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137 – Welp… We’re Moving to PORTUGAL! (We Hope?)

Wandering Aimfully Through Our Podcast: What is it all for?

137 – Welp… We’re Moving to PORTUGAL! (We Hope?)

What started out as a casual scouting mission to two areas in Portugal quickly turned into conversations with sentences like, “are we moving to Portugal??” and “is this really happening, are we doing this?”
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

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Jason Zook

Listen to our full episode on Welp… we’re moving to PORTUGAL! (we hope?) below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.

Five Key Takeaways for Welp… we’re moving to PORTUGAL! (we hope?)

1. Know your general and decision-specific values

If you’re trying to make a big decision in your life—whether it’s about moving to Portugal like us or something else—know what you REALLY value in that decision. We actually did an entire coaching session in our coaching program, WAIM Unlimited, about making big decisions. One of the steps in building your compass or the thing that can point you in the right direction that we shared is to know your overall general values in life, but then also know your decision-specific values. For you, this might mean knowing what your priorities are in making that decision and asking yourself, “How do you want to feel?” For us, after seeing a couple of potential places, our decision-specific value wasn’t just generally “nature” anymore, it became “ocean.” The more specific you can get, the easier it becomes to make a big decision like we did!

2. Make it easy to start

After our Portugal scouting trip, it became clear to us that we didn’t want our first home to have too much stress and friction (i.e. renovationing a home). You might also be contemplating moving or starting a new business in a different industry. In this case, having the least amount of stress or friction might mean choosing a house that is already furnished or investing in a business tool that can minimize the time it takes to do something in your business. Consider finding ways to reduce friction especially at the beginning stages of pursuing your big decision.

3. Do a test drive!

Doing a test drive enables you to picture yourself living out your big decision in your everyday life. In our case, we were able to find a nearby grocery store and other amenities in the town we found a home in. We could picture living in this new place and having a very normal day for what our lives could look like. That was SUPER helpful! Our new town didn’t need to be perfect but it was as close to the little conveniences we had back in California and the way we’ve always done things.

4. Trust YOUR path

This harkens back to the past couple of podcast episodes where we’ve talked about this idea of satisfaction. Especially when making a decision where you’re faced with a lot of options, check in with your feelings and see whether the option you have now feels really good already. Sometimes what’s in front of you is actually more than enough and you just have to trust your decision.

5. Be open-minded

When you make big decisions, it’s important to consider being open-minded and not close yourself off to other options. When you have a partner, making big life decisions together can be harder because you are two people and each person has their own desires that they want for their life that don’t always match up exactly. That is a hard process to talk through, but as long as you’re honest and leave room for open-mindedness, that’s the best that you can do.

Show Notes for Episode 137: for Welp… we’re moving to PORTUGAL! (we hope?)

Holy moly this is an exciting episode to share! So much so, we just pushed the rest of our podcast (and pramvel) schedule so we could record in real-time and talk through everything that’s been happening the past two weeks.

What started out as a casual scouting mission to two areas in Portugal (Silver Coast and the Algarve) quickly turned into conversations with sentences like, “are we moving to Portugal??” and “is this really happening, are we doing this!?”

Have a listen to this episode and maybe you’re in a similar situation in your life and are about to make a big decision? Even if you aren’t, we hope this one was at least verrrry entertaining. 😂😂😂😂

✈️ No pramvel this week, it’ll be back next week!

Full Transcript of Episode 137: Welp… we’re moving to PORTUGAL! (we hope?)

⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript

Caroline: Welcome to What is it All For?, a podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We are your hosts, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an UN-boring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, What is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.

Jason: And I’m here, too.

Caroline: In what world? You read the title of this episode. Did we throw in a curveball or what?

Jason: Well, we’re not going to bury the lead. We’re not going to go on some journey of, like, wait until we get to this.

Caroline: I would just want you to take a second to appreciate that we didn’t title this episode, like, “Big news” and then make you click into the episode to know what we’re doing.

Jason: Yeah, we basically titled it exactly how we talk about it. Well, we’re moving to Portugal.

Caroline: Oops.

Jason: I think I should put a parenthesis “We Hope?” Question mark.

Caroline: I know.

Jason: Because it’s not really our choice.

Caroline: It’s not our choice.

Jason: To move here.

Caroline: It’s the government.

Jason: Okay. So we’re not going to do a pramvel this week because there’s so much juicy gossip we got to get to.

Caroline: We’re going to get to sooo much juicy gossip. We’re going to put a pin in our travels. We last left you in the UK. We’re going to pick up on our travel stories.

Jason: It’s not that much you’re going to miss out on.

Caroline: Starting next week because instead we’re going to kind of like fast forward into time into real time, which is what we’re recording today because we’re recording this episode basically a day before it goes up. So you’re getting the most real time possible update you could possibly get.

Jason: Absolutely. The reason there was no episode last week is because of the title of this episode.

Caroline: Right. We were running around like, just a couple of kids trying to move to a different country.

Jason: We were looking at stuff. We were seeing stuff. We were driving. We were seeing, we’re driving, we’re seeing, we’re driving, we’re seeing. And yeah, it was just one of those things where Thursday came about last week. And we will talk to you about all the things we were doing. But it was just like, let’s not, we’re going to burn ourselves out. And that’s one of the things we talk about all the time. It’s like when things have to give, you got to let something go. And this podcast seems to always be the thing. But we’re here for you now sharing all the juicy bits.

Caroline: Okay. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited. You might be like, Wait, what?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Because you’re traveling fulltime this year, and that was a big adventure. And now you’re doing this other big adventure and like, what’s happening? And it might kind of feel like a curve wall. Curve wall?

Jason: Oh. Okay.

Caroline:: But in this episode, we are going to clue you in on how this wasn’t just a spur of the moment, spontaneous thing. It was the culmination of many conversations, many seeds planted and then growing and then growing. And we’re going to take you on that journey and kind of let you in on how this big life decision came about, why it came about, how we feel about it.

Jason: Definitely have feelings. Oh yeah. Stick around.

Caroline: I have an actual bullet in our notes that just says in all caps…

Jason: Feelings.

Caroline: Feelings.

Jason: Yes.

Caroline: And also if you’re just interested in not just the story of how that unfolded, but where we are at in the process and what happens next, we’re going to share all of that, too. So there’s a lot of juicy stuff.

Jason: Yeah. So let’s talk about just kind of, like, setting the stage here. The two reasons why we did this full time travel trip this year.

Caroline: By the way, if this is your first episode, we were living in Southern California. We sold all of our possessions, and starting in January of this year, we flew actually, funny enough, to Portugal, and we started on this adventure of trying to travel to different countries in Europe for the entire year for 2022.

Jason: Yeah. So the reason why we did this trip was a bucket list, life goal thing, to travel Europe and to…

Caroline: See things we had never seen before.

Jason: Go to a bunch of countries.

Caroline: Experience things we had never experienced before.

Jason: And, you know, kids are on the horizon for us in the next couple of years and we’re not going to be able to do that…

Caroline: You’ll be the second to know.

Jason: Yeah. So we’re not going to be able to travel unencumbered. You’re going to have to bring them with right. Wait, you can leave them at home? Hold on. I’m learning things. You know, little kitty feeders to feed cats and points a laser? Do they have those for kids?

Caroline: Absolutely, babe.

Jason: Cool.

Caroline: Keep living that dream.

Jason: And then they can back their butt up into, like, a diaper changing part of it.

Caroline: It’s like wherever your brain is going, stop. Just stop now. Yes, of course we know that you can travel with children. However, those of you who already do have kids, you know the reality, which is that everything becomes a little bit more difficult and logistically challenged. Right. So we having many friends who already have children, have witnessed that and are kind of like, Listen, this is our chance to really be as free as we want to be this year, and before we start that next chapter, which we’re also very excited about, but we just want to live in this chapter right now. So that was the reason for this trip as well, but it was also, in Jason’s mind.

Jason: In my mind, yeah.

Caroline: It was also to kind of scout out what life could be like if we decided to live in Europe for an indefinite amount of time.

Jason: Listen, for our US friends especially, those of you who are in your 30s, 40s, late 20s, and beyond that, I think everyone can relate to the fact of just this idea of like, Well, what’s life like somewhere else? What’s it like in another country? It’s impossible to know until you do it for yourself.

Caroline: And we can all agree America is, to a large degree, this bubble. And I can confirm for me at least, being out of it for eight months now, I didn’t realize just how much of a bubble it is because it is such an economic power and everything. There’s very much this narrative of like, America leads the world and everything revolves around that. And there is this very American-centric mentality that you don’t see until you’re outside that bubble and you’re like, Whoa, whoa, whoa. There’s quite a bit big world out here.

Jason: And that’s just the naive thing, I think, that you get as a person…

Caroline: And that’s why people travel, right? It’s to expand your horizons. It’s to widen your worldview. And that was important to us. But Jason had just kind of mentioned that he was interested in what it could look like for us to not go back to California and to find a new place to live. And I will just tell you, I was like, Okay, I don’t want to shut this down because we don’t bring an umbrella to a brainstorm. I try, as partners, we try to…

Jason: “Yes and…”

Caroline: “Yes and…” It’s important to hear that when he says that that’s a dream of his and I don’t want to shut it down. And I told him I’d be open-minded to it, but if we’re both being honest, I was like, Good luck convincing me to do that.

