24 New Beginnings

I was a fresh-faced student in Johannesburg when I met Richard on a blind date early in 1987. We were inseparable after that, called ‘Mr. and Mrs. Thomas’ by our friends long before we actually tied the knot. After graduation we moved to a small mining town in the middle of nowhere. I married a mining engineer, you see, and as mines are notorious for being in the far-flung outreaches of the planet, we spent a lot of time in tiny villages or small towns. 

Our adventure was built around us moving every seven or eight months – yes, we moved house every seven months sometimes, as Richard worked his way up the training ranks. I become an expert on moving efficiently (I could do a mini course on packing and moving) and I also became an expert in starting over. 

Each time we moved, I reinvented myself – somehow, with each new town, I found myself unable to continue the work I had been doing previously. If I had been teaching art, in the next town we were too far out of town for it to be feasible. If I had been a public relations officer, in the next town there were no vacancies for this kind of work. I would look around, see what was possible for me, and then begin again. 

But it was tiring. After five moves, it felt less like an adventure and more like, why bother at all? 

I remember how I felt as I sat down on a packing box with a cup of tea and looked around. Despondent. Maybe I would unpack and then have to pack up again in a month or two, and maybe we would stay for a year or more. Maybe it would work and maybe it wouldn’t. 

I just decided to leave the boxes packed and only took out the essentials. I also didn’t try to get work or do anything with my days. It felt pointless.

After a few months of living in this half-unpacked state of limbo, sitting down again on a packing box with a cup of tea and thinking, I realised that living like that was uncomfortable and nonsensical. We never knew if we would stay in a house for only a few months, but it could also be a year or more. 

And I realised that that was life, anyway – we never knew what was going to happen. The most stable of lives can be upended in a heartbeat. 

So why was I waiting to live?

That day everything changed. 

I started taking my ‘temporary career’ seriously, as if I would do it forever – because I might. I also started unpacking boxes like we would stay forever, because we might. 

I stopped waiting for ‘in case’ or ‘maybe’ and started diving in fully.

I also realised that if we had managed to live without what was in the boxes for a few months, we probably didn’t need them. We used the Maths notes from university as fire starters 😂 – I ask you, Maths notes, as if we would ever use those again! We donated a lot of other stuff to charities. 

We have moved 24 times in 30 years of marriage, with seven of those years here at the Quinta. That’s a lot of moves! Change became the normal exciting state, bringing growth and wild rides as well as big challenges. 

But the big lesson was in tuning in to how I was feeling. I changed my thinking to change my feeling, that day I sat drinking tea perched on Maths notes. Your feelings are your guiding north star – they directly tell you where you are going in your life, and how to move forward. 

Change your thinking to change your feeling.

How Did 2023 Feel?

As I reflect on how 2023 felt for Quinta Carvalhas – it felt satisfying. We have moved forward with the business, and I am confident about what we are doing and how we are growing. 

When I reflect on my personal year, I felt challenged as I grappled with menopause (I renamed it mental-pause 😂). I also met many women who are going through the same thing, feeling challenged and often desperate.

The last half of the year brought a breakthrough however, and I started to feel victorious as I found a game-changing way of eating and a new approach to it all, busting the lethargy, bloating and brain fog to get back to my familiar body and mind.

2024 Will Feel Like…

I am looking forward to 2024 with excitement because of the new projects I have in the pipeline, including a book and online courses you have been asking for (more on these soon!). 

In my personal life I am feeling optimistic as I continue my health discoveries and I am also excited about the people I am connecting with who have new thinking about whole body health. I will be collaborating with some of these professionals to bring you even more retreats and courses (happy dance – there is real help for you during peri-menopause and menopause!)

Change brings growth, and even small changes to your habits or thinking can leap-frog you forward to feeling what you really want.

How did 2023 feel for you? How would you like 2024 to feel? Let me know how your year was and what is planned for your next phase.


Quinta Carvalhas - The Green Farm, is a Luxury Farm Stay & Retreat Venue in Portugal. A holistic well-being haven that offers unique experiences for Body, Mind and Soul. Yoga, Reiki, Horse Therapy, Massage, Vegetarian Food.

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