Sunday, 16 January 2011

so far so good

Its been nearly six months since The Escape. That six months has flown by. Honestly, time did not pass so quickly when we were working the grind. The days just fly by here.

So how are we feeling? Well I have to say that I feel that there has been a vast improvement in my emotional health. It was really this aspect that was probably the biggest concern to me. I think that living in Manchester city centre was completely the wrong place for us to live. It simply wasn't congruent with who we are and what we needed out of life. We were there simply to earn money and that was it.

Photo - Afan Valley

I still don't know what we will do long term. Some days I think we might stay here, other days I don't know whether where we are living at the moment offers all we truly desire. Here we have mountains and coast on our doorstep. There are bike trails and hiking trails and of course the beach. Housing is relatively cheap to buy here. People are friendly. Life is just so much easier here, but perhaps a lot of that is not having to work. I don't want to portray this place as being perfect or idyllic because it isn't.

But there is something stopping me. Sometimes I feel that it is simply too early to think about putting down roots and that we should keep our options open. The other thing is that everywhere I have ever lived I have wanted to move on within a few years!

The other issue on my mind is self sufficiency. The rising cost of living is a concern. If you own your own "house" outright, grow your own food and perhaps even produce some of your own fuel then you can at least insulate yourself from inflation, peak oil etc. Cost of land in this country is prohibitive. So what about going abroad to do this?

Going abroad is such a huge decision. It is a huge decision to make because its got to be the right decision otherwise it is very complicated to undue. Since we are forced to focus on living in Europe one possible ideal location which springs to mind is Portugal.

I still want a little house with some land in the woods surrounded by trees. Rural Portugal offers some great bargains. Lets say we can buy some land with a building licence for 20k Euros. Somewhere where we can grow our own food, drink our own water, have a wood burning stove and burn our own wood from the forest. Somewhere where we can achieve some measure of self sufficiency. We could live there very cheaply, possibly on half of what we are living on at the moment. We could have a better quality of life, a "house" outright, space and some land. There would be money for weekend excursions down to the coast, long lazy lunches out etc.

But how much money would it take to make a semi ruin habitable? I suppose this could be a long discussion in itself. Could we do it for another 20 - 30k Euros on top of the price of the land? Is this realistic? We would need to get professional help in to do this.

I think it would be a mistake to view the self sufficient life as an "easy" life. Growing your own food and working your land etc is hardly "easy". The other thing you have to factor in is how would we fare when we are old? What support systems would be in place? I mean would you get to a point where you would be unable to grow food and chop wood? Patricia in recently reminded me that it takes a lot of hard work for her and her husband to sustain their current lifestyle. Would we be so keen or indeed able to swing an axe when we are in our 70's or 80's? I also wonder whether DH and I are really ready for rural Portugal?

There is also the concern of the recent economic troubles in Portugal. Portugal has been living beyond its means for sometime. I worry about high inflation of the sort that we have seen recently in Greece. I have been going to Greece for the last 10 years and I have seen a great increase in the cost of goods and services in that time.

And lets not forget the long hot summers. Could I or could we put up with the heat? How hot does it get? We dont really like the heat. Would we be enduring instead of living?

So I am on the look out for a sustainable living solution. I want a base, a home of my own. Being a travelling nomad does not interest me.

What say you? Speak your mind.