Jason: Well, let’s talk about, we have our first on the count of three, tell me the percentage portions of this podcast.

Caroline: Jason thought it would be funny because as you’ll see as this journey unfolds, Jason thought it would be fun to share the percentage likelihood that I thought that we would move to Europe throughout the year. Like, where the likelihood percentage grew.

Jason: So each of us on the count of three, we are going to say the percentage of what we personally thought…

Caroline: Was the likelihood…

Jason: The chance was that we would move to we would move to Europe.

Caroline: That we would move to Europe. Yes. And so right now, if you’re asking me what the percentage was when we started the trip, so in January.

Jason: Yeah. On the count of three.

Caroline: Okay, wait, let me choose my percentage. Okay, sure.

Jason: Ready?

Caroline: Yeah.

Both: 1, 2, 3.

Caroline: 10%.

Jason: 80%.

Both: (laughing)

Caroline: That feels right.

Jason: So I was 80% certain because, and we’ll get to this more later on, but there’s just a lot about living in the United States that I just wasn’t happy about anymore. And there’s a lot about the politics and about the gun violence and about the perceived safety and about, just a lot of the things that if you live in the US, you know that’s going on.

Caroline: And of course, caveat. There’s nothing in that that means that we don’t love the United States. That is our home country. There’s so many positives to it as well.

Jason: Absolutely.

Caroline: But yeah, I think it’s okay to admit that there were things that were less than ideal as well.

Jason: Yeah. And so that’s why, for me, I was at such a high percentage for myself. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to convince you. I thought, maybe we’d have to go back to long distance.

Caroline: (laughing)

Jason: You know, we started long distance.

Caroline: Listen, Zoom’s doing great.

Jason: Zoom is doing great. There’s, like, filters and stuff we could put on.

Caroline: How did you think that the kids thing would go long distance?

Jason: Well, you would get the kids, and I would get the businesses, and we would then send care packages back and forth.

Caroline: Like, you’d send money and I’d send birthday cards.

Jason: Well, I don’t know. I mean, maybe you figure out the money part on your own, you know? Anyway, so 80-10 is where we are at. So you’re at 10%. I’m surprised you’re even at 10%, to be honest.

Caroline: I was, because I was truthful when I said I was going into it open-minded. I really was. I wasn’t totally shut off. I just was like, You have a large hill to climb here, my friend.

Jason: That’s a good note for me for future things. When you say the words “I’m open-minded about this.”

Both: It’s a 10% chance. (laughing)

Caroline: No. It’s open. The door is not closed.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: It’s cracked, very small cracks.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Okay. And so I was open, but I was just as you all know, this travel experience has been so wonderful, but it’s hard on me, and I’ve been very vocal and honest about that throughout this entire year. It is not natural for me to do this, but again, I’m so glad that I have weathered those challenges, because I think it’s made me a lot stronger. But I was, like, thinking to myself, so now you’re telling me this is not a temporary challenge that I have to undertake. Like, I have to change everything that I know about how to do life in a different place. And I just thought, that’s not a challenge that I want to necessarily undertake. Like, I want to be able to go back to my comfort and what I know, especially as we enter what I know is going to be a challenging time, which is having small children.

Jason: Yeah. So if we go back to January, we’re in Lisbon. We stayed in Lisbon for a month. We knew we didn’t want to live in a big city. Like, that wasn’t even a consideration. But I think it really showed us that all the good things people said about Portugal, we really loved.

Caroline: We really liked it.

Jason: The people.

Caroline: The people, the weather.

Jason: The pace of life. Just the fact that English is spoken so predominantly.

Caroline: The food.

Jason: I mean, we want to learn Portuguese. That’s definitely on our list, and it’s actually something you have to do if you want to become a full time resident.

Caroline: I’m so excited to learn Portuguese.

Jason: But I think that’s where we said, Okay, let’s move forward with this.

Caroline: Well, not let’s… No, it was like, Okay, let’s maybe come back to Portugal is what you mean. So at the end of that month, it wasn’t even really on the horizon of like, could we move here? It was more of like, Oh, we really like it here. Let’s actually plan in our travels to come back to different areas because we knew Lisbon and big city life wasn’t really for us. And so many people had told us great things about the coasts. So you have basically two coasts. More than that.

Jason: Yeah. The main areas.

Caroline: The two main areas that people talk about are the Silver Coast, which is the west coast, and this is north of Lisbon. And so you have all these beach towns along what they call the Silver Coast. Then you have the Algarve, which is probably…

Jason: Which is the Gold Coast.

Caroline: The Gold Coast.

Jason: But everyone calls it the Algarve.

Caroline: The most probably popular…

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: It’s a hugely popular vacation holiday destination. Basically all of Europe comes to the Algarve.

Jason: The southern coast of Portugal.

Caroline: The southern coast of Portugal. Right. So you’ve got the west coast, the Silver Coast, the southern coast, the Algarve, the Golden Coast. And we knew that it would probably be, like we wanted to be by the water. I mean, Lisbon is on the water, but it’s not, it’s on the river so…

Jason: The Tagus?

Caroline: The Tagus. I’m pretty sure.

Jason: No, no. It’s…

Caroline: Oh, it is.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And so we thought, oh, we’ll come back later in the year and we’ll do kind of like beach Portugal life and we’ll see, maybe we’ll stay in one of those areas and see what that’s like.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: So that’s in January of this year. It’s just sort of all that is planted is just we really like it here. It’s totally our vibe. There’s a lot of similarities between California and Portugal. Just landscape-wise and weather-wise.

Jason: Yeah. If anything, there’s a lot of similarities between California and Portugal. Like California takes after Portugal. Portugal has been around for so long.

Caroline: Sure.

Jason: This is what I keep coming back to.

Caroline: Whenever I’m like…

Jason: No, no.

Caroline: This town in England really reminds me of New England. And you’re like, It’s the reverse, but okay.

Jason: It’s okay. But yeah. So I think where things really started to get serious was in the summer.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: Not before. Not when we got here, but before we got here.

Caroline: Exactly. So after that, that seed was planted. Then all of the spring, I’m just going to be honest, that was a real roller coaster ride. Right. Because it was like there’s shingles and there was COVID and there was just…

Jason: Your girlfriend’s trip.

Caroline: And there was a lot of ups and downs and like, travel got hard. But when it started to let up was when we got to the Netherlands. And this was after Greece. Greece was a great reset. It was…

Jason: My birthday.

Caroline: That was your birthday. That was May.

Jason: Also, happy belated birthday to you.

Caroline: Thank you.

Jason: We’re recording this the day after her birthday. Thank you so much. Please, everyone, send Zynga birthday parties. I just wanted Zynga to be in there, and I couldn’t recall a game.

Caroline: Buy me some Farmville crops.

Jason: There we go. Farmville. Great job.

Caroline: I never played Farmville. I was more of a Candy Crush kind of gal.

Jason: Fantastic.

Caroline: Or whatever the Facebook equivalent was. Anyway, Greece was great, by the way. No coincidence that I felt really good after Greece. And we had stayed at two places that were by the water.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: That we’ll come back around. So then we go to the Netherlands and we’re not going to harp too much on this but when things really changed were the massive string of mass shootings, and most notably the Uvalde shooting, and I was just in tears, and I was just, like, trying to picture. We’re trying to get ready for this next phase of our lives, of having kids. And of course, shootings of any kind are atrocious and terrible and tragic. But when you talked to me about an elementary school and I’m picturing myself as a mother in the next few years, things really shifted in my brain, and I was like, Oh, maybe I need to actually consider this more than I thought. And that’s just the reality. And again, don’t want to harp on it, don’t want to get into all of it because I know a lot of you listening don’t probably want to go there.

Jason: Yeah, this is not the show that we want to record either. I was talking about those things. But it’s important to know that that was an inflection point.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: That was a point where, A, we’re staying in a neighborhood. It’s really the first neighborhood of this entire…

Caroline: In the Netherlands.

Jason: Trip, and it’s a neighborhood in Europe. And understandably, every country in Europe is different.

Caroline: Completely.

Jason: Everybody has their own culture, everybody has their own differences.

Caroline: And nowhere is perfectly safe.

Jason: Exactly. But we’re just walking around this neighborhood. We’re walking miles to go to restaurants instead of having bikes, like idiots. And I think it really started to change that, Oh, could we live in Europe? Then obviously…

Caroline: It went from being, like, abstract 10% likelihood to being like, now I have this more palpable reason to consider it, and I’m standing in a place where I can actually visualize what it would be like. And so those two things combined, like, really, if the door was cracked ever so slightly before, it was like a big gust of wind came and kind of, like, really swung it, not wide open.

