Where Can the Freelance Life Take You?

When I was 10 or 11 years old I had a vision that I would grow-up be a freelance writer, and live on top of a hill overlooking the ocean.

My vision has come to fruition in Venice Beach, California, for $2,500 a month…St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands for $800 a month…and most recently in Sesimbra, Portugal, just 30 minutes south of Lisbon, for $400 a month.

I like to think of myself as an adventurer in an affordable paradise. As a freelance writer, I can work wherever I choose. My business has been established since 1983, long before the Internet became the essential global business marketplace it is now.

Entrepreneurs can mitigate the risk of self-employment if they diversify, and freelance writing is no exception. In the beginning, I wrote grant proposals and diversified by adding website design, Internet marketing, and social media management services.

I’ve lived in Portugal for nearly two years, and plan to maintain my primary residence here in Sesimbra during the spring, summer, and fall months. I am however, on the lookout for a winter refuge that is warm, sunny, with an ocean view, and close to tennis courts.

My house in Sesimbra has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining room, patio, and terrace. The granite kitchen counter tops and floor is standard. The panoramic Atlantic Ocean view from my patio, terrace, and upstairs bedrooms is an embarrassment of riches, and the magnificent sunset view is jaw dropping.

The cost of living in Portugal is much lower than California where I am originally from (except for gasoline—it’s a good thing that the grocery store, plant nursery, and beach in Sesimbra are six minutes away by car.)

Sesimbra is a picturesque fishing village at the foot of Arrábida National Park. It’s lush and Portugal is a beautiful country. A typical week in Sesimbra involves tennis from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…shopping once a week…lunch or dinner with friends once or twice a week. I work Monday to Friday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and remain available via phone, email, and Skype until 10 p.m.

If you can navigate the Internet you can make friends when living abroad. I belong to a group called Inter Nations, which is comprised of international members of all ages.

Coming from California, the thing I miss most (besides family) is Mexican food. Personally, I’m not a lover of fish—which is abundant in Portugal—but the Portuguese make up for the lack of Mexican food with elaborate grills. I have a fully vented, built in-grill in my dining room.

My life in Portugal is a good life by any standard…but my journey goes on. Next winter I’m planning frequent trips to a warm island in the Indian Ocean to ride out the cold, wet, and fattening winter.

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