Boris Johnson 'needs to step up for British expats' says expert

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Ben Fogle is meeting expats all over Europe and finding out about their new lives. On tonight’s show, he went to Portugal to meet Alex, a British expat who bought a “whole mountain” in Portugal.

While Alex didn’t seem to know exactly what he was doing on his 35 acres of mountainous land and was still learning how to manage it, Ben Fogle tries to understand why he’d move to such a remote area.

The “beautiful” Portuguese countryside is home to the Briton and his dog.

He bought the land for “100,000, not cheap but in comparison to England…” and lives off his savings.

He said: “I’ve saved a lot of money, it should last me 10 years if I’m careful.

“I worked really hard and this is the reward at the end.”

Alex barely spent any money, with most of his house furnished with things he’s found in bins and recycled materials.

His bed “is just a mattress on pallets” and “everything is free when you just find them”.

One of his biggest expenses was the “68 euros a year in tax”, with gas the only other big spending of the expat in Portugal.

The massive property comes with a lot of perks, including “being an explorer on his own property” with many areas he’d still not explored.

And the views were “epic, so magical, I love it”.

But the area of Portugal Alex lived in is prone to fires and “the situation was scary”, the Briton said.

His solitary life in Portugal was not helped by the fact he spoke “hardly any Portuguese” besides basics such as hello and thank you.

After quitting his job in 2013, Alex found the derelict farm in the Portuguese mountains and moved to the land two years ago.

While there are “loads of flies always”, the beautiful setting was “healing” to the British expat.

With a troubled past and “almost like PTSD”, he said he was trying to “heal his broken heart” in nature.

He said: “Somebody close to me took their own lives and it shocked me beyond words beyond anything you can imagine.

“I wanted to be more free to work on me more, to enjoy the world.”

The Briton had no plans to ever return to England and Ben said he was “stranded in paradise”.

He said: “Most of my time is switching off, not thinking about the problems of the past.”

To help him manage the land, he has workaways come to the farm and work for food and lodging.

One such worker came three months ago and has big plans for the property.

And ex-dominatrix who “had a big accident in the studio and was put in jail for 10 days” because somebody died, she spent time in India and now has a “spiritual practice”.

She and Alex plan on opening a retreat on the property.

Alex said: “I want to open a healing centre here and help people.”

While he left England to escape his past, Alex was now quite content.

He said: “I love my hippy dippy life.”

 

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