Jason: Let’s see how wide it is, because we have on the count of three, we have our second percentage of what percentage did you think that we were moving to Europe?

Caroline: And so I’ll share mine. And then at that point, you were at 80 before.

Jason: I was at 80 before. You were 10 before. On the count of three.

Both: 1, 2, 3.

Caroline: 50%.

Jason: 86%.

Caroline: Ooh, okay. You don’t have a lot of room.

Jason: I don’t have a lot of room. You were to what, 50?

Caroline: 50%.

Jason: Wow.

Caroline: I went from 10% to 50%, like, really considering it day in and day out, thinking to myself, I was Googling up a storm. I was like, what’s living in Portugal like? What is living in the Netherlands like? Like, what’s it like to have…?

Jason: I think that’s when we really started to just start exploring real estate. Not with the intention that we would actually purchase, but just to see what a home in a neighborhood on Google Street view. Like, what does that look like in Portugal and in the Netherlands?

Caroline: Oh, yeah. And I was like going full…

Jason: You started looking at mortgage rates. You were getting bankers involved. I’m just kidding.

Caroline: I don’t know if this is weird because I know, I know fully well we do not have children yet, I do not know what that road is going to look like. I don’t know… All I know is that we want kids. I don’t know how hard or easy that’s going to be for us. However, I was going down the road of like, What’s it like to give birth in the Netherlands? What schools are they going to? Like, how do we…? Whatever.

Jason: By the way, we have doulas in every country in Europe now, just in case. We’re just set.

Caroline: And so I was like, really allowing myself to go down the road of what would this look like? And I have to say that was a really interesting time period for me because part of I think what a lot of the, maybe anxiety is not the right word, but like…

Jason: Apprehension?

Caroline: It was like a really weird thing for me all throughout this year to know that we were on this big kind of cliff of our lives and not know what the next chapter would look like. And it was a good practice for me to just be in the moment and not trying to paint the future yet. Because for a long time there, I didn’t know, like, are we going back? Are we going to somewhere not California, are we going to somewhere in Europe. Where are we going?

Jason: I feel like we could go to Antarctica a couple of times. You know? Just…

Caroline: But that was the first time where I almost felt a little bit of relief in that sense because I could really start to paint this picture and allow myself to see what the paths could be. And that made me excited.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: A little bit, 50% excited.

Jason: 50%.

Caroline: 50% terrified out of my ever living mind.

Jason: Yeah. And I’m excited to keep talking about how this evolved. So I think from there, the next thing, which is jumping back in time just a little bit. But we were in Scotland. It was about time to decide, okay, where are we going to go? We had this two-week time frame where we had time in our schedule to be back in the Schengen country that we could explore and do a scouting trip.

Caroline: And this was right after the Netherlands. So where we just told you that inflection point, that happened in the Netherlands. Immediately after that we were in Scotland and we had a little bit more time there. Two and a half weeks. And I remember we had this big meeting and we needed to, like you said, decide on a place for this empty block that we had for our travel schedule. And we thought, wouldn’t this be a good opportunity to go back to Portugal? But this time it wasn’t like, oh, we want to go back to Portugal because we like it. Now combined with the conversations we had been having from the Netherlands, we were sort of like, maybe we go back to Portugal and we do it with the express intent of scouting areas to see if we could live there?

Jason: Yeah. And I think the more that we, you know, we had been watching videos from people who live in different areas of Portugal, but just been looking at… We looked at Porto for a while, which is the northern area, and that seemed really interesting, but the weather just didn’t seem kind of like coastal sunny enough for us. I get why people would want to live there. It’s beautiful. And even people who say that they’re there, it’s not as overcast and everyone thinks it is. But I think for us, what it really boiled down to was going back to the Silver Coast and the Algarve. So these two areas, we were going to do one week in each, and we would just drive the country, because the country is not that big to drive.

Caroline: Which I love about it.

Jason: You can drive the entire country in like 8 hours, which is amazing, but it would be 1 hour drive from the airport. And those of you who have been paying attention to our pramvels, we’ve been doing a lot of driving. So I was a little nervous about the driving.

Caroline: Oh, I was really nervous.

Jason: But it’s the only way to really see a place and understand if it could be a future home. And so I think as we were starting to plan this stuff, as we were starting to think about it, I was really getting excited of like, okay, but what’s the reality of these places? Like, when boots are on the ground, our boots, what’s this going to feel like? What’s this going to be like?

Caroline: Yeah. And so it was actually helpful because back when Jason said we were looking at some real estate starting when we just were throwing stuff out there in the Netherlands. And I think that’s a great place to start because what we would do is we’d find a listing that we liked, and then we would get on Google Street View and we’d be like, what’s the nearest city and what area and what does it look like? And it started to give us this picture of geography of the region. Of course, you don’t really know what it’s going to be like until you get on the ground. So we could see three to four to five different little smaller towns or areas that we really liked that had listings that we liked. And so that is how we then kind of combine that with Airbnb searches to find a week rental in Nazare.

Jason: We chose Nazare because that’s where the Airbnb was, not because we wanted to potentially live there. We were booking in August in Portugal, which is the busiest time for Portugal for people traveling. So, truthfully, honestly, that would not have been our first place that I would have picked for us to be because it was way further north than any places we were going to look at. But it totally worked out.

Caroline: Worked out great.

Jason: And I think it was actually a benefit because we got to see more of the country while driving.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: Which was really helpful. So during that whole process as well of, like, getting ready, booking these places, I’m now reaching out to…

Caroline: Totally, so just, just so I can put a pin in my thought.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: So we booked an Airbnb in Nazare.

Jason: In the Silver Coast.

Caroline: Silver Coast, and then we booked an Airbnb in Lagos for the Algarve. We did that in the same way of looking at a bunch of rentals that we would actually want to tour in the Algarve, but then kind of comparing it to what was available in Airbnb. And the only Airbnb that we really loved that we found in that time frame was in Lagos.

Jason: Yeah. So again, during this time, we’re, like, building up. We’re getting close to August. We have the places booked. I’m reaching out to real estate agents now, and I am finding places. I just want to make it really clear. We do not have an intention of buying a home. We’re going to rent. That was the entire plan, was if we’re going to live here, we’re going to rent first, because we don’t just want to buy a home and then get there and be like, Crap, now we’re stuck with a home and we don’t really love it here and things haven’t gone right. We want to rent first, make sure we love it, then maybe we want to buy. But we’re very pro renting. We have been for years. Even if we rent for a couple of years, that’s fine too. But what was interesting was starting to reach out to all these real estate agents in Portugal and just, like, getting that ball rolling. It’s just a really interesting process for me to understand the difference between different real estate agents. We found one who will talk about a little bit more, who just really was on par with our humor and everything else, but also just understanding, like, oh, this is a whole different process than we’ve ever been used to even dabbling in real estate in the US. So that was a whole part of it as well. But we also were looking at hospitals. We were looking at schools, we were looking at all this stuff.

Caroline: Yeah, and meanwhile, I’m doing my little research thing. Also, July, if you’ve been listening to the podcast was also just like a really tough month with my eye condition and everything. So I was trying to contribute as much as I could, but I was having a really hard time, and I honestly was getting nervous about the road trip and touring all these places each day. But I was trying to not have a negative attitude about it because I was like, I really want to put my best foot forward and give this a really fair shot. But thankfully, the week before we were about to go, my eyes got a lot better. We were in one place for a whole week, which was helpful. So it was leading up to the time, and before we knew it, we had a handful of houses and…

Jason: Schedules.

Caroline: And rentals to tour in both areas.

Jason: And interesting enough, I think this is where just before we get to, like, we’re there and we’re looking at stuff. In the Silver Coast, there was a lot more that we could see. There were a lot more homes. I think I set up like six homes to view or something like that that were for sale along with one rental that would be a very good possibility. Spoiler alert, we’re sitting in that rental.

Caroline: We’re sitting in the rental.

Jason: We’re not full time renting it.

Caroline: We’re not renting it.

Jason: We’re just here for a week, but we’re sitting in the exact rental that we had looked at. But in the Algarve, there was not a lot on the market. There was not a lot available for rent that we liked. And that was kind of an interesting aside for me of like, oh, do we want to go to a place where it’s going to feel really competitive and we’re going to have to make a really quick decision, or do we want to really embrace that slower pace of life? I know that we don’t have to jump on something.

Caroline: So that was our first interesting…

Jason: That was the first little clue.

Caroline: Contrast between the two areas. Also, going back to what we said before, again, remember, it’s August. This is when everyone comes down to vacation or holiday in the Algarve specifically. And here, that’s also why the limited real estate for rentals. Anyway, so…

Jason: Let’s get to…

Caroline: Oh, wait. I do want to say.

Jason: Okay, let’s not get to.

Caroline: Before we got here, we had an important conversation where I said to you, I said, do you remember we were walking by the Dutch barn? And I said, my biggest fear is that I can tell that you really want this.

Jason: Because I’m an 86%.

