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177 Nations of Tasmania - Episode 56 - Traditional village life in Portugal

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

As any of you who follow my podcast will know, I frequently ask my subjects about their childhood and upbringing. This is the time of life that really sets the basis for who we will become as adults and it's interesting to learn about the different environments people have been brought up in and how the culture and the kind of place has helped shape who they are.

At the same time there are experiences that we almost all have regardless of where we grew up - interactions with family, going to school, learning to socialise with others...all the universal rites of passage you could say. But I have find it very interesting to hear about all the different experiences people have had growing up in different parts of the world and being able to see how that has shaped them and in particular helped understand their perspectives on Tasmania.

I found Sergio's descriptions of life growing up in a small mountain village in central Portugal particularly interesting, and described at times in a quite evocative and poetic way. I suppose coming as Portugal is a Western European nation, I perhaps did expect it, but Sergio's descriptions evoked a sort of old world style of life which is slowly dying out. It's a style of life that was amazingly similar to my subsequent interviews with a young woman from Kenya also. It's stories like these that make me feel that recording these interviews does have some importance as it's recording oral history. Snapshots of ways of life which may soon disappear and need to be recorded before there are no more witnesses.

I also felt in listening to Sergio's descriptions of the village where he grew up that I could almost see it in my mind's eye, and to satisfy my curiosity, I looked it up on YouTube to see if I could find any examples and compare fantasy with reality.

As well as the parallels with other cultures in quite different parts of the world, it was also a nice reflection on a slower, probably healthier way of living. A small village with a sense of community where everyone knew each other and people produced all their own food. As I mentioned to Sergio, it's an alternative lifestyle that people are often seeking when they move to some of the more rural parts of Tasmania, especially south of Hobart and elsewhere, as they look to become "treechangers".

It also made sense that Sergio would feel at home in a smaller city like Burnie, and spend most weekends exploring the many beautiful and quiet spots of interest around Tasmania.


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