No Particular Place To Go

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The apartment is a 5-minute walk to the beach and a minute walk to the heart of historic Lagos. It has a large kitchen with granite countertops, a dishwasher and washing machine, a balcony with a sea view and access to a rooftop terrace. We both like to cook and we eat the majority of our meals at home. We buy very little processed or ready-to-heat foods and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, fish, chicken and lean hamburger. This includes all the miscellaneous non-grocery items that usually get lumped in with the grocery bill like cleaning products and laundry soap, toiletries shampoo, toothpaste , paper towels and toilet paper.

It also covers household items such as a printer stand, pens and pencils, garbage bags, plastic storage bins and kitchen towels. Sewer and garbage is included in our rent. Gas in Portugal is outrageous no matter how you look at it. Meeting friends for a late lunch is one of our favorite things to do here in Lagos and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in the area to while away an afternoon.

For wine drinkers it can be a real bargain because sometimes a bottle of water costs more than a glass of wine! We carry a Portuguese private insurance for which we pay an additional copay per doctor or dentist visit. We did not include our medical costs or prescriptions as figures can vary greatly from person to person. We have everything we need at our fingertips but, more importantly, we have just about! It came as a bit of a shock to us, back in and traveling in Mexico, that there were no outward signs that our favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, was taking place back in the US.

We moved right from the Day-of-the-Dead to Christmas songs in the markets and grocery stores, simple and elaborate Nativity tableaus, and lighted decorations on the streets. That may have been our first clue that we were carrying some ethnocentric baggage with us as we moved from country to country. Interestingly, while mentioning Thanksgiving here in Portugal might get us a blank look, everyone knows exactly what the signs for Black Friday sales mean.

It appears some cultural mores cross borders easily. Portugal observes Daylight Saving Time so darkness comes earlier and mornings and evenings require a sweater or light jacket.

More By Done Again

And, instead of Thanksgiving heralding the holiday season, the Algarve Region has its own time-honored tradition: the annual Festival da Batata-Doce or Sweet Potato Festival. Taking place in nearby Aljezur population 6, over the three-day weekend at the end of each November, the festival features the handicrafts and products of the Algarve and pays tribute to the sweet potato as part of its cultural and culinary history.

The humble sweet potato is one of the earliest vegetables known to man with depictions of the root vegetable that date to prehistoric times discovered in Peruvian caves.

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However, it took a little persuading to convince Richard that we should go to the Sweet Potato Festival as he stubbornly maintains an aversion to the tuber being honored. In the end though, curiosity won out.

No Particular Place To Go

As expats, we love discovering festivals and learning about the cultural history of our adopted country. But, we also carry our Thanksgiving traditions in our hearts and each November we practice our own version of gratitude no matter where we are. In our former lives on Padre Island off the coast of Texas, one of the things we enjoyed most were the sea birds we could see in the wetlands near our house on a canal. We never failed to be thrilled by the V formations of twenty to thirty brown pelicans skimming close to the waves at the Padre Island National Seashore or the sight of a brown pelican streaking by outside our living room window and plunging into the water to catch a fish.

From our deck, we could see the birds feeding in the nearby wetlands: regal snowy egrets, white ibis, and gangly, great blue herons along with the roseate spoonbills that arrived each winter. Among our favorites were the huge, American white pelicans that circled around our green-light that rested on the canal bottom near our dock, dipping their heads under the water and hunting for easy pickings in the fish the light attracted.

The miles of beaches nearby always had an abundant variety of birds for us to watch and be entertained by: black skimmers, long-billed curlews, sanderlings, various plovers and terns, cormorants and the beach cleaners, turkey vultures who floating lazily overhead on the lookout for dead and tasty morsels. Through Mexico, Central and South America, we occasionally missed our binoculars when we spotted exotic and colorful tropical jewels like toucans, motmots, macaws, parrots, tiny hummingbirds and, another favorite of ours, the Montezuma oropendola with its pendulous, hanging woven nests dangling from a tree limb looking like something from a Dr.

Seuss book. And, on our visit to the Galapagos Islands, we really wished we could get an up-close-and-personal chance to study the blue-footed boobies, the two Galapagos penguins that graced us with a sighting and the magnificent frigates with their brilliant puffed out red throat pouches. We would try to remember things to help us identify the mystery birds when we thought to look them up later while on our computers but rarely had much luck. We long to put a name to the multitude of small and medium-sized birds with varying beak and tail shapes, a mix of differing markings and an array of colors that we see on the outskirts of towns, beside rural roads and walking in the countryside.

