Retire early and dedicate more time to your passion? Is the fear of not having enough retirement savings holding you back? That was the case for Alyson and Dave Sheldrake of Devon, England. The couple crunched the numbers and determined doing it in England would be difficult, but they pulled it off in the Algarve region of Portugal, a place they loved. They retired and moved to the Algarve in 2011. Alyson is flourishing as a painter and writer and Dave is a prosperous photographer. Find out how these two artists are thriving in Aljezur, Portugal, on Episode 97 of Retire There with Gil & Gene.
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Alyson Sheldrake books include:
Author and Artist
Alyson Sheldrake was born in Birmingham UK, and managed to unintentionally lose her Birmingham accent when she attended the local Grammar school. She completed an honours degree in sport, and included a PGCE year on top to add a secondary teaching degree to her qualifications. She then decided to join the police, serving for 13 years before leaving to further her career in the field of education, eventually working as a Director of Education for the Church of England in Devon.
Dave Sheldrake was born in Devon and had a career in law enforcement. He served the Devon and Cornwall Police for over 31 years, and retired as a police sergeant.
The couple have been together for over 25 years and still enjoy each other’s company! In the late 90s, they first discovered the unspoilt and quaint fishing village of Ferragudo, in the Algarve, Portugal, eventually buying a house there in 2006. In 2011, they realized their dream, moving permanently from the UK to live in the Algarve. By 2018, Ferragudo had become more touristy and busier, particularly in the summer months. Consequently, the couple moved to the quieter town of Aljezur, on the west coast of the Algarve.
Both Alyson and Dave had creative hobbies that they longed to give more time to, and the move to Portugal provided them the perfect opportunity to start their own small businesses - Dave working as a professional photographer, and Alyson delving into painting. She is now a successful and sought-after artist, and since 2020, is also a self-published author, having written and produced seven books to date. Her first books were travel memoirs about their move to live in the Algarve, followed by a series of travel anthologies. Her latest book, Kat the Dog: The remarkable tale of a rescued Spanish water dog, is currently riding high on Amazon’s charts. It’s about the story of their rescued and much-loved dog called Kat.