a new start

I haven’t written a post for a year and today is the day to reach out again.

You see, I fell in love and my life has changed what seems to be 180 degrees.

During each of my three visits to Portugal since March 2012, I fell in love more and more with so many facets of this beautiful country that it will be hard to explain.

If you are a traveller, or love light and stunning landscapes, or have the heart of a dreamer, you will understand me.

I’ve travelled in many countries in the world and none have captured me in the way of the land of my new home. I am not short on incredible life experiences. Among many things, I have seen magnificent stars in the inky sky up north in the wilds of Thailand, vistas that go on for miles in the Masai Mara of Kenya, the varied turquoises of water in the Caribbean, and the golden glow of sun against proud cypress trees in Tuscany. Yet I fell in love with Portugal.

I spent a month is the Sintra area in the fall of 2014 and, even though it rained many days, the skies were azure blue when the sun appeared and the lanes were redolent with the fragrance of autumn flowers.

My amazing Portuguese friends, Jose Antunes and Fernando Picarra, took me to explore places that most visitors don’t see. They are not on tourist maps or “must see” places. The pristine beaches washed of summer suntan lotion, the craggy cliffs overlooking tiny villages, and quiet forest paths that lead to flashy blue dragon flies flitting over ponds filled with croaking frogs and jumping fish spoke to me and gave me dreams of wanting even more. Two of the best days of my life were had in Portugal. How could I not want more?

I returned to Vancouver mid-October sad and, in some ways, grieving the closure of those happy days. I had layers of rich memories and countless lovely photographs to remind me. There was a stirring and I tried to deny it.

My closest friends noticed a change in me. I was glowing and smiling more. I’m typically a pretty happy person but I guess I had some kind of tangible essence that reached beyond my beating heart.

When Jose sent me this photograph he took of me during my visit in March 2014, I knew I loved Portugal because I was so happy there. I couldn’t explain it. I just felt it.

Marion in Ericeira Portugal 2014

Marion McCristall in Ericeira Portugal


Recently retired from a career I loved and with a new found freedom, I took a huge leap of faith. Thanks to email and FaceTime I knew I could stay connected with family and friends. So, after a lot of soul searching, I made a decision. Last March, I said very teary farewells to my loved ones in Vancouver and headed out to explore a new life in Sintra, Portugal.

I have so many stories I want to share with you. I plan to start a new blog with everything from tales of my adventures and challenges, to thoughts on photography and artistic pursuits, quotes I love, and ways I find inspiration that may give you some ideas too.  I think I’m ready to start again and will give you the link to my new blog once I have it up and running.

Wishing you countless blessings, love of family and friends, and a good sprinkling of wonder in your life.