Caroline: Because you’re 86% was all over your face. I was like, I can tell you really want this, and I want you to know I’m going to be open-minded, but my biggest fear is that I’m going to not feel like this is the right move for us and that I love you so much, and I want you to be happy that I’m going to just say, Let’s do it and it’s not going to feel right for me. I was just like, I don’t want to be convinced into this. I want us to be a team, and I want us to really consider it all together. And that was one of my biggest fears going into it. I was like, oh, no, he’s going to want to move, and I’m not going to want to move. And this is going to be like a weird crossroads. One of us is going to have to, like, sacrifice. And you were very lovely in receiving that emotional call, and you said, okay, I’m not going to act as though it’s a foregone conclusion. I don’t want you to feel like I’m just bulldozing you. It’s a big “IF” and we’re just going to both go into this as a team, very much like “IF” not when, it’s if. And so that’s why throughout our entire trip, especially in the beginning, we would just always say, like, whenever we were talking about what it would be like to live here, we’d be like, “If we lived here…”

Jason: Yeah, it’s not a foregone conclusion.

Caroline: And it’s a big “if.” But I want to point that out because I think making big life decisions when you have a partner can be hard sometimes because you’re two people, not one person. And each person has their own desires that they want for their life, and they don’t always match up exactly. And that is a hard process to talk through, but I think as long as you’re honest, that’s the best that you can do. And if you care about each other, you really are trying to be a team. And so, yeah, we were having a lot of those conversations.

Jason: Yeah. Okay. So we arrived in Lisbon. We got a rental car. We had not driven before in Portugal. We had only been driving on them raisin roads in the UK in all their glory.

Caroline: Pfft, after the UK roads? Oh, man.

Jason: They were all so small. They were all so lined with cars. They were all on the opposite side of the road that we’ve ever driven on. And it was a lot. And honestly, after all of the trouble that the driving gave your eyes, I was super nervous about what it would be like when we got to Lisbon, picked up the rental car, we’re now driving back on the other side of the road. And there was this moment where we’re about 20 minutes down the road, because you got to get past the airport, right? Everybody knows…

Caroline: What’s funny is like, the worst part is literally 15 minutes from the airport getting out of Lisbon because it’s a big city.

Jason: And it’s every airport driving center around an airport.

Caroline: Yeah. And so I was nervous. I was like, oh, no, this is what this whole drive is going to be like. We get 20 minutes out and then I’m like, Wait, this is it? This is the highway?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And then it is just like the roads were the first thing that cracked the door open even more, which is such a weird thing to say, but it was such a lovely drive because the roads were so well maintained. Like, they’re just easy roads to drive on. They’re mainly two lanes on each side. The main highway is two lanes on each side. It’s not this four to five to six lane thing that I’m used to in California where people are zipping past you and it’s like, hold on to your butts. So it was just relaxing. You have these beautiful turns through hilly mountain kind of areas. We just happened to fly in on a day where actually the weather was kind of crap. It was like misty gray, but it was, like, beautiful. Like, I had this moment where I was like, this is not what I anticipated at all. But there’s this lush greenery on both sides of the highway. You’re passing, like, full mountain towns of historical Portuguese towns and the mist and the trees and the nice roads, and I could just kind of breathe a little bit. And that was my first moment of like, this is not anything like I expected. And it’s kind of lovely. It felt almost the word I kept using was romantic, which is not what I anticipated.

Jason: Yeah, I think anybody who’s driven in the UK and then immediately driven in another country probably feels the same way, right? They’re like “Ooh, these roads are sexy, there’s so much room.” But it was a very interesting moment in that that probably sounds so stupid to you. Listen, it’s like, guys, move forward. I don’t care about what it felt like to drive on the roads, but after we have driven on all these different roads and after we have been in all these different countries, the feeling that just that gave us was such a good first sign. And I think that’s what I was really looking for for you when we got here, because I could deal with anything at this point. Whatever, let’s just get to a place I’m excited to move and just start our lives. But for you, it really needed to feel like these little moments of like, hey, Caroline, this is nice. Like, don’t it look good?

Caroline: And that’s what I was really opening myself up to. I told him, I’m going to be really open-minded and I just want those feelings and those moments of like, this feels aligned. This feels like, this is what I want from my life to arrive, and I’m not going to try to force them to happen. And I’m going to be honest, driving out of Lisbon in that car, it was like I went from a 50 to a 40. I was like, It’s not worth it. I can’t do this. I don’t want any of this.

Jason: And I just kept telling Caroline too, every airport that you’ve ever driven out of in the United States feels exactly like this. They’re just all like this.

Caroline: But then by the time I got on that road, I was like, okay.

Jason: So enough about roads. Let’s talk about where we’re sitting right now, which was the very first home that we saw in the scouting journey.

Caroline: And that was the next day. It was an action packed week that we had planned.

Jason: Yeah, because normally we’ve been really trying to give Carol the rest time after a travel day, a flying day, to recuperate. But with the amount of things we wanted to see, with the amount of time we were in each area, we kind of had to stack a couple more things. And also you’re a little bit at the beck and call of like when someone can show you something too. So this place, it ended up being an hour drive from where our Airbnb was from Nazare down to the town of Lourinhã, and we didn’t know what to expect. Like you said, the photos looked good at this place and the rental place that we saw, the price is definitely great. Checked all the boxes on paper. But you want to see a place. We’ve rented for years now, and we’ve walked into some places like, I’m not going to do that. Those photos made this place look good. But we walked into this place and it was just beautiful.

Caroline: It was even better in person. I really thought, based on the photos, this would be a nice place to live. But it did feel like I would be kind of like having to settle for things that weren’t ideal is what it kind of felt like. Which, again, like Jason mentioned, for the price and for moving here, I was willing to do. But we got here and the actual place blew the photos out of the water. It was just beautiful. And the view, like, you have this gorgeous view of the ocean. And we loved a little town that was nearby. Jason already mentioned it, but it’s called Lourinhã. It’s the capital of dinosaurs, if you want to Google it. We’ll talk later in future episodes about why that’s so delightful to us.

Jason: Specifically, it’s the dinosaur capital of Europe.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: The Isle of Wight in the UK likes to kind of combat this a little bit, but I think Lourinhã has it because they found the largest fossil of a land predator here. They’re doing it. We’ll talk more about this.

Caroline: The town has just really embraced this idea.

Jason: Yeah. It’s wonderful.

Caroline: It’s a paleontolo– Palee–

Jason: Go ahead.

Caroline: Ontological.

Jason: Uh huh. Uh huh.

Caroline: Palee–

Jason: Nice.

Caroline: Tological?

Jason: Pretty solid.

Caroline: Nerd stream.

Both: Yeah.

Jason: So we’re walking around this place, this townhouse, and it is a townhouse, so they are connected walls. One of the things that was really helpful for me was we’ve been, in our previous place, we were renting had shared walls, and I just was really feeling like wherever we’re going to move to, I really didn’t want attached walls again. Just, we’ve lived that life having a direct neighbor that’s sharing walls with whatever. And we walked outside on the balcony. The views are beautiful, but there’s construction that you can see. And I could see right the neighbors, they were there, they were out, they were chatting, and that’s fine. I’m not trying to not be near anybody, but I was like, I don’t know. And before we had arrived at this place, I had noticed that in this little development that we were looking at, there are a couple of other units, and there was one that was it’s just a short term rental, like, week by week holiday rental. But I asked the property manager, and, like, a classic Jason, you don’t get what you don’t ask for move.

Caroline: A classic Jason.

Jason: I was just like, I pulled it up. I was like, is there any chance we could see this just while we’re here? I know they’re not set up for long term rental, but maybe we could talk to them about a shorter term, like in the off season, not in the summer.

Caroline: Jason is like, you know how people order off the menu? Like, secret menu, secret menu people. Jason is a classic secret menu guy. He’s like, well, just because it doesn’t say that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t do that. And there’s a lot to be learned from that type of like, just what’s the worst they say? No?

Jason: Yeah. You go to a pizza place, and you’re like, you got Peking duck back there? And they’re like, sir, we are not a Chinese restaurant. I’d be like, yeah, I understand, but do you have it? And they’re like, well, we actually do have it. I’m like, okay, great. Well, I’m glad I asked where it because…

Caroline: And it’s not coming from this place of like, I demand Peking duck.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: It’s like, hey, just…

Jason: Do you have it?

Caroline: Toss something weird out there?

Jason: Was the chef working on a Peking duck pizza?

Caroline: And it’s like, Yeah, actually, he’s working on a new pizza. It’s Peking Duck Pizza. And I’ve got it in the back. Would you like to taste it? And you’re like, Uh, yeah, that is you.

Jason: That’s me.

Caroline: And so Jason, at the end of this tour, where we’re like…

Jason: The property manager is ready for us to leave.

