After the birth of our daughter Hannah in July 05 both Darren and myself began to realise how uninspiring our careers really were and that Hannah was and is more important than the gruelling 12 hour days of high pressure working in the city.
After a particularly chaotic week Darren returned home to inform me that he had had enough of the drudgery of the UK and wanted to move abroad. I had always wanted to live in Spain so took no convincing at all. We began in earnest trawling the internet for homes abroad. Bulgaria, Spain, Romania and France were all considered but we ended up visiting, after about 4 months of searching, a remote island called Gigha, in the inner Hebrides only accessible by ferry! This was not quite what I had in mind but unfortunately our plans to retire in our thirties meant that money was always going to be an issue.
Everybody always asks what we will do in Portugal for an income. The answer is simple, we won't. We plan to retire and lead a simplistic Portuguese lifestyle, just like the locals. If we do run out of money we will hopefully be in a position to speak the language and take menial but rewarding stress free jobs just to get by.We have been practising self sufficiency over the past year whilst we wait to sell the house and are becoming quite efficient in living on a small amount of money each month. No more fancy restaurants or Sky sports for the Keohanes, just a plan to live life without the stress of the 21st century!
Initially when we announced our plans to move, the response was mixed and comments such as "you will never do it" and "you will be back in 5 years" still ring in our ears. There was concern from the grand parents that they would not see Hannah, but a couple of trips to the area have soon overcome that hurdle. Our families have now come round to the idea and are fully supportive of the move, particularly now that the plans have been drawn up for the development of the house. The idea that they can come to stay in their own apartment and sit out on the balcony for free has certainly altered their way of thinking.I think from our point of view all we want is Hannah and maybe a sister or brother to be brought up in a country that is pleasant and well mannered and where the emphasis is on enjoyment. We want her to learn to respect the world she lives in and grow up aware of what surrounds her.
So here we are half way through the planning and design process, which may I add is incredibly slow. The best way of coping with the way the Portuguese operate is to let things happen at their speed, forcing things does not seem to work and trying to get people to respond to email takes at least three weeks. Having said all that we are quite relaxed and are safe in the knowledge that going with the flow is the lifestyle we seek, we just want to get out there and get started with integrating Hannah into the language and whole new life style where daddy is at home everyday not just weekends.
We have started Portuguese lessons just to get a head start but I think that the best way to learn is to be there. After seeing how John and Sam have learnt so quickly is encouraging. The language is challenging, but if that's all you have to worry about, what's the worry?