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emma – how it all began

I was conceived during the Woodstock Music Festival of 1969. It was a beautiful moment in history filled with love and peace and marijuana. My parents weren’t actually at the festival at the time, and quite probably they were unaware of it even going on.

my family

Certainly they were not smoking any marijuana as they didn’t have the time for fun. My mother was busy raising my four older siblings and my father was busy wondering just how much longer his sideburns should be.

My start in life has been poetically described by my mother as “one of the nights she gave in”, almost like a preamble for the middle-class ordinariness of the childhood to follow. Although I did manage to direct my first short film while still in the womb (a film industry joke), my childhood was otherwise uneventful.

So, I left school and the next day started working in the film industry where I remained for 18 years until the day I said NO MORE and I decided to simply throw myself at the world and see what happened. I had actually thrown myself at the world before from time to time, and it was always quite a lot of fun. But this time I was serious. After all, I had sold my entire wardrobe on the internet for $250, so there was no going back because I would have nothing to wear.

Emma school

Here was the plan. I had done a lot of research about Croatia and Bulgaria and restaurants and hotels and cafes and real estate. I knew that buying a house, renovating and selling it was something I could do legally almost anywhere. Outside of the film industry, travelling, cooking and building stuff were my three big passions. On one of my flights into the world I opened a café in an oasis in Egypt. I’ve renovated every house I’ve ever lived in. I was the kind of girl who asked for a tool kit for her 21st birthday. Besides, I’ve directed two films and produced billions of dollars of television commercials so therefore I am sufficiently up-myself to believe I can do anything. Alright?

So that was it. I had a list of about 10 countries to go to and I had a bunch of friends to catch up with. I’d go looking for something to do. First I went on a “holiday” of three months in South East Asia. One of my most favourite places on earth is Laos. It was about 10 years since I had been there and it was great to see that is was still paradise. If everything goes up the creek I know can always go there and live on $5 a day.

Then I went to England to see a good friend and get her married. Then Berlin, another friend, and then Sweden, more friends and some family. Then I started on a tour I thought would last a couple of years: Portugal was to be followed by Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, bit of Bosnia maybe Hungary, then some Sicily, Copenhagen…

But I liked Portugal so much I decided to stay…


READ NEXT: how I came to buy my house in portugal
Also see Emma in the Media


  1. Adrian Lesher December 7, 2017 1:59 am Reply

    Can you recommend a good real estate lawyer in Porto?

    [Reply to comment]

  2. Mercedes February 18, 2018 10:39 am Reply

    Hi Emma, I found your blog researching about getting my Australian citizenship ( I am from Argentina). I have lived here for 4 years and will apply next month.
    The crazy thing is that I also have the desire to move to Portugal in the short term and I could not believe all the hazle that you have to go through in Germany to get your Portuguese visa. OMG! I was hard to get my permanent residence here, but far from all the details that you mentioned. Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope the information will help me get to Portugal soon. It looks like the universe is posting me to right the direction here, this was not a coincidence. Cheers.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: March 8th, 2018 at 11:00 am

    good luck mercedes!

    [Reply to comment]


  3. Brad Majors September 25, 2018 12:55 pm Reply


    Are you back in Portugal?

    I heard you may be ill and I have been hoping for your recovery. You have helped so many of us discover Portugal. My wife and I are moving to the Azores in Jan 2019 and you really helped us do it. Thank you, Emma.

    I hope all works out for you.

    [Reply to comment]

  4. Julie January 16, 2019 1:31 pm Reply

    Thinking of moving to Portugal, early day’s yet. Property Price’s look good. Where do we start? Visiting friends in May for reke. Do we need vias to live there etc. Literally no idea. Many Thanks for your blog.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: February 1st, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    I’d read blogs like this and search topics on expatsportugal.com which has 100,000+ pages of questions and answers on moving to portugal related matters. good luck!!

    [Reply to comment]

  5. Linda Vieira May 25, 2019 5:49 am Reply

    Hi Emma there are 3 of us maybe 4 who would like to take a breadmaking class near Aveiro in September. Any advice?? Linda

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  6. ari mendes November 17, 2019 10:35 am Reply

    Emma I hope you are well, you haven’t posted anymore on your blog…

    [Reply to comment]

  7. Melanie August 15, 2020 1:39 pm Reply

    I was looking at an expat website and your blog came up in the writings. I loved your blog and can’t believe how long I’ve been dreaming of moving to Portugal. Do you still have your home there?I just read why you moved back to Australia so at least now I know what happened.

    [Reply to comment]

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