Caroline: Oh yeah, this is our favorite thing. Also, she was perfectly lovely and nice, but you could tell she was just like, I get a lot of people who just want to be Lookie-loos and come see, and they just, it never materializes, which probably most real estate agents feel. But by the end, Jason, when he showed her that he had done some research and that he was like, I saw this. He was throwing out contract terms. He was like, would they be willing to maybe just do a six-month rental so that way it will be freed up for the summer for them to do vacation rentals? And so that’s a little bit of also, like, know your selling proposition. Like, know your audience. And her eyes just lit up, like, oh, this guy’s, like, serious. And she goes, sure, I’ll show you that one. So they have Peking duck pizza. Okay. And we went and saw this different unit, which is, as Jason was describing, is different because it was not a townhouse, it is a villa, which is just what they describe. That’s what they call a detached home.

Jason: For those of you who don’t know, a villa sounds so fancy. You immediately think Tuscany.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: Up on a hill, panoramic views, miles and miles and miles of acreage of property that’s all yours.

Caroline: It just means a house without shared walls.

Jason: That’s it.

Caroline: Like, if you live in a house…

Jason: Right now, if you’re sitting in a home…

Caroline: If you’re in a house, it’s a villa.

Jason: And your walls ain’t touching other walls of somebody else’s home…

Caroline: You’re in a villa.

Jason: You live in a villa.

Caroline: That’s right.

Jason: Start calling it a villa.

Caroline: Villa life.

Jason: So we walked next door because it was literally next door, and she was like, oh, let me open it up. And you could tell she was a little frazzled because she wasn’t planning on showing this place. She had opened the shutters and do all these things. And we start to look around this villa, and it a was reverse layout. So the layout of the place that we saw was living space upstairs, bedrooms downstairs. This one was bedrooms upstairs, living space downstairs, and all the bedrooms are fine. We really liked all that. But then you walked downstairs and the only word that I can use to describe because we’re not going to share photos of this place is luxurious.

Caroline: I was like, what? Who lives here?

Jason: Exactly. And I think we both at this moment, we’re like, would we be allowed to live here? Would they look at us and be like, you wear athleisure too much. You can’t. You have enough money to pay for it, but you can’t, unfortunately.

Caroline: We’re going to have to cover all the furniture in plastic if you two live here.

Jason: But yeah, we were just walking around, and I think this was, so we kind of finished looking at that place, and there was no definitive answer of whether we would be able to rent that place or not. But I think the property manager was like, okay, these people are serious about potentially doing this.

Caroline: Yeah, because we were like, okay, so can you email them and ask can they do a six-month contract. So we were throwing terms out, and again, at this point, I’m not like, sold, and we’re definitely moving to Portugal.

Jason: I think we have another check in here.

Caroline: I will, but I just wanted to share to people at this point, I’m not sold.

Jason: This is the feelings check in.

Caroline: This is the feelings check in. And I was like, whoa, I can really see myself, I can see myself living at the first one where we are right now. But this was really like, not only can I see myself living here, but this would be like a dream.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: To live here. And now I’m going, Whoa, this has a feeling unlike any other feeling. And so my interest was piqued. And so when Jason is throwing out terms, I’m trying not to get nervous because we just got to find out what’s possible before we make a decision.

Jason: And I had no intention of throwing out terms of signing anything…

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: Right away.

Caroline: Which is what you told me.

Jason: I just wanted to know the terms. I just wanted to know that it was a possibility so that we could have that as some fodder for discussion.

Caroline: Totally. So then we had a little rest day because that was a lot.

Jason: Yes.

Caroline: And at this point, my anxiety, to be fully transparent, was through the roof because now I’m like, oh, shit, I actually can see us maybe living here. And now it’s a harder decision.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Because again, in the car on the way, I was pretty sure this was not going to happen. And I was just kind of…

Jason: You were at 50%. But it was like a…

Caroline: It was a soft 50.

Jason: Like a soft 50.

Caroline: It was a soft 50.

Jason: So, on the count of three, after seeing the villa, after resting, because we have another little check in right here, oh, you just want to do a feeling not a percentage?

Caroline: No, this is all after we saw…

Jason: Okay. I didn’t know if we were going to do another percentage.

Caroline: We are going to do another percentage, but…

Jason: Later on.

Caroline: Yeah. This is just a feelings check in.

Jason: This is a feelings check in.

Caroline: Okay. So my feeling was…

Jason: I’m feeling…

Caroline: What are you feeling?

Jason: If I’m allowed to live here, if they will let me as a schleppy dad life, khaki pants and dad hat wearing, athleisure guy, live in this luxurious kitchen-living-dining, I’m in. I don’t know what I have to do. But just…

Caroline: Now you’re back to we might have to do long distance.

Jason: Set up the zoom, you know. Let’s both get accounts so we can go for longer than 40 minutes. So, yeah.

Caroline: No, you were really on board.

Jason: Yeah. And again, I wasn’t trying to put any pressure on you. I just had this feeling for myself of, Wow, that felt amazing. And seeing that place, I think we both were talking about it as we were going over. Like, even if we couldn’t stay in the villa, if the townhouse was the only option for rent, as much as I wouldn’t want to share walls again, it still felt great.

Caroline: Yeah. And then I will say seeing the places is a little bit of a whirlwind. It was just like an overwhelming positive feeling, but it was still a whirlwind. For me, the real click, the oh, shit feeling of like, oh, this feels real, was walking down to the beach that’s walking distance from the neighborhood. And it’s this beautiful little family beach that reminds us so much of the beaches that we back in Carlsbad we would go for walks on and the fact that that’s walking distance. And you can go down there and watch the sunset, and they have, like, a little beach bar, and you can just grab a book and read it there or go down for breakfast or whatever. To me, that also was a lifestyle component that I was like, I can picture this, I can picture bringing kids down there and going to the beach day, like all those things. So then I was like, really? Like, oh shit.

Jason: So the next day was actually when we started to see places that were for sale. So as a reminder that we just saw some places. Well, actually the next day was a rest day, but the next day that we were out seeing stuff. So we met our real estate agent, Bruno, who was just lovely, fantastic Portuguese, spoke amazing English, had really great humor, very good sense of humor, just like us. And he met us at two places. One that was inland and one that was in a little beach town that was about 20 minutes north of Lourinhã. And I think for me this was when not like anything changed in wanting to live here or not, but it’s when it really solidified for me. We saw the inland place first in a town called Alfeizerão, probably said that incorrectly.

Caroline: Which was actually as far as finishes go and layout in the house…

Jason: In the home.

Caroline: In the home. Very much up our alley and something that we would want.

Jason: But I’m standing outside by the pool and I know this is going to sound like so privileged and everything else, but I’m just sharing it so that people can understand how I was feeling. I’m looking at this amazing view and I just said, this isn’t it for us or for me. I don’t want to live here. I don’t want to be this far from the coast. I don’t want to be this secluded. I feel like I’m out of touch of everything. It just didn’t feel right to me. And I share that with you and a lot of times I think you would agree, I don’t share a lot of strong feelings about how I’m actually feeling. I’m just like, this is a yes or this is a no.

Caroline: Yeah, it wasn’t really a hard thing for you to break to me to be like, sorry, I’m just going to have to live near the ocean.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: It wasn’t like a hard thing for me to hear.

Jason: You didn’t have to get like…

Caroline: It wasn’t like, Oh, wow, babe, I know that was hard for you to tell me.

Jason: Some dossier that I gotta get notarized.

Caroline: No, but in all seriousness, that’s why we wanted to set up these tours was because we wanted to know what does it feel like in person? And so that was very clear to us and it put the other place into context because then it goes, oh, it doesn’t matter that you don’t have like a sweeping, for those of you who know where we lived before, we lived on this lagoon and you had lots of water view and that was so peaceful to us, but it really reminded us you don’t need like a huge panoramic ocean views in order to feel that peace. But we do need to be near the water in order to feel that.

Jason: Yeah. And I think the other thing that we just kept coming back to as well was, if we’re going to uproot our lives and go through all that it takes, which we’ll talk more about a little bit later on, to move to a different country. I want to go to live in a place where I’m going to feel like my quality of life is the same of what I had or better. Like, I’m not trying to lessen my quality of life.

Caroline: Yeah. And I think the takeaway, too. I know we’re talking a lot about just, like, our journey and our story, but if you’re trying to make a big decision in your life and whether it’s about moving or something else, the takeaway is like, know what you really value in that decision. So we actually did an entire coaching session in our coaching program, WAIM Unlimited, about making big decisions. And one of the steps in kind of building your compass or the thing that can point you in the right direction that we shared is know your kind of overall general values in life, but then also know your decision-specific values. So for us, that just means know what your priorities are in making that decision. How do you want to feel? And so for us, after that visit, it became clear, being near the water… In general, we had put nature as, like a decision-specific value. We really want to live somewhere that has nature because it’s so calming and it adds to our lives so much. But it’s like after seeing that, it didn’t become nature anymore, it was like ocean.

Jason: Yeah, exactly.

Caroline: And you just get more specific.

Jason: Yeah. So we saw that in the place. Then we went to a town called Foz do Arelho with Bruno, and this house was about two to three blocks from the ocean. It didn’t have your picturesque ocean view that you think about. It had a very good view, but there was a house right in front of it. And again, we’re not trying to buy, but we walked through a house that definitely needed some work.

Caroline: A lot of work.

