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Hank and Konni from California reporting in

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Posts: 162
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(@hank_2021)
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Joined: 8 months ago

Hi guys,

Just wanted to say hi!  The wife and I have finished up our first week of our month-long Portugal scouting trip and are having a wonderful time.

We landed in Lisbon and spent 4 days there and we're finishing up 4 days in Tavira.  We're heading up to Leira tomorrow to meet up with Doc Thompson and introduce ourselves in person.

We didn't rent a car and we've been doing "ordinary people" things.  Taking public transit everywhere....train, metro, bus, trolley, walking.  It's been super easy to get around, barely an inconvenience.

You read about how nice the Portuguese people are, and it's no lie.  Everyone has been so nice and I'm not just talking about the people waiting on us.  We have spent time in grocery stores, visiting malls, and just trying to do every day people stuff and the people we've bumped into have just been so nice and courteous. 

It's amazing, really.  The best word I've found so far to describe is that the people are just damned civilized.  Just really...civilized.  The atmosphere is so relaxed and people are just so...I don't know, content?  Easy going?  Mature?

It's sooooooooooooooo different than in America.  It's amazing, totally opposite.

We met a shop keeper who was third generation owner of his shop where we bought somethings from.  We couldn't speak Portuguese, he could spoke a smidgen of English.  It.  Just.  Didn't.  Matter. 

We found a way to communicate and it was such a joyful, enriching experience.

It's amazing how peaceful Tavira is.  It's amazing how peaceful Lisbon was.  I think I could count on one hand the number of times I heard an ambulance and/or car horn. 

Just an amazing experience so far.

One of the main missions we had coming on this scouting trip was to find some reason, some event that screamed at us that we were crazy to be considering a move to Portugal. 

We simply can't find one.  Yes, it's only been a week, but there's nothing here saying we're nuts to come here.  Maybe that'll change, but I doubt it.

Everything we need is here, the public transportation is easy to use, cheap, and extensive.

Tons of people speak English and they really appreciate when we try to speak some form of broken Portuguese with them.  They laughed, we laughed.  We were laughing together.  It's just a joy.

I've been working remotely using the internet here, and ZERO problems. 

Prices are what I expected, EXCEPT for the electronics.  Research told me everything is sooo expensive here.  Honestly, I'm not seeing it.  Barely at all.  Maybe _slightly_ more on some things, but TVs, appliances, even the cell phones are pretty close.

I mean, there are a few things that are, but there's a lot of things that are a lot cheaper, and we were buying stuff in the super markets and malls.  I understand it's cheaper in the community markets.

Honestly, I'm trying to find a reason not to come, and we can't find one.  So far, the country is living up to the hype and all the years of research I've done.

We're going to be meeting up with some expat comrades on Wednesday and can't wait to meet in person.

The wife agrees there haven't been zero show-stoppers so far.

If I get time, I'll post follow-ups in this thread.  So if anyone is curious, here are our experiences so far!

Boa noite!

 

 

230 Replies




Posts: 162
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@hank_2021)
Estimable Member
Joined: 8 months ago

We had a great time being guests on the webinar tonight.  Thanks to everyone who participated and thanks to Carl and Gerry for hosting us!

Was a pleasure having lunch with Gerry and Lucy while in Tomar.  Great people, great conversation, great food, and great town.

Thanks guys!  Look forward to seeing you again in the future!

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Posts: 193
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(@jgibson)
Estimable Member
Joined: 8 months ago

Fun watch really enjoyed! Thanks for sharing your trip with us 

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Posts: 162
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@hank_2021)
Estimable Member
Joined: 8 months ago

Hi guys, quick update...

Konni and I are packed up and getting ready to fly out.  We were supposed to leave today, but the airlines screwed up our flights and had to reschedule us for tomorrow (at 6 am!).  So, we'll be heading out tomorrow instead.

We now are in possession of our very own NIF numbers and Portuguese bank account and a quote for health insurance (Thanks Gilda!).  We have a tentative date to return permanently of June 2022, but we are hoping to speed that up and be here sooner than that.  There are still a lot of details to work out back in the U.S.

Overall, the trip was an incredible experience and investment. 

We came looking for proof that moving here would be an insane idea, and I'm happy to report, we failed spectacularly!

Everything we discovered and experienced on this month-long scouting trip has confirmed the years of research that we have put in.   We eagerly look forward to returning ASAP.

I know there were a couple more people we wanted to meet while we were here, but sadly, we ran out of time.  Please stay in touch through the forums and email!

I also want to thank everyone in the community whom we met and spent time with while here.  The support and love we received were amazing and thank you so much for all the kind words and help from the community. 

A special thanks to Comrade Andy, Leona, Gerry, Lucy, Gilda, and Carl who were so kind and gracious to us on our trip.  Thanks to people on the forums and on the shows we had the privilege of being guests on.  You guys really validated our belief this is the best forum on the internet and we look forward to participating actively (and soon in person) for years to come.

P.S., Konni will be creating her own account shortly after we return.

Take care guys, and I'll see you on GMP.

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15 Replies
Premium Member
(@jerzy54)
Joined: 7 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 31

@hank_2021 Hank and Konni,

We are very happy that you guys found THE Place to move in the next chapter of your lives. I think the choice is right and you will be happy and safe over there. On the top of that the community is awesome, Portugees people and the expats as well. Have a safe flight.

I think we will be in the air going there at the same time as you.

Good luck, Jerzy

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 162

@jerzy54 Thank you for the kind words!

We're going to spend a month now that we're back and just let the experience sink in.  We're planning on having the conversation about the "final" decision early next month.

I suspect we're both going to green light the move after that conversation, but we agree it's a good idea to take things slow when making such a monumental decision.

