paul's Cathedral, overlooking London

This week we took in the view from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral

We have ferry tickets to Calais booked for the 17th September and our car has been serviced and the air con fixed in preparation for the long drive down to the Algarve. We’ve also been stockpiling all our favourite British and vegan staples like Marmite, Earl Grey tea bags and nutritional yeast. As the weather turns cooler here, I look forward to sunshine and blue skies in the Algarve.

We're moving to the Algarve!

The next month will be a big transition for us as we settle into our new life. There’s the small matter of finding an apartment and we both have to adjust to having a routine again when Andrew goes to work. There’s also lots of admin to sort out like getting our Portuguese NIF numbers and all kinds of other paperwork.

I’m excited to share the process with you all though, it’s going to be an interesting journey, one I hope you’ll stick around to hear about.

  • Melanie Miles
    Posted at 09:43h, 07 September Reply

    What a roller coaster you’re having! You sound so happy now though, which is good news. Glad to hear you’ll keep blogging – I’d love to hear about life in the Algarve.

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:16h, 07 September Reply

      Yep, it certainly has been a roller coaster this year Melanie! We do both feel very happy at the moment and I know I keep saying it, but I’m really hoping to revitalise this blog again once we’re settled in the Algarve. As always, thanks for following along, we appreciate it 🙂

  • Sandra
    Posted at 16:57h, 07 September Reply

    I have enjoyed following your wonderful adventures all around the world. Congratulations on your new teaching position and new home in the Algarve. Your positive attitudes and determination are commendable. It is encouraging to know there are happy folks out there living their dreams.
    Love Sandra , Victoria, BC. Canada

    • Amy
      Posted at 17:45h, 08 September Reply

      Hi Sandra, thanks so much for reading, commenting and for the congratulations, we appreciate it. We also look forward to sharing the next chapter of our adventure here on the blog 🙂

  • Nuno
    Posted at 17:21h, 07 September Reply

    I’ve been following you recently as we are currently on a rtw trip, and I’m very happy that you’ll “end” up in Algarve, Portugal, my beautiful country and I hope you feel very comfortable there and truly appreciate its beauty. Would definitely pay you a coffee if we’d ever meet in Portugal and share mutual stories. All the best

    You can check us on Facebook page below
    Uma volta pelo mundo – Joana africana

    • Amy
      Posted at 17:46h, 08 September Reply

      Hi, thanks for connecting! I’ve just liked your page. We’re really happy to be heading to Portugal and can’t wait to settle in and explore. Hope to see you there!

  • Rhonda
    Posted at 00:19h, 08 September Reply

    Very exciting! It sounds like you’ll get the life/work balance a bit more even and still have time to travel. Well done. Can’t wait to see how the move goes

    • Amy
      Posted at 17:47h, 08 September Reply

      I hope so Rhonda, we’ll see! Looking forward to sharing the journey and I hope you guys are doing well 🙂

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 11:07h, 09 September Reply

    Congratulations on the new job and exciting new plans ahead. The Algarve is so beautiful, I am sure you will love it there. I hope you will find a home very soon and get settled. I can’t wait to see how things develop there for you, but have no doubt it will be a great big fat success 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:57h, 10 September Reply

      Ha, thanks so much Gilda! We’re really looking forward to the move now and I can’t wait to share the journey with everyone on the blog. Hope to see you out there maybe!

  • Esme
    Posted at 21:51h, 09 September Reply

    Lovely blog post! Sounds like everything has worked out really well for you both, congratulations! I am settled down back in the UK now and I have to say it is very reassuring having a monthly wage and my own space again! Something I thought I never wanted again! I’m surprised about how expensive South America was to travel – good to know for my future trips! Enjoy Portuguese life….maybe after a few years you can apply for residency?!

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:17h, 10 September Reply

      Hi Esme, thanks so much. Great to hear that you’ve had a positive experience of settling back in the UK. Yes, we’re thinking that if we like it in Portugal, applying for residency down the line would be a good plan. We’ll see how it goes!

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 12:20h, 12 September Reply

    You both definitely had your tough times but you and Andrew have such a beautiful bond together,that it helped you both cope .I am very happy that Andrew found a job teaching .He is a real gentleman and very kingpins too.I think that you are both beautiful people and deserve all the happiness in the whole wide world .Enjoy your stay in Algarve and remember life is a always Louisa

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:58h, 13 September Reply

      Awww, thanks so much Louisa, we really appreciate all the support and look forward to sharing our adventure with you. I totally agree, life is journey 🙂

  • Loes
    Posted at 13:04h, 12 September Reply

    <3 hope I will be able to come visit!

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:57h, 13 September Reply

      Yes! That would be amazing, let me know when you’re free 🙂

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