My life in the Algarve - Elisabetta TheGoldenage

My life in the Algarve, Elisabetta TheGoldenage



AGG: Elisabetta, please tell us about your transition from growing up in one of the prettiest parts of Italy and leaving all of that behind in order to experience a very different culture here in Portugal.

ET: Well, it has been quite a journey. Yes, I grew up in one of the prettiest regions of Italy but as you are probably aware, visiting and permanently living in a place are two different sides of a coin. I was becoming quite stifled by the politic and economic situation in Italy, good job opportunities were very hard to find and far between, and life was becoming very stressful. Harbour Algarve

After a period of deep thinking, I decided to consider moving abroad, my house was already for sale, many aspects of my life needed a change and I felt a strong desire to experience the culture of another country. I came to Portugal, for the 1st time of my life, to visit some Italian expats during a long weekend holiday. I toured the Algarve, loved it and so much so that soon after I got back home I got an offer from a potential buyer for my house in Florence, and so made preparations to leave my home country. I sold my house, gave up my job and said goodbye to my old life. When I arrived here, back in the July of 2017, I made a conscious decision to not actively seek out other Italian people. I wanted to experience a total immersion into the language and culture. Thank goodness I made that choice because, when I finally got a job in Real Estate in January 2018, no concessions were made by the company for my limited ability to speak Portuguese, e.g. all my training and all the conversations with colleagues etc were conducted in their native language. It was quite a challenge but I managed it and I am glad I did it that way, I’m grateful for the opportunity that my co-workers gave me. I have changed a lot as a person, I am more relaxed here and grateful for what I do have. At the moment, from my home I have a great view of the sea and I live very close to the beach. I simply love the connection with this aspect of nature.

AGG: Has being a bisexual woman made a difference to your experience of living here?

ET: Well, I certainly haven't experienced any adversity from colleagues and other people outside of work. My experience maybe has been quite different to other LGBT people living here. Firstly, there has been and currently, the difficulty of meeting up with other Lesbians. I feel it is a bit easier for Gay men, they seem to meet each other at clubs, and those are the kinds of places where Lesbians don't tend to hang out. Of course I see women around town, although not many and mostly much younger than me, in couples, and at work some are our clients, again couples! So how do two single lesbians meet each other? I don't have an answer for you right now. archway Algarve

Secondly, I am in a relationship but not ideal as she just moved from the UK to Portugal, very far from where I live. Long distance relationships are challenging for that reason. I therefore don't see us a couple like the couples I see together here. But I am very happy here and I am grateful for the friends that I have made, and my colleagues, although quite old fashioned in their views regarding LGBT people, have been and always are very supportive and I enjoy their company.

AGG: Where do you typically like to go, whether or alone or with friends, to play and socialise?

ET: I live so close to the beach that I go there often in my free time. It is so relaxing for me and I love the energy of the sea. I might typically go with a few people to Fuseta beach or to the Island of Armona, there are no cars on the Island and so it is quite magical. There is another nice beach where LGBT people tend to hang out, and that is Barril beach in Tavira Island: both Barril and Armona have also a beach for naturism. There is a cute bar in the fisherman village of Fuseta, it is called Nano Brew and is run by a Norwegian couple. It's quite a chilled place so I like to go there with a few friends at the weekend or after work. I love exploring the history of this country and so I might take a new visitor to the city of Faro, Tavira or some of the many small towns on the coast for example, dive into the small local museums or simply wander the old streets to soak up the atmosphere.

AGG:  When we first met you mentioned your photography project, how is that going?

ET: My intention is to capture the intimacy, romance and emotions of individuals and couples, in a very relaxed manner. They call this style boudoir photography, being that it is very intimate and very personal. The focus may specifically become LGBT but at the moment I am not limiting my creativity to just our community. And, another idea is to become a 'fly on the wall' kind of photographer. By this I mean for example, a couple might like taking pictures of each other, but when they go out for the day to the beach or the mountains it would be great if they could simply enjoy the experience of being together. Having a camera is quite a responsibility and it can take away the enjoyment of being in the moment with the person or people that we love. This is where I come in. I love candid photography, I would simply shadow my clients and capture the day's activities as unobtrusively as possible. It is something that I like doing with friends, I enjoy it very much and so far people are happy with the results!

AGG: And finally, any top tips for someone who is considering moving here to the Algarve?

ET: Choose carefully before making a final decision to settle down because each town or region will give you a different experience. Therefore I feel it is important to research and explore places that you feel attracted to so that you get to know the reality of what life is really like there. One place may suit your personality where as others may not suit you at all. There is scope to invent a new life for yourself here, where ever you decide to settle. Therefore if make a conscious effort to look beneath the surface you will  most likely discover opportunities that may not have been obvious at first glance.

AGG: Thanks for talking with us. We look forward to hearing more about your photography project and sharing the images with your followers.

ET: Thanks, I am very interested in your Algarve Gay Guide, it is a brilliant idea, much needed and very useful!Algarve sea view