Portugal, winter is coming, settling down

Lately life, here in my van, has settled down a bit. In a good way :-). Lotje has gotten a new starting battery. The glow plugs were fine, so I’m ready for winter (at least, I hope so!). My maintenance battery is also feeling happier, after 24 hours on electricity. I was getting a bit fed up with not having any power in the evening and morning. So, I was thinking of getting that battery replaced as well (I have two separate batteries, one for starting the van, one for light and power etc), even though I had bought it new before starting my trip. But, since batteries aren’t cheap and not very kind to the environment, I figured, I’d email the company I bought it from. They recommended me this. It worked, although I still need to think about what I want to charge every day…

winter sun
The sun just doesn’t get boring..

Also, it was nice to spend a night at a very nice basic camping in Ingrina, with a hot shower. So now, there is more than candlelight in the evening. A tap that works, no more clicking of the electrical ignition of the fridge at night when the battery is too low and a laptop that can be charged again. How else was I going to write and share my stories? Of course, I could go to café’s where there is power and internet, but I don’t really want to be doing that.

I’m spending a lot of time with my newly made, mostly German speaking, friends. It’s really nice to not be alone so much and to be around people I connect with. We can have beautiful conversations, we laugh and play and the 2 kiddies are absolutely cute.

Every fourth Sunday of the month, there is a hippie market in Barrão de São João.

Travellers and locals gather there to sell food, self-made jewellery or decorations or their things from home. We went there a few days in advance to be sure to have a good spot and build our little camp. I had decided to give massages and the others were making food; Tom Kha (no) Gai, coconut soup and Austrian Kaiserschmarrn.

hippie market
Our little hippie market area, full of good food and good people! (pictures by @sunchasin)

In the end, the food went really well, massages not. The weather wasn’t great and in my opinion, it was way too crowded to be able to give a nice relaxing massage. At some point, I felt a bit frustrated on the other hand, I just wasn’t feeling it (these emotions were probably feeding each other..). I also don’t really feel that massage is something that you can sell, although that might also just be my belief and excuse to not do anything. That little voice in my head, saying, that nobody is really waiting for what I have to offer.

I guess that’s also part of the process I’m in. Figuring out how I can share my knowledge and ability and getting it out there. I do feel more and more confident about what I want to be doing, I’m just not sure how to get there yet. As with everything else in life, babysteps… and maybe not be too hard on myself. It’s ok to take some extra time and maybe not have everything be perfect (it’s not really ok, but maybe if I keep telling myself that, I start to believe it.. ;))

My retreat plans have however developed! I’ve been talking and planning with Marrit, putting together a really nice week about food and movement. Also, my plans with my aunt are still very alive and I’m working on online video’s. The last part is going particularly slow… procrastinating is the easiest thing in the world. All in good time I guess 🙂


We’ve also made very serious plans to go to Morocco. We are 6 vans so far. We might go in smaller groups at different times, because of the holidays. Although plans change here all the time.

This life is great for learning to live in the moment and not be too attached to anything.

But the idea is, to all meet up again in January. It feels good to have this plan, together with this group of people.

Sometimes it crosses my mind, that this too, is temporary. This community we have formed. But, I guess it’s also a beautiful thing that I can experience this. Sometimes I doubt whether I should have left Holland at all. That the friendships I have are changing, because of my decision. And how things could have been if I had stayed. But then I wouldn’t have had the experiences I have now and going through everything that I’m going through, good and bad. Dealing with really being alone, opening up to and meeting new people, which I would have barely been able to do several years ago. It’s something I keep coming back to, the ‘what ifs’.

Now though, whenever I feel stuck in my thinking I listen to the audiobook of the work, I have of Byron Katie. This always brings me back to a sort of peace and openness. The question to my thinking of; can I absolutely know it’s true and turning it around, is super interesting. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, look it up, I can really recommend it.

