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Over the summer I had been thinking seriously about moving to Porto, I had been to Porto once before earlier this year and I liked what I saw. I had a nice vibe about the city, it seemed easy and relaxed, the people were friendly and you could walk to most places, the weather was nice, much milder then the weather back home in London, and earlier this year in January the depths of winter and we all know that January is a really long month straight after Christmas and New Years.
I felt very positive about the idea and very strong that I was going to follow through on it. Even though the world is in chaos with the Covid pandemic and traveling was seen to be difficult, I think along as we are very cautious we are able to travel, the usual sort of precautions apply, maintaining safe distance as much as possible, wear a very good mask especially while traveling on a plane, sanitise your hand constantly and avoid touching your face at all times. Me personally I have traveled this year, having taken trips to Porto and Krakow before covid in January and February, and during the pandemic, I decided I would try and travel, and decided to travel to Amsterdam, Brussels and to the Amalfi coast, that included, Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano, Ravello, and Capri, I found traveling to and while in those destinations quite safe, although now that cases are on the rise it would be something more serious to consider.
During this ongoing pandemic, many things are up in the air, we realised we can work from home much easier, we can change the way we live and work if we choose to, even though there are many people struggling due to work myself included life was a challenge. With things being quite uncertain I saw the positive side and an opportunity to try something different and the thought of moving and being a little more fluid. The idea to make some new and interesting changes and have a little adventure along the way. I didn’t think I had much to lose, being a freelancer I could work from anywhere in the world I just never tried to give it a go and see if it was possible. Here I am finally giving it a go and to see what happens.
The other reason to move to Europe and Portugal was due to Brexit. I was relatively happy with my London life, well at least I thought I was, more of that to come later. For now Brexit, I was not happy with the thought of the UK leaving the European Union. A democratic decision that I didn’t agree with. I don’t see myself exactly as British, British Asian or European, or any other such label, but a world traveler.
With these new positive thoughts in my mind, I forged ahead in my head that I could make this work somehow this was in August – September of this year. The first thing was to convince my family that this was a good idea. Well, that did not go down very well, even though I would leave anyway, but it would be easier to have my parents blessing, with a few more attempts at broaching the subject to them, I convinced them that it would be ok. No one in my family to my knowledge has gone out on a limb and dropped everything and moved abroad. With my family on board, I could be much more positive about just going for it and throwing caution to the wind.
I love living in London and owning my own home, which I made a home over the years with bits of furniture and personal bits, what was I going to do with my possessions. As it happens I was living with my lodger, and she is a good friend and someone I can easily trust with the house and my things. I choose to sublet my room for a few months. I put an ad for a spare room in mid-September and I and found someone to rent it from the beginning of November. From here I could only go forwards. The next task was to find a decent Airbnb I could rent for a month and after a month I could figure out my next step. Scouring Airbnb for the next few days was a laborious task but I felt I needed to find a place I would be happy to live in for at least a month so it was an important step.
My room sublet and I found a nice Airbnb which the rent of my sublet bedroom, there was no turning back, and interestingly enough I was not nervous either. I guess I had a fallback plan and that if things did not work out ok, I could always return and it would have felt like I was on an extended journey and work holiday.
The last 2 weekends of October I packed up the things in my room and stored them within my own house where I had space, or I stored some of my things at my parent’s place lucky for me, and unlikely for them. Since I’m quite a minimalist person anyway I didn’t have much to store or worry about.
I bought an extra baggage allowance which allowed me to take 23kg in the hold, that’s actually not a lot that you can take with you when you are moving your life to another country for a while. I put off packing till the last weekend I was due to leave. It took me late into the night to pack, adding things to the bag only to remove them and repack them.
Finally, I managed to pack what I thought I would need even then, I was unsure. My packing list included 3 pairs of jeans and 2 pairs of chinos, 2 denim shirts, 1 flannel shirt, 1 smart shirt, 1 puffer jacket, 1 pair of trainers, 1 pair of running shoes, Activewear shorts and tee-shirt, 1 cycling jacket, 7 pairs of socks, 7 boxer shorts, toiletries, hair clippers, cold and flu tablets, and the clothes I was wearing on the day of travel. 1 pair of Jeans, 1 flannel shirt, 1 Sweatshirt, 1 Denim Jacket, 1 camouflage Parka Jacket, 1 pair of trainers
My mobile office equipment needed for working while in Porto included my Apple MacBook Pro, Small Wacom Tablet, A3 slim lightbox, assorted ink pens 2 Layout pads, 2 Moleskine Cashiers books 1 Small Moleskine sketchbook, Fuji Polaroid camera.
I packed and repacked my bags quite a few times before I managed to settle on just the essential things that I would need and wear while I am in Porto, its a tricky problem, one which had to be very well thought through,
With the bags packed and some last-minute packing in the morning, I left my sublet room empty of my things and left the keys to my new lodger and picked up my bags, and started my Journey to Porto, and I have not looked back since.
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