the Australia of Europe


I spent my first 15 years in a quite village-type of place, but I was in Amsterdam all the time since my parents both had their businesses and roots there. After a certain age, I couldn’t wait to move there: I had a fantastic time, I ran an event business, it was all going great, I had a house on the canals, I was going to work with my boat and I thought I was just on the top of the world. But then you go travelling to a place like Thailand, and realize, what the hell you are doing in Amsterdam. To a place, where it’s super laid-back, and nobody cares about your shoes or whatever you’re wearing. There is space and air to breathe, and sun. It was there I realized: I want to be in my slippers, I want to be close to the sea, I want to live in a country with much more sun, and away from the system. What I love about travelling, when you take a right turn or a left, you go from 1 point to the next by synchronicity and not by planning if you allow it to happen. In exactly this way this land in Odeceixe, Portugal was really given to me, I just waited for the signs, and it just presented itself to me, and now I’m here – already for 8,5 years.

Rota Vicentina goes through my land, and one of my most special moments was a couple of weeks ago, when we participated on the day of questionnaire with my kids, and they enjoyed it so much: they don’t like hiking, but when there is a certain task to accomplish, you can see on their faces that they have a really good time – and it’s an amazing moment to share with your kids in nature.

When this place chose us, I fell in love with the natural features of this place: you couldn’t see where the other land started, there are no fences, and the river, which is the gold vein of everything, made the final choice quite easy. First of all it came to us and secondly you need lots of water if you want to live self-sustainably. For me this is the Australia of Europe: you don’t see this anywhere else, all the other coastlines have been raped in the 70-ies and 80-ies, but here the properties are large, so you have very few people per hectare, and that is for me unique with this fantastic climate.

Right when I bought the property I became a father as well, so everything went very fast: one moment I was a totally free worldtraveller, I had enough money to do whatever I want, everything was cruisy, and then I bought the place, got my first of 2 kids, 3 donkeys, 3 dogs, 10 cats, 40 chickens and all of a sudden I had a massive responsibility. So I’ve learnt how to be responsible for something else than just my own life, how not to prioritize myself but prioritize others. How to walk slowly: when I arrived here I was running up and down, climbing back because I always forgot something in the house. In Amsterdam everything is about working, hasting all day long from one place to another. I started to change my way: now I take my time, when I go somewhere, I grab what I need beforehand, but I move slowly, because that’s the only way I can breathe in the environment, be aware of the surroundings, and appreciate small details. I work everyday, because that gives purpose to the day, but my life is not about working, and that is a huge difference.

Robin Tenge

The photos were taken in VIDA PURA.

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