Sofia na Australia

  • Sofia na Australia
Blog of the month
Published 6 years ago
Hi, my name is Sofia Machado and I am from Lisbon, Portugal. I am a dreamer, a hopeless romantic and an unsettled traveller. Also a blogger, a professional beach bum and a free spirit!


after living 1 year in portugal with paul, i quit all my jobs, rented out my place and packed 20 kg of my life to move to australia with him... this will be my perceptions and experiences of life in australia.

Hi, my name is Sofia Machado and I am from Lisbon, Portugal. I am a dreamer, a hopeless romantic and an unsettled traveller. Also a blogger, a professional beach bum and a free spirit!

When and how did you decide to move to Australia? Is it complicated to settle down there?

In 2009 I quitted my job, packed 20 kg of my life and moved to Australia. Everyone’s interested in a love story, right?

While travelling around the Baltic nations in 2008 I met a pretty nice fellow - Paul. And since then we just got stuck together!!! Since the first day we met we have been travelling as much as we can. Paul moved to Portugal where we lived a full year and gave him a chance to experience my home, culture and learning my language! After that we decided to move to Australia (I need to say though that every day I was in his ears telling him that we should move)... I remember lying in bed and every airplane that would pass by I would tell him that it was our plane to Australia!

When we moved to Australia it was a new beginning. We firstly had to organize to buy a car and then travelled around to find a good spot to live. The first couple of months were hard without a home and a job. I remember struggling with the language and slang of the Aussies! I had no idea what some of them were saying especially in smaller towns… But we had a positive outlook and together we had plenty of opportunities to find the funny side: things started to happen, first a place, then you start to buy the essentials to live. Then you find a job and we have never looked back.

Have you ever lived abroad before? How many countries have you visited?

I have been always on the move... Some people call me a nomad!

Travelling slow and spending weeks or months in each country, I have managed to backpack in 37 countries absorbing the culture, experiences and adventures within each nation.

I lived in France for a short time with an exchange program at Uni.

What do you like the most about Australia?

The lifestyle is amazing! I can’t think of any other place in the world where you can live on the beach, have a great standard of living and are surrounded by friendly people and nature… I have seen many places and met so many interesting and funny people here. Being Portuguese, I also have to say that food and wine are important (of course!). The Aussies do a great job with these and even make Port wine - what more could I ask for?

How is/was the cultural shock? What are the main differences with Portugal, your home country?

There are definitely differences! But both countries are known for having friendly people and I have always found that Aussies would go out of their way to help you. I remember one thing I found weird: Aussies love to chat to anyone - on the street, in the local shop… I thought at first they must want something from me - why would they ask me what I was doing today? Paul couldn’t believe me that I found this weird! I am used to it now. When I go somewhere it is normal that someone asks you how your day has been, what you have done and what you will do. You find out what the weather will be and can get good tips about things to see and do but this was strange at first- who in Europe would stop and do this?!

Do you miss anything from your homeland?

Family and friends. It is a long way to get home and this is hard. I have to say Skype has been a saviour many times for me when I am homesick! At the beginning, I missed a lot of things but as the time goes by, I have found ways to replace them, even if they are not the same.

I am lucky I can travel back to Portugal each year. I can’t imagine not doing this. When I am back there I enjoy spending time in the old areas of Lisbon. I appreciate this and the traditional foods more than before.

Any 'memories of an expat' you would like to share with us? Your best souvenir? Or maybe your worst experience?

The worst experiences become the most memorable don’t they?! We recently went four wheel driving and got bogged in a remote place in Australia- this is the most memorable thing for us when we think of our trip!

At the end of 2010, Paul and I made a trip back to Portugal for Christmas. We got stuck in London with the heavy and unexpected snowfall. We don’t need winter clothes in Australia where we live and had these in Portugal. We were stuck in the airport and then trying to figure out a way we could get out of London and make it for Christmas. That was such a crazy time. So many people stuck all wanting to get somewhere for Christmas. We were cold and trying to find anywhere to sleep while organizing trains, buses, planes to get to Portugal… In the end, we made it and really enjoyed our time seeing London in a white coat!

What does a typical day as an expat in Australia looks like?

I love surfing again so the morning begins with surf. If there aren’t waves, I am spoiled as our place backs onto water so we can dive into the water and swim. I then head to work which is not far away so if I am not running late, I can cycle! After work, we tend to repeat the morning activity, or head out to visit friends. A night with friends usually ends much earlier than in Portugal as you get up much earlier. I am also prone to spending time on the computer researching our next trip…

When did you start your blog? For what reasons?

I started blogging in 2009 to share with family and friends what my life was like now. I was a complete novice and Paul is always laughing about how I am a bit of a nerd now! I enjoy being able to capture and share my travels. It has also enabled me to be in contact with other people who share the same interests and enable us to share and travel further - thank you!

Did you make new friends with your blog?

I speak with many people that view my blog from all around the world and have made friends with a number of these. It is really rewarding to have people interested in my blog and follow your travels. They also become motivated to travel or share with me travels that motivate me further to continue doing the things I love doing in life.

Why did you register on and what do you think of the website?

I have been interested in expat life after becoming one! It is a unique thing to be part of a country but still have another close to your heart. Expats usually have great experiences that are great to hear and share together. I always love meeting these people and there is never the same situation - some are successful business people, adventurers, some find love - all with unique stories…

Which advice would you give to the other Expat blog members who would like to settle in Australia?

There are many opportunities in such a big country. The people can help you so much so embrace this side of the culture and go for it! I have found that it is a fair place to live. You need to work hard at first and put in the extra effort but this will be noticed and rewarded.

Sofia na Australia