Jason: And it needed some updating. And the kitchen was a weird layout. And again, our intention was not to buy, but it was really interesting just to see for the price of home in that specific town near that proximity of the water, with that view, we would have to be doing some work.

Caroline: For me, my big takeaway after seeing that place, whereas yours was like the ocean view before, my big takeaway was, I don’t want our first place to have that much work done. And that became clear.

Jason: Even if we come and we rent.

Caroline: Even if we rent.

Jason: It’s not that we don’t want to take on them buying a place that we have to renovate.

Caroline: Right. Like little cosmetic things, totally. Replacing tile, doing stuff like that. Walls are a no-go for me.

Jason: Yeah, I mean, even replacing tile, I think would just be a no. We just don’t want to have any trade work having to be done in a home.

Caroline: In your first…

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: I mean, I think a little bit, just to get your toes wet.

Jason: I love wet toes. I love getting my toes just damped up. Love damping up my toes.

Caroline: I think I meant feet wet, but I said toes wet, get your toes wet.

Jason: I’m going to get them all wet up.

Caroline: So…

Jason: So that was our day with Bruno. We did have a funny moment at the end where we’re looking at this beautiful view of the ocean and just like, really taking in, like, okay, we want to be on the coast. We still have a couple of places to see in other days. And what did Bruno say?

Caroline: He was like, oh, remember you promised me lunch?

Jason: Yeah. And we’re like, Nice, Bruno, I like it. So he took us to just, like a little very local restaurant. We were the only people there.

Caroline: It was the best.

Jason: We had some sangria, just like, shared some laughs and some stories.

Caroline: Found out we’re birthday twins, Bruno and I, our birthdays are five days apart, but, like, actual birthdays. So we’re the same age. That was exciting. And yeah, we just made a Portuguese friend in Bruno.

Jason: Yeah and that was really great because I think we got to see a lot of the Silver Coast area just through driving. Also, there was a fun moment where for 15 minutes, Bruno called us and then just gave us a tour while we were driving.

Caroline: We would be driving down the street and he’d be like, okay, here’s this little neighborhood, here’s this area. And he goes.

Jason: We’re in separate cars, by the way.

Caroline: Yeah. Separate cars. He’s in front of us. We’re on the car play or whatever, so it’s over the speaker. And then my favorite part is he goes, And we’ll just keep the call going. I was like, Okay.

Jason: All right. Okay. So then the next day we had a place to see that was way far inland. So it was an hour inland. We pretty much knew at this point it was not going to be a chance for us. However, what we wanted to do was still check the box because you just never know, right? You go to a place, you see an area, you could fall in love with it. So we drove out to a town called Santarem and we got into, like, the downtown first. We saw that. It was a much bigger city than we thought.

Caroline: Bigger city than we thought.

Jason: Which is not where we were going to look. We were going to look outside of it.

Caroline: It is a cool city, though. It’s kind of like more mountainy, big city and like, lots of shops and restaurants.

Jason: There’s a Staples.

Caroline: There’s a Staples and there’s a Michelin Star restaurant there that was fantastic. But we get to the house and even though it had a lot to offer…

Jason: I like what our friend Jen said about that house. She was like, I feel like this is Iron Man’s house.

Caroline: It was a little Iron Man.

Jason: Because it had a very interesting layout, and it was very unique from especially the Portuguese homes, normally, but even how modern homes are set up, like, it’s a very different look.

Caroline: And you could feel the heat, though. How much inland.

Jason: It was almost 100 degrees that day. It was like 35 Celsius. We’re trying to adapt a little bit here. Again, we’re trying to move to Portugal, so we’re going to have to figure this out.

Caroline: Gotta go Celsius. Gotta go metrics. Got to go…

Jason: But yeah, I think, as much as we wanted to give that house a chance just to feel the area, and it had a big expansive view and it had a lot of land, I think we both just left and we’re just like, that’s not where we want to be.

Caroline: We just knew. But again, all things to figure out. And so by that point, we had seen just enough of, like, what we didn’t want to then circle back. And the property manager of the current place, the first place that we saw, said, all right, the owners can’t do your made up six-month contract, Jason.

Jason: You can’t have a Peking duck pizza.

Caroline: Can’t have a Peking duck pizza but I have two villas that I can show you.

Jason: Well, yeah, she just said one villa.

Caroline: Oh, one. That’s right. And we showed up, and then we ended up seeing three different units.

Jason: So this is great. So it was the next day, and we didn’t expect to see anything else there. But she had this other villa. So we pull up, she waves at us. Now she’s ready to give us a hug. Like, we’ve, like, changed the vibe. She’s like, well, let me show you the townhouse so that I have another townhouse to show you first. I’m like, Oh, okay. I didn’t even know we were going to see a townhouse. So this is basically like, another part of this development. And it was fine. It was just as nice as the other one. But we were just excited to get to the villa.

Caroline: Yeah. And she was excited to get us to the villa.

Jason: I know. Yeah, she was too. So we walk into this villa and it was just love at first sight.

Caroline: It was love at first sight.

Jason: We knew what the other one was like, the luxurious one.

Caroline: Yeah. I will say this one, it didn’t have that, like, oh, God, I’m in a magazine feeling. I mean, it’s beautiful. Don’t get me wrong.

Jason: Like, I’m really feeling bad about the clothes that I’m wearing in this home.

Caroline: It’s beautiful but it didn’t feel out of touch for us. It felt like we could make it a home. The layout was perfect for us.

Jason: Yeah, I think the layout was a little bit better. I don’t mind having the living-dining kitchen on the bottom floor, but it just felt better to walk in the front door and you’re in your living space and we had this moment where, and there was even a guy, Bruno, another Bruno actually, now that I realize, was in there, like fixing the drawer or something in the kitchen, because the house was just finishing being done. And I just had a moment where I looked the other way through the dining room, through the living room, out through the view, over the pool where you could see the water. And I just was like, Ooh, this one really like, I could see myself here and it would be amazing.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: And I think as we walked around, felt really good about it. She had another villa she wanted to show, so it was just like down a couple of ways, and that one was great. But we’re like, can we see the other one again? We just want to feel what that feels like. And I think as you’re listening to this, you know that whenever you do the…

Caroline: When you circle back.

Jason: Can I see it again? You’re really serious.

Caroline: It’s like, it felt like say yes to the dress when it’s like, oh, let’s put that one back on. And then you’re like, oh yeah.

Jason: Also, it was the first one of these rentals we saw that had a tub.

Caroline: It has a tub for me.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: All of this is very much like what helps me calm my anxiety, because, again, if you’re moving countries, it’s not going to be an easy process. And it has a tub. And then it also has my favorite part, which is it has a finished garage with an art studio space.

Jason: It’s not just a finished garage. I told Caroline when we were standing in the garage, there’s like these beautiful tiles, like big concrete tiles is what they look like on the floor. I was like, when we pull the car in, we’re going to have to dust the tires on the car. The car is not allowed to come in when it’s dirty because that’s how beautiful the garage looks.

Caroline: And I love that because these places are furnished, which is great because we wouldn’t have to buy a bunch of furniture. But there’s this one area in the finished garage that has nothing in it. So I could actually put a little art desk and have my little studio. And that’s so much a part of building a life for me.

Jason: And set up a little stationary bike. There is a little gym in the development, which is really nice.

Caroline: And there’s a gym in the development. So it was just ticking all the boxes and we just really liked the neighborhood. We met the owners. We met quite a few people here. I love that it’s sort of an international community, so they do get quite a, it’s pretty much all expats, honestly.

Jason: Yeah, that’s what she said.

Caroline: Which is kind of nice because, as much as I want to be plugged into the Portuguese community and that’s very much important to me in learning the language and getting to know people and all that, it does ease a little bit of the anxiety. Knowing that you have a built-in community of people who at least you have one thing in common with, which is we all are changing countries and coming here. There’s an Italian couple, there’s a couple from Denmark, there’s a family from…

Jason: There’s a couple of US couples.

Caroline: There’s some US couples from North Carolina. And that’s amazing to me because just the ability to lean on those people and say, like, hey, what was it like when you first got here? And how did you make friends?

Jason: Yeah, and really cool. Right outside of the villa that we’re, fingers crossed, hoping is going to be our future rental for a year. They’re building a clubhouse. It’s like, there’s a little restaurant and everything, and it’s supposed to be done by the time we would move in in a couple of months. And how amazing would that be just to be able to walk down there and meet your neighbors and chat with them. And that’s one of the hardest things, I think about especially moving to a new country, is meeting new people. And this gives you, like, a built-in way to meet new people that are right in the area that you live, that you have some commonality with. And then, yeah, we want to go into the town of Lourinhã and go to the little restaurant that we’ve been loving and meet people there and talk to Portuguese people there and do that as well. But it’s a really good mix of both worlds. So does that lead us to our final…?

Caroline: Our final percentage.

