It’s true that when I arrived in Portugal I didn’t have any idea of what to expect! Portugal was not a country that sprang up very often in geography or history, and I was always told that the Dutch discovered Australia, and that was that. There was a vague mention of another country perhaps popping in before, but there was never any detail given about those “might have been” voyagers, and I really didn’t know the first thing about the country, its history…That it is known for its salted cod and grilled sardines, its amazing beaches, and diverse landscape.
I had never to my knowledge met a Portuguese person, and I had never ridden a Portuguese horse. Why did I come? The easy answer is I came to find mum a horse, but perhaps a closer version to the truth is I wanted to run away and start again. Sometimes in life we can become so caught up in who we think we are, we can’t remember what really makes us. We become surrounded by people who know us as one thing, so that becoming something different is almost impossible. I love Australia. I love my home. But too many of us get stuck in a version of ourselves, without ever testing to see what we might be, who we are.
You often hear people say that wouldn’t it be great if you could just leave and start again. I quite literally did that. I’m still the same person who left Australia, but making yourself start again, alone, means you have to decide who are are, and be that, with no predisposition, or history, no ideal or self judgement.
Obviously for many people just starting again is impossible. They have ties or family or responsibilities. But what if you could just start again, who would you be? What would you be known for?
We spend so much of our lives trying to live up to someone else’s expectations, trying to be somebody else, or impress somebody else. Well, what if you had to only impress yourself? What if you were your own audience and the opinions of everybody else didn’t matter at all. Guess what? The truth is, as my mother used to say “nobody else really cares what you do!”. This doesn’t mean that people don’t feel for you, but in truth, what you do and who you are, is completely up to you.
For me, everything used to be a race. My mind would work at such a rapid speed that I quite often couldn’t even hear what other people were saying. Gradually, as I began to rearrange my thoughts, I slowed down, to the point where I could see and feel what was happening around me. When you can do that, when you can learn to be just in this moment, you suddenly begin to appreciate all the crazy, coincidental, amazing things that are happening when we are too busy to notice.
It has now been over two years since I last when home. I miss it sometimes, but I love my life. People ask me if I miss my mum, and in truth we have a far better relationship because everyday we talk. When you live with someone or near someone your conversation is typically “want a cup of tea” and “good morning”, whereas because we sit down and Skype we have to actually discuss things, usually about training, and exercises, or what is happening on the other side of the world.
People often ask me what I have learnt in Portugal, and it’s interesting to note that what you really learn when you view more of the world, is more about yourself.
I can tell you that if you tell a Portuguese mum that you don’t like what she has cooked, she will not just pop on some toast, but will go back and cook a whole separate dish from scratch, and enjoy doing it. I have learnt that time here is more fluid, but that time spent in good company is time well spent. I have been invited into another culture, and in doing so, learnt more about my own.
Some people can visit the whole world, and yet see nothing. Others can learn more about themselves from a ten minute conversation with a stranger, than in a lifetime of pretending.
Try not to base who you are on the way someone else thinks of you, and never try to be like somebody else. If you are trying to be like someone else, there is a very real possibility that the person aspiring to be like you is going to get very confused…
To know more about moving to Portugal, buying property in Portugal, or purchasing your own dream horse, feel free to write to me…There are loads of great opportunities 😉