Portugal: Your Key to a European Lifestyle
Human desire to travel, explore, and connect cannot be defeated with rules and regulations. Then why do you continue live in a country if your desires are no longer satisfied? Because fear of the unknown is in the driver’s seat while your inner explorer has been strapped to a booster seat in the back. Just because you were born somewhere does not mean you have to live there forever. Right now, it appears the only way out is through a dream. You have permission to wake up because a perfect country where people smile and acknowledge you on the street is ringing the alarm. Exploring diverse landscapes of wide plains, rough, lofty countrysides, valleys, and steep cliffs leading to bronze, sandy beaches of the ocean can be your reality. And how about a country where snow does not exist and going outside never hurts? Welcome to Portugal.
Portugal’s privileged location is in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Have you ever noticed how Portugal is at the center of the world map? They like it that way. The Portuguese were major players in world mapping and exploration.
Portugal is prime for excellent weather. Generally mild and sunny, there are two seasons, summer and fall. Delight in six months of summer-like weather with minimal rain. What they call winter is what we call fall. Temperatures drop to the 40s at night. Daytime temperatures are in the low 50s or 60s and rain is sporadic. Wouldn’t you be happy to never see a snowflake again? Lots of people love the fall-type temps during winter. Summers are not hotter than in the northern USA. Summer does not last all year like in Florida. A big draw for people looking to retire is stable weather where you do not need four different wardrobes.
Face it. The older we get, the harder winter is to stomach. When I see an old lady walking down an icy sidewalk with a cane, I shudder. What if she falls? She’ll break something for sure. One day, I will be an old lady. However, I will have to worry about tripping over cobblestones while headed to the market instead of wiping out on a wicked patch of ice.
Portuguese people are hospitable and traditional. Do not expect to feel excluded at all. When you go out to eat, expect to socialize with bartenders and restaurant employees. Portuguese are always interested in sparking conversation.
Ask yourself what people are like in your community. When you walk down the street, do they smile and say, “Hi, neighbor!” Or do they look through you like a pane of clear glass?
Sense of Community
Europeans value community, family, and friends. Once you begin traveling and considering a new country in which to live, your global family starts to grow. Meeting people is not a problem in Portugal. Imagine getting to know friends on the other side of the planet who you can talk to whenever you want. Finding a sense of community is easy.
Food Lover’s Heaven
What is more important about a destination than gastronomy? We need food to live, survive, and thrive. Forget the prepackaged garbage you are used to. Let life flow in and fat flow out. By changing your diet you are going to feel more alive again. Chances are you will lose weight by getting rid of all the processed junk you eat back home.
Fresh food. Locally sourced. Every year more people are going to Portugal to open restaurants. Chefs are discovering how special the country is for its food. Portugal boasts 28 Michelin restaurants. Nine are in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Fine dining will not be an issue.
For those who want a chill dining experience, you can head to a hole-in-the-wall and enjoy a meal for 20 euros, including a bottle of wine.
Seafood lovers, break out of your shell. Seafood is abundantly fresh in Portugal. What else can you expect with a coastal country? Fresh fish and shellfish are on every menu.
An appealing lifestyle trend in Europe is the speed of eating, or lack thereof. Meals take 2-3 hours, and Portugal is no different. Sit back, enjoy the food, and appreciate your company. You will never want to go back to the dine-while-inhaling method of North America.
Wine is part of the culture in Portugal and dates back to the Romans. Portugal’s rich history interweaves with wine and the most famous is port; a sweet, red, fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley. According to EU law, port must come from Portugal in order to be sold under the name.
Slower Pace of Life
If you are coming from a city like Boston, New York City, or Chicago, then you will notice a slower pace of life in Portugal. Sense of urgency does not exist. Pushing 110% every minute, every hour, and every day of your life is exhausting. Stop. Book a flight to Portugal. You might have to wait longer to get a home repair done. So what. Slow down. Live more. Learn to acknowledge the day—it’s the only one you have until tomorrow.
Europe at Your Doorstep
A prime benefit to Portugal is the ease of travel to other European countries. Spain is right next door to Portugal. A quick trip to France or Italy is not unheard of. There are many diverse countries to visit on a budget. You don’t have to plan for months in advance to travel nor do you have to suffer a day of flying, plus jet lag. Picture yourself on a perpetual vacation where you live. In hours you can be in another country with unique characteristics, and at a steal of a price.
Portugal is like living in a painting. With every brush stroke, colors become more vivid as you sip a glass of sweet and spicy port while gazing at the Algarve sunset from your rooftop terrace. The port warms your stomach as the sun melts into the ocean—the perfect, satisfying finish to your day. All your fears of living in Europe have been replaced with confidence. Europe is now your welcome mat. Your new life in Portugal will reconnect your soul with the experience of being alive.
Photo credit: Travel Bugged
Charlotte Tweed is an adventurous soul with a goal to take you on a journey where you don’t just visit—you live it. Graduating with a Travel and Tourism Honours diploma, Charlotte is channeling all her passion and skills into writing for Escape Artist. She began her expat journey on June 15, 2021, and will be chronicling her expat roadmap weekly in the Escape Artist newsletter. Reading, writing, and planning her and her husband’s next expat destination in the world are how she fills her days. As a recently published author, her mission is to transform your life with expat travel—one destination, one adventure, one story at a time.
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