Jason: So I think this is like, just to set the stage so that you all can feel when we have this exact percentage moment. We saw the villa, we went into it a second time. We’re sitting in the rental car. I think we drove like a street away so we wouldn’t be creeps sitting there. We recorded a little clip, so we would just have it for posterity of how we’re feeling. Now let’s do the percentage, our final percentage here. What percentage chance that we will move to Europe at that point?

Caroline: Okay, at that point?

Jason: At that point. Ready?

Both: 1, 2, 3.

Caroline: 95%.

Jason: 167%.

Both: (laughing)

Caroline: Well, you know, I made some major strides.

Jason: You made some fantastic… Where were you at, 91%?

Caroline: 95%.

Jason: Oh, fantastic.

Caroline: I was at 95%, but remember, I was afraid to say the words out loud?

Jason: Yes.

Caroline: I would nod. Jason was like, Are we doing this? And I would nod, but I couldn’t say yes. I was not ready to be like…

Jason: I would just kind of look at you, and you would just kind of look at me, and you would make a face, and I would be like, Okay. I’m at 167% so I don’t need to say anything.

Caroline: Interesting.

Jason: Yeah. So after that moment, we decided, let’s go get lunch and, like, a little nearby beach town that we also wanted to scout out and just see. We didn’t have any homes to see, but just to see.

Caroline: It turns out, it was fantastic. And it was like a little surf skate town that reminded us so much of California.

Jason: And wasn’t that busy, which was great. We ate at a little beach restaurant that was, like, right on the beach. That was beautiful just to look out and see things. Then from there, I said to Caroline, I was like, let’s go to the grocery store. I know that sounds really weird.

Caroline: I don’t know that it sounds that weird.

Jason: But now in this day, I could now picture us living in this home, us going to lunch at this little beach town and us going to the grocery store. And that’s like a very normal day for what our lives could look like. And we got to the grocery store and I mean, we have been to every type of grocery store you can imagine this year. We’ve been to the smallest of small. We’ve been to the biggest of box stores in other languages that you don’t know anything. And this grocery store, it’s not perfect, but it’s essentially, for those of you in the US, you know what a Whole Foods is like. It’s like as close to a Whole Foods as we think we’re going to get on the Silver Coast of Portugal. And I walked in. I was like, this feels great.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: And this is definitely where, again, you’re picturing your everyday life.

Caroline: And yeah, it’s not like, you know… It’s just those little conveniences of the way that you’ve always done things. Grocery stores, where can I get groceries? Where can I get art supplies?

Jason: This is the closest we’ve ever lived to a grocery store, which is kind of wild. It’s just right down the road. But I think at the end of that day was when I had this moment where I said to you, literally the next day, we were supposed to leave and go to the Algarve and so start a whole other week of scouting. We had a couple of houses lined up, a couple of areas. And to be honest, the Algarve has more international restaurants. It has a couple of coffee shops that are, like, right up our alley that I was excited about. There are no coffee shops in the Silver Coast.

Caroline: Because it obviously caters to more of an international audience.

Jason: In the Algarve.

Caroline: In the Algarve. So here, probably… Actually, not probably. Definitely. It would have more of the, quote, unquote, like modern Americanized conveniences that we’re…

Jason: Amenities.

Caroline: Amenities that were used to. It’s going to have more of that in the Algarve. However, Jason turned to me and he was like, do we think we’re going to get better than this? Do we need to do an entire full other week of driving and seeing places to know that this is right for us? Or can we just kind of say, what more do we want? Like, this is enough. This is more than enough. This is more than we could have ever imagined.

Jason: And this really harkens back to the past couple of episodes where we’ve talked about this idea of satisfaction and just not having that perfect laundry room, and again, the laundry room in this place that we might move into. It’s not perfect. It’s not an idyllic laundry room. There’s no wood treatments or anything. But I just was sitting there thinking to myself, like, This is it. This is what I’m really excited about and what feels really good to me. It’s not that I think we’re going to lose it if we don’t jump on it, but it’s just why do I need to go and look at something else in the Algarve to compare? I feel really good about this. And so I sent a message to the property manager, who now we’re great friends with, and I just said, hey, I know this might be super last minute. It’s solely okay if it doesn’t work, but I know the very first townhouse that we saw for rent is open for weekly vacation rentals. Could we rent it for the next week? And she wrote back, she was like, Let me get back to you. Let me see what I can do. And sure enough, she could. And that’s how we ended up sitting right here where we are today in the very first place that we saw.

Caroline: In the very first rental because, in our minds, and listen, that wasn’t an easy decision to totally scrap the second half of our scouting trip, nor was it without its loss of money. Like, you had to cancel the Airbnb that we had booked.

Jason: We didn’t cancel. We just didn’t go.

Caroline: Well, that’s what I mean.

Jason: Yeah, we didn’t get a refund. That’s just an operating cost that we lose in this.

Caroline: That’s what I mean. But in my mind, I thought, okay, losing out on money right now in order to test drive this neighborhood for a week and not make potentially a wrong decision that we would then pay lots more money to live in a place that wasn’t, like, who knows? We could have been here, and we could have been like, oh, it’s not what we thought.

Jason: Yeah, and there’s construction going on. And right now, obviously recording a podcast with the doors closed, we haven’t been able to hear a thing. Like, if you’ve heard any noise, it’s the laundry machine.

Caroline: Yeah, which has been fantastic, because that’s what we wanted to know, was like, okay, there is construction here. What does that sound like on a regular basis? So it’s been great to test that out. It’s been great to learn, like, the little quirks of the sliding doors and test out the gym and all these things.

Jason: Also, it’s very windy on the Silver Coast.

Caroline: Very windy.

Jason: And it’s like, what is it like to live in it? And you’ve got to be a little bit careful about what you put outside and what’s going on. But today, it’s a very windy day, but it’s totally fine. We still have the door open. It’s still great. And I think that for us, staying these extra couple of days has just really showed us that we do love it as much as we thought when we were standing in that rental seeing what it’s like.

Caroline: Exactly. So what a week. What a week we’ve had. That kind of day and day and a half after and really probably three days after that second villa that we saw where I could really let it sink in and we could go to the grocery store. I did find in a nearby town, an art supply store.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And I found…

Jason: There’s this sporting goods store…

Caroline: A little sporting goods store, where I can buy my station bike.

Jason: Not a little sporting goods store. It’s a huge sporting good store.

Caroline: It’s a huge sporting good store. And just a couple of those things that I want to kind of like set up our lives here.

Jason: And I think the other thing sorry, not to cut you off. In thinking about moving to another country, moving into a furnished place. Moving into a place that’s a development that has things built in. Like there’s like a pool. So you have a pool cleaner already built in. They have Bruno, the guy who takes care of anything that goes wrong. We don’t have to figure that stuff out. That to me, is also like, wow, this is going to make this adjustment a lot easier.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: It’s still going to be hard.

Caroline: It’s great to bridge that gap for the future. If we wanted to buy a villa on our own where you’re not in a development and it’s just you’re buying a house here.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: It’s like to me it’s bridging the gap. It’s like kind of taking some of those challenges off the table…

Jason: To start.

Caroline: To start,.

Jason: Like, start a little bit on easier mode than on immediate hard mode.

Caroline: Exactly. So it just feels right. I can’t tell you how happy I feel just being here. I told Jason, with the exception of probably Ireland, which was like the second month of our trip, this place and maybe Greece, but that was like we’re on vacation, basically. Vacation from our vacation.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: But I haven’t felt this good in our entire year of travel.

Jason: Which is a great sign.

Caroline: I just feel so happy here, so grounded here. I love so much about this country, the people, the landscapes, the language…

Jason: The pace of life.

Caroline: The food, the pace of life.

Jason: Yeah. Also, if we’re going to lunch here at all, it’s 2 hours.

Caroline: We’ve had so many two-hour lunches now.

Jason: We went to a place that we found in a bigger city that was just like they’re like Buddha bowls. That’s the best way I can describe it. There’s just like little, like simple bowls of food, Poke bowls as well.

Caroline: That would be literally a fast casual restaurant back in the States that you would order…

Jason: In and out, twelve minutes.

Caroline: And you’d be in and out in twelve minutes. It was a two-hour lunch and we loved it. We just sat there and we were just like…

Jason: We were one of six people in this restaurant and I was like, literally, at a certain point, I didn’t know what was taking so long, but I didn’t care.

Caroline: I didn’t care.

Jason: It’s just like, whatever it is…

Caroline: Did not care.

Jason: And the food was fantastic.

Caroline: It was amazing food.

Jason: But I just pictured the people who are working there in the back, they’re like, yeah, I’m putting together a bowl, but I’m not in a hurry.

Caroline: I’m picturing that they didn’t do any prep of chopping up things beforehand. And it’s just like you and me making a Buddha bowl at home where you’re chopping everything from scratch in the moment.

Jason: I also think that we ordered a specific thing, but back there, they didn’t know what was in it. They just were like, what do I want to make? I’ll make some falafel. Sure. So, yeah, this has definitely been a very successful scouting trip.

