Olá, bom dia!
This first post will form an introduction, a reasoning and an attempt to explain why in 2019 we’re starting a travel blog for Portugal. In the last few weeks, over numerous coffees and beers, with friends, with colleagues, and even between ourselves, this question has been asked and answered more times than I can count. So the why? Why in 2019 are we starting a travel blog? Well although Portugal has exploded in popularity, we often find there’s a shortage of comprehensive information outside of the main tourist attractions. We’d like to be the source of that information and share our experiences of the less travelled Portugal. Our combined experience as two expats has lead us to experience something quite different from the average tourist and we would like to share that with you.
This idea started as something much simpler, a list of local spots that we’d send to family and friends that were visiting. Then it grew to some hints and tips, where to go, what to avoid. It was not long before it became several pages of our very own travel guide and a small diary of what we had experienced. Shortly after that, the idea of launching our very own travel blog was born. We started this travel blog in Portugal to provide information on the smaller less-known places, waterfalls, lakes, beaches. It soon developed in to something much much bigger, with us wanting to encompass the local food, the culture, the history, and the people who live here’s actual stories.
Today you have travel bloggers ticking off every country in the world and giving you a ‘top-ten’ list of everything to see and do. Their profiles list how many countries or cities they’ve visited as a badge of honour. When we read or follow them we often think ‘How much did you actually see? How much did you actually learn?’. If you’re lucky they might cover a region or more than one town or a second city. Rarely do they go further, rarely do they actually live or stay longer than a few weeks in the regions they talk about. Although we might be in the golden age of travelling, budget flights, Trip Advisor, Google maps and a wealth of information at our finger tips, it often feels like everyone is funnelled to the same beauty spots, or sites before encouraging them to move swiftly on to the next one. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve both travelled extensively we’ve read blog after blog of the must sees in each destination and flicked through worn Lonely Planet guides in hostels. But with this blog we’d like to do something a little different. Travelling at a slower pace, going a little further, and discovering a little more. There’s always something new to discover and we firmly believe the traveller that takes an extra step will be rewarded. A beach a little quieter, a café a little more authentic, an experience that lots of people don’t always get.
We’d like to go beyond top-ten lists, beyond guidebooks that can be out of date before they’re out of print, and beyond Instagram beauty shots. During my day job, I’m a researcher at a university and some days I’ll spend hours trawling journal articles to advance a paper by a single sentence. We hope to provide the same diligence here, we want to give you a better insight, share with you the history, tradition and local knowledge of the places we uncover. We hope that you can both learn something and be inspired to travel further in Portugal.
Something that often frustrates us with today’s current crop of travel guides and bloggers is the lack of transparency and often lack of budget. ‘Here’s some fantastic food – but we’re not going to tell you how to get it or how much it costs’. With every town we visit, with every café we show you, we’ll explain how to get there, what it costs and give you our honest opinion. We’ll be completely open along the way. If we recommend something, we’re doing so because we’ve bought it, enjoyed it and want to share it! We’ve noticed that it seems that often travel bloggers have forgotten who they’re writing for. It seems they’ve forgotten that they need to provide value for the reader, not just extracting value out of their readers. Many blogs these days are spammed with affiliate links, advertisements, and that many booking forms that it can be hard to decipher what is and isn’t meaningful content. If we do provide advertising or affiliate links, we’ll be clear and open about them. Our goal isn’t to monetise every single part of this website, as frequent users of ‘adblockers’ we’d like to provide an add free experience as possible and would like to keep it that way.
So here goes to this, a travel blog for Portugal concerned with slowing down and taking in those areas often missed by the eager tourist. We’d like to inspire other travellers to step outside the comfort zones of familiarity and explore a little further. We’d like to show you the beauty of Portugal, the food, the culture, the lifestyle, while also sharing insightful knowledge on its history and traditions. We’re constantly explaining to people that there’s more to Portugal than beaches, resorts and golf courses and this blog is where we intend to show it. We hope you’ll stick around to discover it with us.
Annie and Ollie