Photo Credit.


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A perfect, stand-out day with the sky a deep blue and the sun shining brilliantly overhead, the temperature exactly right, glimpses of a deep blue sea in the background, white sand drifting and forming continuous patterns and the golden grasses ruffled by the wind. Serious birdwatchers indeed, but how fun to have someone put a name to the birds we saw and share a lesson on spotting the distinctive as well as the subtle features important in identifying each species.

From August to November, the Sagres peninsula is a major migratory route for many species of birds leaving their European breeding grounds for the warmer climates of Gibraltar and Africa. Lucky for us, Lagos is a mere half-an-hour drive away and we made a couple of visits to the town of Sagres with a permanent population of wind-blown souls during the annual 4-day October Birdwatching Festival. With us were our good friends, Kiki and newly minted residents of Portugal, Anne and Tim Hall check out their blog, A New Latitude who also love to share their bird questing knowledge with us.

Incidentally, it was Tim who knew exactly what bird I was talking about when I rambled on about my mystery bird sightings. We were stoked! As we left the harbor heading out to sea, we saw a few birds perched along the rocky outcroppings and the red lighthouse marking Fortaleza de Sagres high above on the cliffs like a good omen. The sun shone, the water sparkled and a not-too-freezing wind blew by as the boat increased its speed with us continuously scanning and searching for sea creatures.

Before long, however, I was forced to lower my binoculars as they seemed to up my nausea quotient about fold despite the magical sea-bands I was wearing on each wrist and a hefty dose of Mexican meclizine. And then, a single dolphin broke the water on our side. Soon enough, we were seeing one, two and three at a time keeping pace with us and then disappearing. Eventually we saw them all along with the ubiquitous gulls, great skuas, northern gannets and European shags. The sea rocked the boat in the ocean swells and, as we picked up speed with the occasional hard thump where we met the water, the first passenger leaned over the rail to get rid of her breakfast, followed a short while later by the French couple whose names we never learned on either side of the boat.

And then, we were shadowed by an enormous cloud of birds circling overhead and suddenly we were in the midst of them: diving into the water, floating the waves and taking off to circle overhead again. Minutes ticked by slowly until time mattered no more. Back in , when we were in the midst of preparing for full-time travel and radically downsizing, our announcements of our plans to various friends and family got a lot of different responses.

Because the alternative question was, What if we died living our perfectly safe lives? That of course excluded: floods, fires and hurricanes, traffic accidents, robbers, mass-murderers, and various diseases lurking and waiting to ambush us. Or what if we died while we were reputably employed: watching the clock, feeling the stress and pressure build, buried under the day-after-day grind, waiting for something new to break up the routine, waiting for the weekend, waiting for retirement?

For us then, What if we die? A few months ago, we met with our Portuguese attorney and had him write a will for what few assets car, bank account we own here in Portugal. This will is written in Portuguese with an English translation. It specifically states that we do not want our remains to be repatriated to the US which is a huge expense and a why bother? No one in either of our families seems to care that much about our decision to remain wherever we drop either.

And, continuing with the mortal remains theme, last week we pre-paid for our imminent demise with a bare-bones no pun intended international funeral plan that includes everything we can anticipate. If you are a US citizen, you are required to pay income taxes no matter where you reside. TIP — For those of you considering an expat life living and working in another country as a U.

And yes, the IRS wants to know all about any money you make overseas. In other words, if you want a better answer, ask someone else. Foreign residents who live in Portugal are called probably one of the nicer names anyway N on- H abitual R esidents NHR and Portugal has a tax treaty in place with the US and several other countries that exempts these residents from double taxation on their foreign income.

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Of course, nothing is that easy and you have to:. We copied and submitted our income tax returns which worked just fine. In recent years, many foreign banks are refusing to work with American citizens because the US imposes burdensome filing requirements upon them but we found it remarkably easy to set up a bank account in Portugal and we made a good friend, Teresa, in the bargain. We refer all our friends to her. We picked Millennium BCP bank because it seems to be located in almost every city and village in Portugal, and our new BFF, Teresa, patiently walked us through all the forms.

The bank account required passports, our rental lease, our fiscal numbers trust us, this essential number, also known as an NIF , will be the most important part of your official new identity as a resident of Portugal and a copy of our US social security cards. We left with a stack of papers that included online instructions and passwords welcoming us and our money to the new Millennium family and received debit cards in the mail a couple of weeks later.

