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149 – We’re in Our NEW Home in Portugal!

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

149 – We’re in Our NEW Home in Portugal!

We share all our thoughts, feelings, and logistics of getting from the U.S. back to Portugal and accepting the keys to our new house.
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

Written by

Jason Zook

Listen to our full episode titled We’re in our NEW home in Portugal! below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.

Show Notes for Episode 149: We’re in our NEW home in Portugal!

If you love podcast episodes breaking down a big moment in life, well friends, this one is for you! We share all our thoughts, feelings, and logistics of getting from the U.S. back to Portugal and accepting the keys to our new house.

We’ll take you through the first morning after 3 days of travel, our initial emotions, what we’ve been experiencing right away, and then we’ll share some fun stories from our first shopping adventures and a funny/low moment trying to find a lunch restaurant in a new area.

We are so excited to be in our new place, but we’re also wrestling with so many conflicting thoughts as our brains still think we’re traveling and going to be on the move. Hope you enjoy us sharing everything from our first week in the Silver Coast of Portugal.

As always, thank you for listening and if you have any questions about moving to Portugal you want us to answer shoot us an email.

Timeshifter App:

Some photos from our first week:

Full Transcript of Episode 149: We’re in our NEW home in Portugal!

⬇️ 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’re your host, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring 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: Hi.

Jason: Bom dia.

Caroline: Bom dia.

Jason: Hello and welcome to the very first episode of our podcast.

Caroline: In which we are recording from our…

Both: New home.

Caroline: In Portugal.

Jason: Wow.

Caroline: Wow.

Jason: Okay.

Caroline: Okay. What a week and a half, sir. Where do we begin?

Jason: We’re just going to skip the pramble. We’re going to just like, jump right into life.

Caroline: The entire episode is a pramble.

Jason: It’s basically a pramble.

Caroline: It’s basically a pramble.

Jason: First of all, just how does it feel? Okay, let’s just start right here. This is not our forever podcasting set up right now.

Caroline: It’s not?

Jason: No, ma’am, no.

Caroline: No, ma’am.

Jason: First of all, I would love, now that we have a home again.

Caroline: We do have a home.

Jason: I would love a dedicated space.

Caroline: You want a studio.

Jason: Where I can have a little bit of sound, acoustic stuff taken care of.

Caroline: I can be convinced.

Jason: This echo, echo. Hello, hello, hello. It’s going to drive me insane. And I know four people listening to this will also be driven insane. But also, we’re in a home now, and this is part of what we’re going to talk about is like, buying stuff and how guilty that feels and how it feels weird to own things again. I really want good podcasting microphones again.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: That I can set up and we can…

Caroline: I feel like you brought me here to this podcast episode to try to convince me to buy things. Is this what’s happening? Because this is the first time hearing about new microphones.

Jason: Oh, that’s not true. This is not the first time. This is not the first time.

Caroline: Not the microphones, but the studio is definitely the first I’ve heard this.

Jason: Maybe, we’ll see. Anyway, I just want a podcast studio.

Caroline: Okay. Thank you for sharing that, everyone’s super glad that you brought that up and that you brought us here today to tell us that.

Jason: Okay, great. Now let’s move forward to talk about the actual most important things.

Caroline: The most important things are we have had a wild week.

Jason: Yes.

Caroline: And we’re going to share it all with you, listeners, because some of you might be curious about, well, how does it feel to move into a new home in a completely different country? And to be ending our travel adventures, basically.

Jason: This is very true.

Caroline: It’s not totally ending travel adventures. We still have some travel that we’ll do through the end of the year. But as far as full time travel.

Jason: Going to new countries.

Caroline: Going to new countries and just like being on that adventure, it’s kind of a closing of a chapter.

Jason: Which was also really nice for my particular heart that the 300th day of this year of traveling was the day that we essentially finished our travel journey.

Caroline: Right. So Jason, just for those of you who are now tuning in, Jason loves tidy things, and his brain loves a tidy calendar, a round number.

Jason: A clean butt.

Caroline: A clean butt. Just clean, okay. And so he really had this idea of wanting to travel for a full year that felt really good to your brain. And when it became clear that we were not going to be traveling for all of 2022 because we found this place and we wanted to move to Portugal and whatever, I could tell you he was disappointed that it wasn’t going to be like a full, clean butt year. And so then when you discovered…

Jason: By happenstance, it wasn’t even by careful planning.

Caroline: By happenstance, that our travel adventure lasted exactly 300 days.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Wow, what a day for you.

Jason: It felt good.

Caroline: I know it did.

Jason: It felt good. It felt like my mind was like, oh, that’s such a bummer to like, oh, okay, I don’t mind. Kinda fell into this.

Caroline: So we traveled for 300 days.

Jason: I think we’ll definitely do an episode, by the way, for those of you who are like, oh, are you going to wrap up the travels and share with us?