After that, we'll need to have some serious conversations with our employers and then start downsizing and continue conversations with Gilda and Ei to get the paperwork done.

We're initially targeting a June '22 return date, but I'm highly confident it'll be sooner than that.

Keep in touch!

We plan to become highly involved and engaged in the expat community when we return and want to meet as many people as possible.

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 Zoom
(@zoom)
Joined: 8 months ago

Member
Posts: 91

@hank_2021 Thanks again for the detailed and thoughtful reporting - I feel like we sent out an advanced scouting party, and have all the data we need to take the wagon train across the prairie... 😉

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 162

@zoom If you have any questions about anything, don't hesitate to hit us up!

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 Zoom
(@zoom)
Joined: 8 months ago

Member
Posts: 91

@hank_2021 Thanks - we'll probably take you up on it! We are planning (again) to spend a couple of weeks in September, after cancelling longer trips earlier this year. I think we've sort of settled on living around Lisbon or Porto (the Douro region is a big draw, having lived near California wine country for decades) but it'll be the finer points of climate vs cost vs closeness to water in the end - or maybe just pastelarias...

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 162

@zoom Konni had the final say and she picked Porto.  We both really liked it, but the main reasons were practical.  We don't plan on having a car so easy access to public transportation, shopping, groceries, services, etc is a must. 

Moreso is the easy access to the airport, just a Metro a way.  Lisbon could have worked for this too, but it's more expensive in Lisbon and we like the weather in Porto more. 

We live in the SF Bay Area too, and Porto seems closer to what we're used to (so I get what you mean about the wine country).

As far as beach access, Aveiro and Espinho are a quick train ride away taking the Aveiro line, which was cheap (something like $5 euros).

Honestly, I don't think you can go wrong anywhere.  I think you just have to keep the practical considerations in mind.

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Premium Member
(@livinginusa)
Joined: 1 year ago

Trusted Member
Posts: 99

@hank_2021 Happy Wife, Happy Life!! 😉

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Premium Member
(@livinginusa)
Joined: 1 year ago

Trusted Member
Posts: 99

@hank_2021 My Wife and I are heading to PT in September as well.  Maybe we get get a small Zoom Call together for those who might be interested.

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Premium Member
(@jgibson)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 193

@livinginusa Do you guys have a particular part of the country that you are initially interested in?

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Premium Member
(@livinginusa)
Joined: 1 year ago

Trusted Member
Posts: 99

@jgibson We'll be visiting Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto......

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 8 months ago

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Posts: 162

All excellent choices.  The only strike against Coimbra for us was it's proximity to the airport.  It's like 2 hours via train to either Porto or Lisbon.

Really liked Coimbra.

If distance wasn't an issue, we'd probably have settled on Tomar, tbh.  You might want to take a day to visit.  It's really nice and has a small-town feel.  We liked the weather too.

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 162

We'd be interested, I'm sure.

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Premium Member
(@tinad)
Joined: 9 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 14

@hank_2021 

Thank you for sharing your experiences. We are counting down the days until we fly, 37 to go. We left Portugal the last time May 16th with plans to move permanently ASAP, it just takes awhile with lots of lists and 'oh shit' moments.

Home in San Diego SOLD: check

Retirement and Business Transition: check-almost

Moving Company hired: check

Home purchased in Algarve: Done

PT Contractor hired: yes!!

We are fortunate in that our daughter and her family paved the way for us and settled in Lagos. It was easy for us to pick a place as we wanted to be able to hike to their home, pretty small radius. We've purchased and are renovating a farmhouse, not a ruin, just outside of Luz. While we wait for the work to progress we will stay in a condo that is nearby that will be a great place for guests and family once we are settled in the Quintinha, come by for a visit!!

Ciao, ciao!!

 

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 162

That is fantastic.  So nice to have that wonderful family resource there to smooth the transition.

Keep in touch! 

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Community Member
(@sbwtwo)
Joined: 1 year ago

Active Member
Posts: 17

@hank_2021 I'd welcome a zoom meet-up for sure.  I travel 9/3 - 9/23  to visit Lisboa, Coimbra, and Porto (plus spots nearby each) so would benefit from hearing recent experiences--transit and general tips.  On paper, Porto is the top of my list (not a fan of heat and like access to a city), but will be staying in Matosinhos (I'm hoping for an ocean view and some great nature spaces for walking in the mornings and evenings).  Everything could change once I see what it is really like.  Like you two, I look at this with an eye for why it wouldn't work, then use data to narrow down the options.   I try to remember that I need to find somewhere nice only for the first year and will have time to hone my interests and check out other places during that first year.  There are just so many great places.  I have a feeling that I will become expert in the intercity trains and buses.

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Posts: 162
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@hank_2021)
Estimable Member
Joined: 8 months ago

(Also, holy balls, Burger King sells beer - that's what I call a happy meal!)

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Posts: 34
(@cogewea)
Member
Joined: 10 months ago

Hank and Konni,
Thank you so much for sharing all the details of your wonderful trip with us! Now, we're even more excited to make the move!

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3 Replies
Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 162

@cogewea We told Ei that we were looking at a return for a long-term stay for June 2022, but I doubt it'll take that long.

We're back in CA and were instantly reminded of all the reasons we want to leave the U.S.

Good luck on the move and keep in touch!

We want to meet as many expats as possible when we get back!

 

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(@cogewea)
Joined: 10 months ago

Member
Posts: 34

@hank_2021 Thank you! All the best to you both with the move. We're hoping to be in Portugal by next June/July. Hopefully, we can get together and have a coffee or a glass of wine together to celebrate!

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Premium Member
(@hank_2021)
Joined: 8 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 162

@cogewea Sending a connection request to you as we're also aiming on a June move. 

We'll make it happen!

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