The memories of travelling are made more poignant by the people we meet along the way. Connecting with fellow travellers who have similar passions and goals create a unique travel family, a travel tribe. They each have their own incredible stories to tell. Welcome to the first edition of The Guest Blogs.
Welcome to the first edition of my guest blogs! In this blog artist, Sonia Nowak talks about the inspiration behind her artwork and how she came to live in rural Portugal.
How did i meet this incredible lady?
I first met Sonia back in 2018 when i was volunteering on a rural lodge and farm in the Serra da Estrela region of Portugal. Back then Sonia and her family were living in a caravan on the land and doing everything to make their dream life a reality. I found Sonia's story both inspiring and heart felt as she was really focused on creating a better quality of life for herself and her family.
Fast forward two years and Sonia is now living on her Quinta (farm) in Portugal and living fully in her creativity, in a life she had always dreamed of. I hope you enjoy this story from one of my travel family.
The Art Of Living By Sonia Nowak
I have always been a creative person although my passion for painting came much later in my life. I believe that every person in the world is creative and able to produce art in some form or other.
It wasn’t as easy to be creative whilst I was living in UK. The distractions of my job, family, time and other excuses were always present. One could say I had it all. For some time, I felt like this was true.
I used to have this little voice creeping in every so often and telling me ‘is this really what you want’…. ‘are you happy with yourself’. This inner voice became louder and louder, so much so that I could no longer ignore it or push it away.
Listening To My Inner Voice
I decided that it was time I started listening to this voice. I found that the more I made time for painting or crafting, gardening and growing as much food as possible, the clearer its sound appeared.
One day, myself and my partner were catching up in our beloved garden after a busy week at work (we are our happiest when together, outside, working the land, exploring possibilities and being creative).
We both discussed our lives and where we were heading. Surely there is more to life than just making money to pay all the bills and just dreaming??
It was at that point our journey towards the ‘Art of Living’ began.
I started researching how we could start to make the changes necessary for our lives to be more in tune with our hearts. Where it would be possible to live as close to nature as possible and live off the land whilst making the littlest impact on Pacha Mama (Mother Earth).
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During our research we considered France, visited Spain and even thought of returning back to Czech Republic (where I am originally from). None of these options resonated with our souls. Then we discovered Portugal.
Portugal is the kind of reclusive country no one really knows much about other than the Algarve, Port wine and the footballer Ronaldo.
During our first visit to this magical country back in November 2017 (just 5 days after the fires), we realised this was to become our chosen land. In an instant we fell in love with the nature, the countryside and the mountains. Due to the fires everything was black, there were no sounds of birds singing…. pure devastation in the places we visited.
Despite all of this, we felt something in our hearts. Something stirred inside us and we felt the energy of the place. One of the days we visit the medieval castle in Linhares da Beira.
Whilst both standing on the castles walls overlooking the wonderful green valley which had been spared of blazing fires, I turned to Zuzana and said, ‘I want to live here’.
Making The Move To Portugal
Within six months we sold our house, quit our jobs, and bought a tiny caravan. Together with our daughter and Suki the dog, after 14 years, we left England and went on the journey.
It took us another year to find the right place until we bought our Quinta (farm) right below Linhares castle with its magnificent 360° views.
Our Quinta has a fruit orchard, a vineyard, pastures for our sheep and 200 olive trees. We also managed to rescue 4 Serra da Estrela breed dogs (named after region) and rehome one of them.
We have now refurbished the house that resembled more of a barn when we first moved in. I also have my atelier now proudly placed on a wall where I can splash paint on freely along with a table where I can sew and craft anything that comes to my mind. Thanks to our sheep I can now work with raw fleece as well as trying my hand on natural dyes.
Follow Your Heart
Our journey continues every day, as one cannot be ever done. Change is the only constant in our lives.
Stepping outside your comfort zone might be the best thing you will ever do because it will force you to ditch the fear.
Just like the painting, my style is always evolving. The more I paint with my intuition the more and better it gets. And the Art of Living works on the same principle.
Follow you heart. Always.