Sofia Machado, Kingscliff (NSW)

I am a teacher and blogger. Also, a talented dreamer, have terrible curiosity and am definitely a passionate traveller not sure what exactly is the meaning of “settle down”.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I have always loved travelling and have lived abroad twice so far in my life. I have been living in Australia the longest- since 2009- and hope to stay here longer. I ended up here because I met an Australian, Paul, travelling in Montenegro. We lived together in Portugal but the idea of moving to Australia was just too exciting for me and it didn’t take too much to convince Paul to head back after living overseas for a few years…What challenges did you face during the move?

The fact that I only had 20kg of my life with me… Not that I need much but after a while you do miss your shoes! Australia is so beautiful. There are so many places that have not been spoiled by development but unfortunately it is also so far away from everything! It makes it hard when friends and family have big life events and I can’t be there to share them all. The other aspect is visas. It continues to be a stress!

How did you find somewhere to live?

My main wish was to be close to the beach. If I was going to move to Australia I had to be near one of the famous beaches! I love beginning and ending a day in the water. Paul and I spent many weeks travelling around trying to find the right mix of being close to job prospects but away from a big city life. We found a perfect fit close to an international airport but small enough to not have crowds. I think the process is easy in Australia but never fun when you do it the first time!

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Are there many other experts in your area?

Yes, I meet people from all around the world. It’s great to share stories and learn from other cultures- it also helps inspire me for future travels! The other great thing about this is being able to laugh together at the things that are completely lost in translation.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

I often think that I am Aussie, even though my accent is evidently still a bit of giveaway. I have been told by some Aussies that have spent time in Portugal that we are pretty similar- relaxed, happy, enjoy a party… So me and the locals get along great!

What do you like about life where you are?

Moving to Australia allowed me to create a life that I always dreamt of. Live on the beach with Paul, keep travelling and enjoy recording my lifestyle on the blog.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

I love my expat life! Starting your life from scratch is a great opportunity to follow your dreams. Every simple life achievement becomes a great victory and it feels so good to create a brand new life! If only I could have all my friends and family here with me to share it all…

What do you think of the food in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

Portugal is known for its traditional food and wine – and I do miss it a lot! But at the same time it is something that I avoid to cook at home now. Eating Portuguese food out of Portugal doesn’t taste the same.

Australian food is a mix of other countries with a fresh twist. We are pretty lucky to have so much fresh produce that it is hard to go wrong… There is probably nothing more Aussie than a barbie by the beach which is pretty hard not to like! My Dad is one of the few people I have ever met, who did not grow up with Vegemite, who thinks it is not only edible but it tastes good as well- very weird.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

There’s no formal training on how to move to the other side of the world. You do it and you get better from the mistakes you make along the way… I believe they are half of the fun! Ask plenty of questions to people and never take too much and it will always work out fine.

Sofia shares more information about life in Australia through her blog Sofia na Australia.


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