Note — We set up our account in November of TIP — If you plan to set up a bank account in Portugal or any foreign country for that matter this link is a terrific quick and dirty into to what you need to know about foreign bank account reporting as a US expat. Almost immediately after we received our residency cards, we signed up at our local health service center in Lagos bringing our passports along with us as required.

We were each issued a paper with our individual numbers to use in the event that we find it necessary to use the public healthcare system. The pharmacies are also quite different in Portugal compared to the US. Some medications like inhalers are available without a prescription and when your prescription is presented, the medication is located, a notation is written on your prescription indicating that the medication has been dispensed and the prescription is handed back to you.

Quick, efficient and quite a bit simpler than filling a prescription in the US but, my critique as a former pharmacist would be that there seems to be little advice given nor screening for drug interactions. There are upsides however, and almost all of the drug prices are much lower than in the US.

We love the pedestrian friendly streets too!


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  5. And, because laziness is always our convenient fallback, the fact that English is spoken widely has proven to be our greatest stumbling block. We really have to put forth an effort to find locals to practice our Portuguese with as they, in turn, like practicing their English on us expats. That said, Richard as always more diligent when it comes to language learning has been attending classes twice a week for several months and is actually making some progress.

    I, on the other hand, have found all sorts of excuses to avoid this exercise and fervently believe that some spouses should never attend the same classes if they want to remain happily married. We love exploring other parts of the country where finding English speakers is more difficult and having some familiarity with the language really enhances our experience. Is it worth it? Yes and Yes! Trading the routine and the known is a great and trusting leap into the unknown cosmos of foreign plane, train and bus terminals, unique and exotic cultures and different languages, customs and rules.

    But, we can truthfully say that we have never contemplated going back to our old lives. For us, going forward is infinitely more rewarding and making the decision to shake up our lives six years ago has wildly exceeded our expectations. It takes time. It takes discipline. It takes waiting around for a brilliant insight to hit you or an inspiring thought a very rare event and slogging ahead anyway when your muse is silent. Occasionally, we have an outline that we follow for a post but often, we just kind of watch and see how our post evolves in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way as this post did.

    In fact, it got away from us, growing into an unwieldy tome, which is why we broke it up into parts. And now, on with the countdown and our version of Twenty Questions. The Ups. For most of the three-plus years we were nomadic, we were slow travelers and spent an average of one to three months in each country.

    This allowed us to immerse ourselves into a destination, get familiar with how to navigate our way around a village or city and find out where the ATMs, markets and restaurants were located. Traveling slow also allowed us to settle into the not-so-exciting business of living our lives with the familiar routines of cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, correspondence and researching future places to visit. Actually living in a place, however short the time, also gave us a chance to explore and discover the landmarks and landscape at our leisure: sightseeing at its best.

    We chatted up the locals as best we could in our fractured Spanglish and exchanged a lot of smiles, nods and the occasional shrug. Whenever possible, we tapped into the local expat community to ask questions and meet people, many of whom we keep in touch with still. And always, there was the anticipation of our next destination. Tip — We traveled like the locals too, using the low-cost and well-developed bus systems of Mexico and Central America to slow travel from destination to destination. In countries where we were more concerned about possible violence or danger like El Salvador and Honduras, we checked with local travel agencies about shuttles and would hire recommended taxi drivers to act as our personal guides.

    Louis to Liverpool' album later that year -- 'No Particular Place' is a vintage ode to the simple pleasure of driving around with your sweetheart beside you and no obligations in your way. It's one of those classic '60s rock standards that's been heard so many times its sonic qualities are all but lost on the casual listener, but for a standard cruising number clocking in at a mere -- and one that recycles the music from one of Berry's own earlier hits -- 'No Particular Place to Go' is surprisingly robust, offering plenty of stinging Berry guitar to go with drummer Odie Payne's distinctive stop-and-start beat and Paul Williams' rollicking barrelhouse piano.

    It peaked at No.

    Toy Dolls-No Particular Place To Go

    His legal woes may have made it a little uncomfortable for some listeners to rock along with lyrics about Berry trying to get his passenger's, um, seatbelt unbuckled; as it turned out, subsequent years would find him struggling to score hits, even as he remained a steady live draw. All icky subtext aside, however, 'No Particular Place to Go' remains a solid weekend song -- and if you've learned to tune it out over the years, today's the perfect day to reacquaint yourself with one of rock's most enduring odes to freedom.

    We've embedded it below, so don't delay; hit 'play,' turn it up, and let the weekend start now.


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