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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
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