Just a little over a year ago, I began publishing Our Portugal Journey. The idea behind the blog was to chronicle the challenges, frustrations, joys, and discoveries of a typical American couple with moving to and living in Portugal.
I wasn’t sure anyone would read my blog. Or even subscribe. I was thrilled when I got my first twenty subscribers (although to be truthful, they were mostly family and friends who were curious about our new lives in Portugal). But then, over time, my subscriber base grew exponentially to include a variety of folks from all parts of the world.
Although I don’t have precise statistics on my readers, I can say with confidence that many of you are in the process of moving to Portugal – or at least considering a move. Many but not all are from the United States and Canada. Some of you are digital nomads interested in what Portugal has to offer in terms of work-life balance. Some already live in Portugal and others will never move to Portugal but have some attachment to it. Some folks are retired, some are still working, some folks aren’t happy with the cost of living, the politics, the gun violence, or the hectic lifestyle in their home country and are seeking something different. And I suspect that some of my readers are themselves writers, or work for publications (I’m always open to collaborations!). It’s my hope that over the last year, I have been able to provide some insight into life in Portugal by sharing our personal experiences.
My writing varies. This means that as a reader, you might not find all my posts interesting or useful. In the past year, my posts have been humorous, or have come from some deep emotional place inside. Some have been fact-based with extensive research, and some are posts about people, places, and discoveries we have encountered on our journey so far.
The unexpected happened. Many of my readers have become friends – either virtually, while on a scouting trip to Portugal or on a vacation or have recently moved here and want to connect. Paul and I have had the pleasure of meeting many folks over coffee, wine, or lunch this past year! It’s been an unexpected perk writing Our Portugal Journey!
Building a community. I have social media accounts for Our Portugal Journey, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t consistently post on those accounts. Some have asked if I plan to start a Facebook group so that people can connect and share information. The answer to that is, no, I don’t plan to start an Our Portugal Journey Facebook group. It’s not my thing, it takes a lot of time, and you must constantly monitor for spammers and trolls. That’s not how I choose to spend my days.
But, still, I think a community of sorts is beginning to form among Our Portugal Journey readers! Every time someone likes a post, shares a post, or comments on a post indicates to me that people want to contribute and connect. Sometimes, post comments I receive (and I personally read each one of them), have been favorable – other times, sometimes not so favorable. Some comments posted have corrected me on a point – or have directed me to more information on a topic I’ve written about. That’s what a community sort of looks like to me.
So, I’m wrapping up Our Portugal Journey for 2022.
I’m taking a little break from writing for a few weeks to do some traveling, visit with family, spend some time with friends, and to recharge my creative batteries. This will also be a good time to think about how and what I want to write in Our Portugal Journey in 2023.
Writing is an evolutionary process. If you stay stagnant, your writing shows it. So, I already know there will be changes in what and how I write in 2023. I’ll be looking to interview people who provide professional services for expats, much like for the post I wrote about concerning taxes in Portugal. I’m also going to look into forming a community space with my readers outside of the traditional social media sites. Substack, the platform I use for this blog, has a new and interesting chat feature that I’ll be exploring.
And I may expand a little more on my Made in Portugal series. Also in 2023, I plan to begin digging into my ancestry in Portugal - and try to find the places my grandparents were born, and maybe connect with one or two lost family members.
Now that we own a car in Portugal, it’s going to make exploring out-of-the-way places much easier so you can expect some travel stories about what where we go and what we find.
If you have any thoughts or ideas about topics or features you would like to see on this blog in 2023, drop me a comment and tell me about it. I truly value your feedback!
I’ll leave you with this parting gift. Recently I compiled a Boas Festas (Season’s Greetings) playlist of Portuguese holiday songs on Spotify. Feel free to check it out. It’s an eclectic list of songs (all in Portuguese) from a variety of artists. If you have other favorites I haven’t included, let me know.
For newer subscribers. If you’ve recently subscribed to Our Portugal Journey, thank you and welcome! You may have missed our YouTube video chronicling our first year in Portugal. Looking back, we did pack a lot into the first year!
During my break, you can still contact me with any questions, feedback, or suggestions by sending me an email and I’ll be happy to respond as time permits. You can find out how to send me something by clicking the About tab on my website.
Paul and I are looking forward to 2023 and sharing more of our experiences, challenges, and adventures with you on Our Portugal Journey. My first post for the New Year will arrive in your email inbox on January 5, 2023. In the meantime, I’ll still be sending you a weekly post with content that I’ve selected for you from some of my favorite fellow writers and vloggers whose work I respect. I hope you’ll enjoy the work of these talented people during my break.
PS: Muito obrigada (many thanks) to Teresa, Virginia, and John & Jan for supporting Our Portugal Journey through Buy Me a Coffee. Your generosity and interest help to keep this publication free to subscribers.
Until next time…
All great info! I look forward to 2023 and your journey!
I started my blog several years ago when we started traveling fulltime in our motorhome. There is a large blogging/Instagram community in the world of RV travel. It's a way for people living nomadic lives to connect with one another on the road. Absent those platforms, that lifestyle could be very lonely.
I was hoping to find a similar community of expat-bloggers over here, but it seems they are few and far between. There are several very good topical ones, but it doesn't seem like many people are using their blogs to make friends. Yours is an exception and I think it's great. You have a nice mix of material - topical as well as personal - which allows people to get to know you and to feel they connect with you. I hope more bloggers will follow suit. It's such a nice way to get to know other folks going through the same things and to learn from one another.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy your blogging break and I wish you a wonderful holiday season!