Real-life stories of moving to Portugal
Read our real-life stories and experiences from foreigners now living in Portugal as an expat. If you have your own story to share, feel free to contact us to get involved.
Where are you originally from?
What year did you move to Portugal?
Where do you currently live in Portugal?
Curia, Aveiro District
Tell us about your journey to living in Portugal as an expat…
From a long line of nomads, yet in mid-life looking for somewhere to call home, redundancy in 2017 gave me the perfect circumstances to realise my long-held desire to live in, and discover, Portugal.
Thankfully, both my wife Louisa and I had online livelihoods when embarking on our adventure with our two children in a little campervan, headed for a home-sit near Tomar.
I have been working as a community builder and ‘Town Crier’ for OurNet, a new community-focused social network, until recently as an employee. This has been an amazing experience as it’s a start-up that has had support from a Portuguese University business incubator – the PCI in Aveiro.
More recently, my ‘Good Morning Portugal!’ project – that started as a podcast documentary of our Portuguese adventure – has developed into a crowd-funded daily livestream and thriving online community. I’m delighted to say that both Louisa and I have two livelihoods that are growing online despite the challenging circumstances in the world right now. More about us here: www.goodmorningportugal.com and www.feelgoodastrology.com
Why did you choose Portugal? Did you consider other countries?
When I first thought about leaving the UK, my first ideas were typically Spain or France. However, a chance conversation led to a visit to Portugal in 2007, which ‘sealed the deal’. I still think this country offers the best all-round value and appeal as a destination for Brits.
What were the major challenges you faced in relocating to Portugal and how did you overcome these?
The biggest challenge in my view is finding the ‘right’ place to settle, when absolutely spoilt for choice. We have explored and moved around quite a lot in our short time here, and still haven’t found somewhere where we’d really like to put down roots. This is a small problem however as the journey is so exciting and educational too.
The normal niggles of relocation like bureaucracy and dealing with the unknown are what we’d have faced anywhere. And the idea of still being in the UK is incentive enough to keep facing any challenges that come. I must say I love the UK incidentally, as a country, but the increasing cost and decreasing quality of living there in recent years is something we’re glad to have left behind us.
What are the pros and cons of living in Portugal as an expat, from your perspective?
There are so many pros to living in Portugal. Wonderful places, people and property sum it up. Nowhere is perfect, as we all know, but this country has so many delightful aspects and qualities that easily outweigh any of the negatives that I believe we’d find anywhere where we chose to live.
Our aim is to live a simple life in tune, as much as possible, with nature. Portugal has that simplicity and beauty in its DNA and traditions, which we are so glad to tap into and honour with our own new life here.
What do you like to do in your leisure time while living in Portugal?
With 3 young children (we’ve had another here), all under 10, leisure time is sparse. Luckily, we have started to create a life that doesn’t bring with it the challenges of traditional work/life balance. We are together a lot of the time in quite a relaxed way – notwithstanding normal family dynamics – so the concept of leisure time doesn’t really figure!
How are your Portuguese skills?
Not as good as I’d like them to be! However, I think I am making some progress and enjoying picking up a new bit of vocabulary or grammatical understanding most days.
Describe how easy or difficult it has been to make friends in Portugal.
I’ve found this fairly easy. Having children helps. And hosting my own network online, has certainly helped.
What do you miss the most from your home country?
I think I’m still in my expat honeymoon phase, so apart from family in UK, I don’t really have any pangs or ‘Saudade’ about the old place.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give someone who is thinking about moving to Portugal?
- Just do it
- Remember: wherever you go, there you are
- And on where to live in Portugal: “Do you want to spend your time cooling down or keeping warm?”
Got questions for Carl? You can find him in the forum, username: @goodmorningportugal
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