Caroline: And you all have heard, for those of you who have been listening for years now, the past few years for us has really been about embracing slow growth, embracing calm businesses, embracing just kind of getting off the rat race. And this feels like the ultimate next step of that, but also exciting at the same time. It’s both calming and stimulating at the same time. I don’t know how to describe it. And it feels right. And that’s not to say it’s not scary. Well, we can talk about we can end with feelings. Let’s talk about just very briefly.

Jason: Sure.

Caroline: We can’t just decide to move to Portugal because we decided.

Jason: Yeah. So if this is the honeymoon period, we’re about to get into the, like, oh, now we’re moving in together. We’re sharing all of our stuff.

Caroline: All the words are coming out.

Jason: What’s going on? You don’t put eyelashes on every morning? That’s me, I put on eyelashes every morning. But it’s like the reality kind of clicks in, which is we have to get a visa. And the good thing is that for the past couple of years, Portugal has been very open to remote workers, which is us, coming to Portugal, living in Portugal, creating a life, sharing your economic wares with Portugal, to not take away from work here. Like, we’re not trying to move here and get a job here and take away someone’s work. We’re trying to move here and give money…

Caroline: Contribute to the economy.

Jason: Contribute to the economy. So we are going to start the process. We already have a little bit of what it takes to get a visa. We bought a course that I already blasted through. We set up a call with two people. We already had one call. We started the process of getting just some of the initial things. You have to get like a tax ID number here, which we’re using the service through that, and a bank account, which the same service does that. But you got to get all your documents in a row. You have to figure out that one of us doesn’t have their middle name on any piece of paperwork ever besides their passport. And those are the things that we’re going to start to run into a lot.

Caroline: Yeah. And then spoiler alert, you have to be in the United States in order to submit that application. So it throws a little bit of a wrench in our plan of being gone the entire year.

Jason: Yeah, we had a moment where we started, we were like, okay, well, should we just go back next week and just cancel the rest of our travels or just take a two week break? And we started to run the numbers and I’m like, no, that’s too expensive. But it’s also a little bit of like a thing of patience. We have two months of travel booked, a bunch of things planned, but as of October 14th, that is the date that we believe we are going to head back to the US and embark on this process. We’re going to try and do as much as we can ahead of time, but we can’t submit anything. We can’t get things notarized, we can’t, we have to do a fingerprints thing. We can’t do any of that until we hit the ground in the US. And maybe we’ll share more of that. If you care in future episodes, definitely send us an email if you just want to know all those details. If we get enough emails, maybe we’ll keep recording some of that stuff. But yeah, that’s a daunting process. And we’ve already run into multiple conversations that have had tension, that have had, we see things differently in how we would do something. And so it’s testing us as this trip has for an entire year. It’s a whole other set of tests that we’re getting into and we’re just trying to overcommunicate. We’re trying to take a pause and be like, we don’t need to get frustrated about the fact that somehow your middle name didn’t end up on any bank account we have. And that’s no one’s fault. It’s just a frustrating, stupid thing. And we’re just going to try and meet every bit of resistance to this as possible in thinking of the reason we’re doing all this is to have the life that we felt this past week and to feel as good as we do and to feel as happy as we do and to see more dinosaur stuff all the time. And that to me is what this is all going to be worth. But yeah, it’s going to get really interesting here because now we’re going to be in this process of like, we have two months until we go back to the US to do this and all I want to do is do it now and you can’t.

Caroline: And you can’t.

Jason: And we both really struggle with that. Once you’ve made a decision, then you have to wait. It’s the worst thing for both of us.

Caroline: It’s the worst but it’s good practice of being patient and yeah, from my side, I think that, first of all, as much of a roller coaster as this whole year has been, I am so glad that we’ve done it. Not only because of the amazing memories that we’ve made and it lived up to all my expectations in terms of like I mean, I have literally infinite amount of memories that I’ll never forget, of places that just surprised me and were interesting, but also the ways that this year has stretched me and continues to stretch me. And I’m so much more capable now than I thought I was when we started. And I think there’s no better preparation for the next chapter of our lives to hopefully have kids than to prove to myself I’m more capable than I thought because I know that’s going to be a challenge. And of course those are lessons that I want to pass down to our kids. But this is an example of a really big leap that we’re taking and it feels so scary and I’m challenging myself to not focus on all of the ways that this will be scary and to instead focus in the form of worry, worrying about the future, and instead focus on trusting myself that I’m capable. Because if I can just focus my energy on trusting that I’m capable, then I can meet every moment with confidence that I can handle it. So that’s the biggest thing that I’m doing in order to kind of keep that anxiety at bay. And so far that’s working. And then the second thing that I think is helping me is I told Jason this that a lot of what was holding me back to making this big decision was thinking that, I realized that in my head it was this binary decision of either I go forward and move to a different country full of all these unknowns that I know is going to bring me pain, challenges, hardships, and all of that or I’m going to move back to the comfort of California with everything that I know and I’m not going to have any pain, challenges, or hardships, which is not true. It is a false dichotomy that my brain was creating which was telling me what you don’t know, the unknown, is full of pain and everything that you already know is not any pain. And that’s not true because I could just as easily have something terrible happen to me in a place that I am fully comfortable because that’s life. You know. And I share that because, if you are someone who struggles with anxiety, I want you to question and have maybe take a step back and see when your brain is trying to play those tricks on you and go, Oh no, that’s an unknown future. Or maybe it’s a new business you want to start or maybe it’s a job that you really deep down want but you’re afraid to take it. Your brain is going to lie to you and tell you that all the bad stuff might happen in the unknown, and no bad stuff is going to happen in the safety of your known, but that is not true. Bad stuff can happen anywhere at any time. That’s the nature of life. So why not take the leap towards something that you know that you want deep down and trust yourself that you’ll be able to weather whatever hardships come.

Jason: What a feeling section.

Caroline: That’s feelings.

Jason: That’s great stuff. Uh. My feelings? Yep.

Caroline: What are your feelings?

Jason: Yep, I have them.

Caroline: Yep, there they are.

Jason: Ready to go.

Caroline: Are you nervous at all about moving to a different country?

Jason: No, not at all. The thing I’m most nervous about, to be honest, is just not getting approved. It’s not having our visas get approved.

Caroline: Right, something that would be out of our control.

Jason: As someone who control is such an important thing for, it’s a very difficult process for me to feel out of control, but it’s just a continued test. Like this whole year has been of just like, you’re going to run into an Airbnb where it smells like a sewer, the fire alarm goes off, and you just have to leave. And that’s not what you saw as the plan, but you just need to do it. And so, yeah, I’m really hopeful. I mean, the good news is, too, is we’re not the first people who’ve done this, so there’s so much information that we’re getting. Again, the process does change, though. So what one person says that worked six months ago might be different for us, but yeah, the next couple of months of travel are going to be fun because we got a bunch of stuff that’s great and we’re going to see family members and that’s really exciting to have them come to Europe. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really ready to get back, get this process over with, then come back here and start our lives, because now I can see it and now I can appreciate that this whole trip was for trying to find exactly what we found, and we found it, and that makes me feel so good. Those are feelings. Did I have some?

Caroline: You did. Good job.

Jason: Ah, cool.

Caroline: Thank you for sharing.

Jason: Okay.

Caroline: I love you so much.

Jason: Oh, nice. Me or the people?

Caroline: Both.

Jason: Okay, great. Well, we really hoped you enjoyed hearing about this entire saga that was now we’re moving to Portugal.

Caroline: This is the most, like, real time we’ve ever shared a big decision in our lives. I’m a little bit nervous because once we put it out there, it’s out there.

Jason: Yeah. And there’s a lot of things that could change, and we will keep you posted if something changes.

Caroline: We’ll share that with you when it happens.

Jason: But we’re so excited. We hope this was somewhat interesting to just hear how we kind of went through this entire process. And again, we’ll keep you posted if you want to send an email, Let us know your questions, your thoughts, that you’re excited…

Caroline: I hope it just helps you hear two people trying to navigate a big life move in real time. So that if you’re trying to make a decision in your life. Like, maybe there was one or two or three things that you could pluck out about how to be open-minded. Or maybe you have your own percentage likelihood scale with your partner or all of those things. Or maybe some of those conversations about setting expectations before you make a decision. That’s my hope. It’s interesting because it’s just a thing that we’re doing, but that, more importantly, you can apply it to your own circumstances.

Jason: Yeah. All right, let’s wrap up there. Thank you so much for listening. We appreciate you. We’ll be back, hopefully next week in case we hit a big curveball. But we should be fine. And, yeah, we’ll back as a more normal episode next week.

Caroline: See you.

Jason: Bye.

137 – Welp… We’re Moving to PORTUGAL! (We Hope?)

(Big Fat Takeaway)

If you’re trying to make a big decision—whether it’s moving to Portugal or something else—know what you really value in that decision.


This article written by

Jason Zook

I'm all about that Cinnamon Roll life (that just seemed like a "cool" way to say I love baking and eating cinnamon rolls). Also, I co-run this WAIM thing as well as Teachery. Currently, 75ish% completion of Tears of the Kingdom 🧝‍♀️⚔️.

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