Hey all. The website has some new subscribers and it's been a while since I talked about plans for this place, so that's what I'm going to do.
My original plan was to focus on the Algarve exclusively, with an emphasis on what it takes to move there. I wanted to cover the logistics of the process, but also dive deep into the area itself - what the country is like, culture, real estate, weather, food, and so on. As time went on during the Quar, I learned a bunch of things. The first is that my love of the Algarve and Portugal generally was confirmed. I've gotten so much pleasure exploring, especially through Google Maps, Street View, and Earth; a pale imitation compared to actually being there, but better than nothing by a long shot. Also through browsing and evaluating real estate listings, as that is a way to be introduced to villages and towns that I would other wise never have heard of. These are things I will definitely continue to do on this site, so expect ongoing real estate reviews and lots of screen shots of various locales. You can also expect me to continue looking at homesteading Portugal, especially on a budget. Researching properties that could fit a couple or family looking to simplify their lives and increase self-reliance is very rewarding for me. It's a lifestyle that has a lot of personal appeal. I look forward to the day that a place I highlighted and reviewed leads to an actual sale and somebody/ies starting a new life. That would really give me a charge. Because I look mainly at the most inexpensive options possible, this means a lot more focus on Central Portugal and less on the Algarve where prices are higher. I can see myself writing articles about this, too - irrigation, growing schedules, that kind of thing.
I will also continue to feature photographers of Portugal, particularly those that make their work available for use through the Creative Commons. So much good work out there by talented and generous individuals.
So, a Portuguese flavour will be retained. I think it's important for a website to have a hook, a through-line, a framing device, and I like having Portugal and the Algarve serve that function. Inexhaustible content that is interesting, attractive, and with a wide range of appeal.
I'm going to widen my mandate quite a bit, though. This certainly risks losing focus, but at the same time increases the amount of content I can generate (and be enthusiastic about generating - very key). I will now be including the rest of the world in my Google Map/Street View/Earth forays, and devoting considerable time to fleshing out my newly rediscovered passion for photo/digital-art work and finding ways to get that work on to different products. I'm toying with the idea of making WhyTheAlgarve a designer label. I have no idea how to go about that, might be the height of naive hubris to think that is possible, but I'm going to try anyway. I get so much happiness and creative satisfaction out of it that it seems unthinkable not to explore this avenue. As a name, WhyTheAlgarve is questionable, but I'm working with what I have. This effort will involve posting designs here with links to products on various print-on-demand services, but also posts about the designs - the process and their backstories. One thing I have learned about the world of art is that a major component is interpreting your work and explaining meaning so that viewers can place each work in context. In the back of my mind there is always the question, "How would you justify this piece on a grant application form?" I will likely also highlight other designers I like, such as this guy:
This amazing piece was made by Timmy Willy, featured on his website, Art Won't Wait. I found him on Instagram, and wow - just truly impressive. Melding high-end woodwork with strong artistic concepts. He'll get a post of his own soon.
That's all for now. I hope you stick around. Heading down an overtly artistic road is no bad thing, I think. I'll leave you with a Google Earth view of a part of Iran:
I can't figure out that blue stuff. No way it's water. I like finding things that puzzle me. :-)
Take care of yourself.