In 2012 suddenly my life changed. Today I can say that I’m a serial entrepreneur, I have my businesses in tourism & travel and heathy & sustainable food products. I’m the founder of Nordic Walking Madeira by Madeira with Linda and Madeira Banana Hearts. And how did that happen?
My name is Linda Bettencourt, I was born in Budapest, in 1975 and that is where I grew up. I studied law and was working in Budapest as a lawyer for approx. 20 years, first in Big 4 consulting companies then as the general legal counsel of a multinational agribusiness and FMCG company. In my free time, I was travelling and doing many kinds of sports, like nordic walking, yoga, skiing and diving.
In 2012 serendipity changed my life completely and that is how I moved to Madeira. I met a handsome Madeiran man on my holiday in Madeira and we fell in love so much, that after 2 years of long-distance relationship we got married and I moved to Madeira. I did my EMBA at Esade Business School (Barcelona), I quit law and started to make my dreams come true. For me, conscious living is key, I’m open to new ideas and looking for smart solutions, so I always set up my businesses around these values.
First I opened a language school for babies and children, teaching English as a second language but as if it was the mother tongue to foster bilingualism. At the same time, I started to set up my own tourism company, Madeira with Linda, where I’m sharing my passion for nordic walking and Madeira with conscious travellers who want to discover Madeira off the beaten path, away from the crowds and mass tourism. The two businesses grew so much that I sold my language school in 2019 and diversified my travel business.
Then came 2020 and brought new challenges. We all realised that depending on tourism in Madeira is not sustainable, the economy and also our businesses need to be more diversified. Our health has also stepped to priority number one and we realised that leading a healthy lifestyle is not just a saying, it has to be practiced also for the short term win. I also learnt that in Asia and Brasil people eat the banana flower, which is abundant here in Madeira. However, in Madeira, banana blossoms were wasted over the decades. With every day I got a clearer vision that building a sustainable life is a high priority and we all have to make difficult but conscious choices in terms of what we buy, what we eat in order to leave a future and a healthy world to our children.
I love Madeira. I feel very lucky to live in this amazing paradise, even though it is not easy sometimes, but that is exactly the situation with any true love. You stick to it not because of the things you like, but in spite of the difficulties. Madeira has a very good vibe, a relaxed atmosphere that you can feel everywhere, probably due to the very strong connection to nature. My dream is to be able to lead a balanced life with pursuing my passion, my work and spend quality time with my family. To bring awareness to the benefits of nordic walking and attract more people to stay active with this sport also after they go home. To bring awareness to the necessity of leading a conscious life, eat healthier and more sustainably. To create yummy, local and sustainable food alternatives for a flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan diet.
Madeira is the greatest teacher of all. Madeira is teaching you to relax. Even if you are super stressed. To go with the flow. Even if you have everything planned. To enjoy the slow life. Don’t rush and take your time to look at the tiny beauties that surround you. You don’t have to plan everything in advance and if we look at it really, we cannot plan most of the great things that happen to us. However, you should be persistent with your dreams and not give up. If you cannot change your mindset, Madeira will “break” it. We have to learn to accept the imperfections and to ourselves nevertheless. We have to be able to recognise the beauty in the unplanned, unexpected, in the “bad things”. It might sound like a commonplace, but there is no rainbow without rain. Madeira is the perfect teacher for that and I’m so grateful that I can assist in passing on this learning to many people who come and visit us or read my story.