Follow your intuition

This month we meet Carin Carli (45) and ask her 12 questions about her move to the Algarve. Originally from Holland, Carin moved to the south of Portugal just over four years ago. She now lives in Boliqueime, together with her English boyfriend Andy (48), a sports physiotherapist, and their five cats. Carin is a health coach and has her own company, Your Wakeup Call.

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine May 2016

What inspired you to move to the Algarve?

Carin: after some difficult years in Holland, I decided to leave the country and work on a cruise ship in the detox, massage and fitness department. The work was great, but sharing a cabin when you’re almost 40 wasn’t, so I looked for a similar job on land. By chance I found a little detox hotel in the Algarve that was looking for a sports instructor and massage therapist. I sent them my CV and got the job. I followed my heart and my intuition and just went. I never really had the wish to go to Portugal, it could have been anywhere, but it turned out to be the best choice I’d ever made.


When did you feel at home here?

Carin: after two weeks in the Algarve, I already knew that I could stay here. However, I was staying in one of the rooms of the hotel, or a nearby apartment if they were fully booked, living out of my two suitcases, so it didn’t feel like home. Now, I think I could live everywhere as long as l’ve got Andy and the cats by my side.

Was it hard to get accustomed to the Portuguese lifestyle?

Carin: before I set up my own business, it wasn’t hard at all. It almost felt like a holiday living here unhurried, reading books and going to the beach after work. It wasn’t until I met Andy and we decided to start our own business, 1.5 years ago, that I ran into things that sometimes don’t go as smooth as you’d wish or are used to from your home country. Bureaucratic stuff like banks and social security is a good example of issues I had to get accustomed to.


How does your life differ now you live here?

Carin: my life is much more flexible and that’s a good thing as I hate a 9-to-5 routine! I like the sun, the climate, the temperature and the food here. Most contact I have with other foreigners and sometimes friendships can be a bit lighter, more superficial, as all expats are on the move and all is temporarily. For me as well; for now Andy and I live in the Algarve. How long we’ll stay? For as long as we like it here.


What is your favourite Algarve moment?

Carin: early spring and summer mornings. When the sun comes up at 6.30am it feels like a natural moment to wake up. I love the sunshine here; after one cloudy day, I want the sun again. Strange, as in Holland I was used to cloudy weeks or even months.

What annoys you here?

Carin: the fact that people can still smoke everywhere inside when having dinner. And the selfish behaviour of Portuguese people in traffic; they don’t leave you any room at all. I also dislike the cheap quality of stuff; from clothing to garbage bags, everything you buy falls apart when using it.


What do you miss most from Holland?

Carin: snowdrops and crocuses. To me, those flowers represent spring and are a sign that the winter is over. Here, there’s flowers growing and orange trees blossoming the whole year round. That’s why I also sometimes miss the strong red and yellow colours of autumn leaves, it’s the changing of the seasons that you don’t notice so much when living in Portugal.


Which 5 words would best describe the Algarve for you?

Carin: blue skies, smell of orange blossom, rocky cliffs, fantastic seafood and a multicultural society.


What’s your favourite spot?

Carin: I’m not sure I have one, actually. At the moment I’m very work orientated. However, I like to sit out on my terrace. When I’ve just woken up, I do some exercise and then I sit outside with a cup of coffee, planning the day ahead in my little notebook.

In what way does the Algarve inspire you?

Carin: the gorgeous landscape here really helps to make me feel grounded. Until a few months ago, all I could think of was work, work and more work. Then one day I stepped outside the house for a short walk. After half a kilometre I already found myself standing in a field full of flowers, nobody else around. I should really do that more often; it helps with my personal goal, which is to live healthy. For this, I try to keep my mind clear, paying special attention to nutrition, exercise, stretches and yoga. Naturally, this fits in with my work as a health coach; I like the interaction with people who are willing to make changes in their lives. Making them feel more energised makes me happy as well. I don’t tell them what to do, but instead help them to find their own truth and follow their own intuition. Everyone’s different and it’s all about finding out what works best for you. Being physically fit is great. Just to be able to run up a stairs and not have heavy legs afterwards; I want everyone to experience how good that is.

How’s your Portuguese coming along?

Carin: when I arrived here, I took lessons and now I can get along. There isn’t a real need for me to speak Portuguese, as most of my clients are English and most Portuguese people are fluent in English as well. However, I think you should try to speak the language a bit if you live here. It’s a sign of respect, like eating Portuguese food and trying out their recipes.


Do you have a secret tip for our readers?

Carin: be mindful; even when certain things annoy you, try to look at them as if you see them for the first time. When you need tips or advice, go to one of the Algarve expat groups on Facebook, like this one, they’re full of handy tips. Last, but not least I’d say: the Algarve is full of gorgeous places – enjoy it as much as you can!

Pictures by Kyle Rodriguez


See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine May 2016

Posted in Algarve expat stories.