A diplomat and journalist walk into the Portuguese countryside and ask for a glass of wine…

British ex-BBC foreign correspondent Alastair Leithead and his Swedish/Portuguese wife Ana Leithead Spross have given up international globetrotting careers in journalism and diplomacy to create a home off the grid deep in rural Portugal after years of living all over the world. Every day throws up a new problem, expense, challenge, or little moment of delight that makes it seem all worthwhile.

Weekly blogs

Follow their progress as they settle into Vale das Estrelas (Valley of the Stars) and try to create a new life (and pay the bills) in the Portuguese countryside.

Follow their journey and be inspired

Amid the lockdowns and restrictions of the pandemic, the idea of heading off-grid into the wild coast of Portugal seems a wonderful and romantic idea…but could you take the leap? Follow Ana & Al and see if they can make it work.

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Despatches from a former BBC foreign correspondent who's battling to live off the grid in the Alentejo countryside


Alastair Leithead

Portugal trainee. Learning how to live off the grid in rural Alentejo after nearly 20 years as a BBC foreign correspondent. Collecting stories along the way.