Caroline: Yes.

Jason: I think we have a couple of episodes coming through the end of the year here as we’re recording to kind of, like, round out the year of travel, share some of our highs, some of our lows, favorite stories, favorite places, favorite meals.

Caroline: Those will be really good episodes for those of you who kind of, like, maybe hopped in halfway during the trip and were like, or missed some episodes.

Jason: You halfway hoppers.

Caroline: You halfway hoppers. You missed some episodes, and so you’ll just be able to catch up the whole thing. But this episode is going to be all about just sharing the experience of getting here and moving into our rental house and buying a couple of things again.

Jason: Yeah, I definitely want to talk about some of the firsts. I want to talk about some of the moments of getting to a new place.

Caroline: And I obviously want to talk about the feelings and the emotions.

Jason: Obviously. Yeah. And I do want to share, I think, just some of because this is the content that I would want to listen to is like, you plan for this thing. What does it feel when you actually get there? Like, to a finish line? It’s not the finish line, but just like, we made it to a finish line of some sort here.

Caroline: Yes, and I think people can relate. You don’t have to be moving to an entirely new country to relate to this feeling of you’ve been looking forward to something for months. You’ve had this sort of, as Jason just said, finish line out in the horizon in front of you, and then you get there and how does the reality match up to the expectation you’ve had for months at this point? So we’ll talk about that. But first, do you want to share just like, chronologically what it took to get back to Portugal?

Jason: It was a Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. and I loaded up the car with all of my things and I hopped on Route 64 East and I had to pick up my wife in the lovely hills of North Carolina. As silly as that sounds, that’s exactly what happened.

Caroline: That’s what you did. So I had a girls weekend with my college girlfriends, and we tried to do this trip once a year since graduating college. We weren’t able to during COVID years. This is the first trip where the six of us were able to get together and no children, because they all have children. And so it was just the moms and me. And it was so fun and it was so necessary and so needed. And it just worked out that we were going to be back in the United States to do our visa stuff at almost the same time that they had been planning this trip, because they thought I wasn’t going to be able to be there because I was traveling. And it all just worked out so great.

Jason: It was very nice.

Caroline: We had a great time. So we were all staying at a house in this area called Sapphire Valley of North Carolina. Jason had an Airbnb… Half hour down the road.

Jason: Near Ashville.

Caroline: And so then on Sunday, when they were all going to drive back to Atlanta to fly home to their respective places, Jason, I hopped in the car and Jason and I also were driving to Atlanta. And so that was Sunday.

Jason: Very quick. We’ll just give a couple of little anecdotes as we go along here, because I do think it’s interesting to share. How did you feel driving on the highway in the US versus all the highways we’ve driven on in Europe for the past ten months?

Caroline: That’s a great question. So we haven’t really talked that much about reverse culture shock, but this is often a thing. If you leave the United States, you obviously are going to have culture shock going to new countries that you’ve never been to before, and things are different and customs are different, blah, blah. But you might not have heard that there’s also a thing called reverse culture shock where if you’ve spent time out of the United States, you come back to your home country, really any country, I would imagine, you come back to your home country and sort of things that you have gotten used to not having, you’re sort of shocked all over again, and you have new context for those things. And one of those things is driving in the United States.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: So we often talked about driving, a, because I have driving anxiety, and b, I just think it’s fascinating how different countries have different driving etiquette. One of the scariest places we have driven all year is Italy.

Jason: For sure.

Caroline: It was terrifying. I’ve even heard that people say that people drive quite fast in Portugal, and that is true, but I find so far, we have found that Portuguese drivers are very good drivers and the roads are so nice that like there’s plenty of room.

Jason: Italy. The thing about Italy, for those of you who didn’t hear us talk about this, the scariest part about driving in Italy is you’re on a two-lane road.

Caroline: Yes.

Jason: One lane going one direction, one lane going in another direction, and a car will pass in the middle.

Caroline: In the middle of two other cars.

Jason: When oncoming traffic is coming and your traffic is going.

Caroline: Yes. They will go three wide to pass.

Jason: In a two-lane highway. And it’s not…

Caroline: And it’s terrifying.

Jason: And it’s not like they’re just passing around the car before a car. No, they’re passing while a car is passing them.

Caroline: They will also drive in between two lanes on the freeway.

Jason: The Italian slide.

Caroline: The Italian slide.

Jason: That’s what we called it.

Caroline: I would be like, oh, they’re changing lanes. Not a blinker. They just want to be in two lanes.

Jason: It’s a very aggressive driving culture. As emotional as you know as Italians are, if any of you have ever been to Italy and you’ve heard the conversation like, oh, are they fighting? It’s like, no, they’re just emotional. They bring those emotions right into the car.

Caroline: Right into the car.

Jason: Their Fiat.

