Creating your dreams is such a good feeling

Marelle Boersma (59) & Jan Kostelijk (61) are originally from Wageningen in the Netherlands. In the summer of 2015, they moved to the Algarve where they now live close to São Marcos da Serra. Marelle is a writer and writing teacher. Check out her work on

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine April 2017


What inspired you to move to the Algarve?

Marelle: Sometimes you meet someone who will change your life completely. This happened to me two years ago, when I had my first date with Jan. He almost immediately told me his dream was to move to Portugal. I just said ‘Okay, I’ll go with you.’ Then I shared my dream: resigning my stressful job and focussing on my career as an author and writing coach. Within three months, we went to Portugal for the first time. And within nine months after meeting each other, we fell in love for the second time, with a property filled with fruit trees. Now we’re the happy owners of an old quinta in the hills of the Algarve.

When did you feel at home here?

Marelle: We’ve been here now for almost two years. It is a very happy life, and most of the time I’m feeling at home. But… I don’t know. There are times I really long for the Netherlands, my two sons, my family and just being able to ride into the city on my bike. In the Algarve we live too far away from everything. However, the climate and very nice surroundings make it easy to be happy here.

Was it hard to get accustomed to the Portuguese lifestyle?

Marelle: Portuguese people are very relaxed, which is a great lifestyle, and very healthy too. But because I just started my own business, I’m still very ambitious. So it’s nice to be able to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and live a more relaxed life, but I think I’m still too Dutch in my work rate.

How does your life differ now you live here?

Marelle: There is no alarm in the morning. We start with a relaxed breakfast on our veranda, with oranges from our own trees, and sit in the sun. Afterwards, we both go our own way: Jan goes growing vegetables on the land or working on the house, and I’m either writing or giving courses.
The main change is that we’ve mixed our dreams and are able to organise writing holidays on our own property. We’ve built two wooden writing houses and had a very successful first year. Part of this success is due to Jan, who turned out to be a Masterchef in the kitchen, preparing lunches and dinner for our groups with food that comes straight from our land. We’ve also organised a week of mindful writing; a combination of mindfulness and reflective writing to meet yourself and forget all the stress and deadlines in your life. Our location is a perfect place to do this. It’s such a good feeling to be able to be our own boss, and just create our dreams. We’re enjoying every moment together.

What is your favourite Algarve moment?

Marelle: Breakfast. Almost the entire year we have breakfast on our veranda in the sun, with our two Portugese dogs playing around us. It’s great to be able to pick our own oranges whenever we like.

What annoys you here?

Marelle: The most difficult part is making appointments with people. The well-known expression ‘amanha’ literally means tomorrow, but it really means: not today. This I find still hard to accept.

What do you miss most from the country you’re from originally?

Marelle: My children, my parents and rest of the family. And to have all sorts of activities close-by.

Which 5 words would best describe the Algarve for you?

Marelle: Paradise, relax, healthy, dream, beautiful nature.

What’s your favourite spot?

Marelle: On the top of our own mountain; it has a great view over the hills.

In what way does the Algarve inspire you?

Marelle: The quiet surroundings are very inspiring, especially for me as a writer. Another thing is that I make more pictures; the surroundings of our quinta, the beautiful coast, the special insects and other animals, it’s all begging to be shared with my friends. This photography is something I enjoy a lot.

How’s your Portuguese coming along?

Marelle: We manage. We’ve been taking lessons for over a year and are now able to understand our neighbours. This is very important, as we’re surrounded by Portuguese people. It’s still a very difficult language to pronounce, but we try, and that’s very much appreciated.

Do you have a secret tip for our readers?

Marelle: Don’t only stay on the beach. Leave the touristic coast and visit the hills which are just over 40kms to the north. Here you’ll find the authentic Portuguese people, friendly little villages and a very relaxing nature. And if you look carefully, you’ll also find us, just being happy.

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine April 2017

Posted in Algarve expat stories.