Learning about my own fears and projections and listening more to my gut feeling, knowing that when my mind gets really restless about something, something needs to be said or done (which tends to not be easy and involves being vulnerable…).

winter cold
It has been cold here! Ice on everything!

Winter has arrived here, it has been getting colder, especially the nights.

I mean, it’s nothing compared to anything north of Portugal, because when the sun is out during the day it’s still around 20 degrees (when you’re out of the wind). But we don’t have central heating… Even the night of the 1st of December, after celebrating Sabrina’s birthday by going out for dinner near Aljezur, we woke up with iced windows… As some of us came out of the vans we looked around, kind of shocked and couldn’t stop saying ‘What the Fuck????’. It was pretty funny, but really cold. So we drove off, before breakfast even, and parked our vans closer to the ocean in the sun. That was so much better. I’ve now taken out the sheepskin that I brought. I had really been wondering why I had taken it, but now I’m really happy with it, in between my bedsheets and zipped-open sleeping bag. There is also a gas heater in my van, but I haven’t used that yet. It probably hasn’t been necessary enough :-). Fortunately, after the very cold night, everything became a bit warmer again. Making the nights and especially the mornings more comfortable.

indoor winter dinners
Cosy indoor dinner time!

Most evenings now are spent in the vans. We usually gather in Stefan and Sabrina’s van for dinner, because that has the most space. And when Mavie has to go to bed, we leave and I usually go to my own van.

Except for 1 evening; Sinterklaas evening. We started the celebration early in the afternoon. Sinterklaas even visited, it was hilarious! He had is big book with him (which was actually a sexbook by Goedele Liekens) and said something about everyone. There was one little boy, whom, I believe, was quite impressed.


After Sinterklaas left, we played a dice game with the presents everyone had brought (homemade, second-hand and foodstuff). I got myself a fishing rod! Just need to get hooks and stuff and then have a go. It’s always funny to see what becomes popular during the game. Afterwards we built a fire, cooked some food and had a lovely evening together.


Now, everyone is splitting up bit by bit. Either going back for the holidays or moving somewhere else, mostly east, towards Spain. Most people, however, are planning to join in the Morocco plan, because it will only get colder and wetter here. So we’ll meet up again.


But first, I’ll fly back to the Netherlands. I’ll go back to spend a week in the lab in the AMC to help out with some experiments, surrounded by good people and earn some money. Then it’s acro-yoga time, where Ellen and me will be teaching a workshop, followed by family time during Christmas. I did promise myself to not go al crazy traveling through the country to see everyone, but I’m not sure if I can really keep that promise… 😉




  1. Hoi Rianne,
    Dank je dat ik zo op afstand een stukje van jouw leven en avonturen mag volgen. Het is prachtig, en zo waardevol de tijd die je neemt om te basic te leven en uit te vinden wat je werkelijk wilt doen met jouw leven. Ik ben ervan overtuigd dat de puzzelstukjes op hun eigen tijd precies op de juiste plek samen vallen en dat elke bewuste ervaring precies dat gaat bijdragen tot een geheel wat of waar je nu nog geen idee van hebt. Je weet alleen nooit hoelang iets nodig heeft om te op te komen en te gaan bloeien. Ik heb daarin zoveel wonderlijke dingen in mijn leven meegemaakt dat ik weet dat er altijd een echo komt op dat wat je doet en uitzend. The hard part is om precies genoeg wakker te zijn wanneer je antwoord treintje aankomt.. Ik wens je nog een prachtige tijd en fijne maand december met vrienden en familie 😘 heel veel goeds en een harte groet Pieter van der Poort (we hebben elkaar op Helios ontmoet in de tantra training blokken)

    1. Hi lieve Pieter,

      Haha ik ben je nog niet vergeten hoor! Dank je wel voor je lieve berichtje. Het is inderdaad een hoop zaaien nu en dan zien wat er op mag bloeien, al gebeurd er al veel en voel ik wel een rust dat het goed gaat komen, heel diep van binnen. Neemt niet weg dat het een spannend avontuur blijft!

      Lieve groet,

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