Caroline: So that’s Italy. But what’s interesting is, going back to the States, people are… I just feel like there’s not a consistent driving custom. So, like, for example, something you’ll notice is a lot of people do not move over.

Jason: So you’re…

Caroline: Or they’ll be slow in the left lane or fast in the right lane, and there’s no rhyme or reason.

Jason: In Europe, you are taught, every single country we’ve been to, get out of the fast lane.

Caroline: If you’re not going to go fast.

Jason: Whether you’re driving on the left side of the road and it’s the right lane, or whether you’re driving the right side of the road, the left lane, you are moving out of that fast lane.

Caroline: And really, the fast lane is for passing, too.

Jason: It’s for passing. It’s for everyone to get going where they’re going.

Caroline: There’s an orderliness to it.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: In the States, there is not an orderliness to it.

Jason: My lane is my lane. It’s like, whatever lane I want to be in it is, I own it.

Caroline: And we had a few kind of very scary run-ins when we were driving in the States of people just, like, coming…

Jason: Just wild driving.

Caroline: Out of nowhere.

Jason: Yeah, wildly aggressive driving.

Caroline: And being idiots. And so, anyway.

Jason: There’s a difference between the uncomfortability of watching someone in a Fiat 500 pass another Fiat 500 in the middle lane of oncoming traffic in Italy. That’s uncomfortable, but everyone’s kind of in that together and they know what’s happening. As much as we’re like, what is going on? This is terrible. And there’s a difference to driving on, like, a six-lane highway in the US and someone’s doing 120 miles an hour and passing people on the shoulder.

Caroline: Fast and Furious style.

Jason: And, like, no blinkers, and just like, six lanes. And you would think it’s like, oh, it’s just one person. It’s not. We saw it many times. And so I just bring it up because I think, even for us, as we were coming over to Europe and we were scared to drive on the roads we’ve never driven on. It felt so orderly and organized, with exception to Italy, in all the places that we drove. And never once did I feel super unsafe driving, as uncomfortable as it was even to switch sides of the road. It felt so unsafe being back in the US on those roads. And I’m not trying to paint it as the whole picture, but again, like you said, it’s a reverse culture shock. It’s just a different driving style that’s going on.

Caroline: Yeah. So I was very glad when we made the two and a half… what was it?

Jason: 3 hours.

Caroline: 3 hours to Atlanta. And when we arrived in Atlanta, I was like, Whoo. Because that was a stressful drive for me, one of the most stressful the entire year. Truly.

Jason: Yeah. That’s why I wanted to bring it up, because it’s like, we drove in so many countries this year, and we sat in Ubers and taxis and things in so many countries, and never once did I feel as uncomfortable as I did being back on those roads. And I’m sure you get used to it like anything else, right? It’s just like, oh, yeah, I’m a person who drives slower, I’m just going to move over to the right lane and like, let everybody get crazy.

Caroline: Yeah, we just weren’t used to it.

Jason: Yeah. We hunkered down at an airport hotel at the Atlanta airport. So the idea was drive 3 hours, just stay the night at an airport hotel.

Caroline: So here’s what I want to share about that. I know you were about to go through the whole thing, but I want to kind of preface this by saying one of the things we’ve learned this year, and I know a lot of you listening listen to this because you are… relate to me in that you maybe have anxiety or you’re a highly sensitive person or even you have any health issues or things like that because you write into us. And I know that a lot of you deal with some of the struggles that I deal with as well. And something that we’ve learned this year is like, don’t try to pretend you’re someone you’re not when it comes to traveling. And so for me, that means understand what my limitations are and don’t try to be a hero. Meaning, we knew that we had to get from Atlanta to Boston and Boston to Lisbon. That was our tra… Right? From Sapphire Valley to Atlanta. Atlanta to Boston. Boston to Lisbon. That’s what our route was to get back to Lisbon.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: A lot of my friends, they drove from Sapphire to Atlanta. They got right on a plane. They flew home to their places that they live. And they can do that in one day, no problem. And they can go to work the next day. That is not me. And so I need to know that about myself. And so when we were deciding how to get over here, my biggest thing was that time change and overnight flight from Boston to Lisbon is probably going to be the hardest part of the whole thing. And so I need to be able to be in my most strong mental fortitude for that. And so we just said, let’s take our time. So what we did was we said we’re going to do one day for driving Sapphire Valley to Atlanta. We’re going to spend the night in a hotel that night. The next day we’re going to fly from Atlanta to Boston. It’s only like a two-hour flight.

Jason: Two and a half hour flight.

Caroline: Two and a half hour flight. And we’re going to spend the night at a hotel then as well. Then the next day, we’re going to fly overnight from Boston to Lisbon. So it was like a three and a half day…

Jason: Adventure.

Caroline: Travel thing. And I know for most people, they’re like, well, I just don’t have that time. And I totally understand that, and you make it work, but we do have the flexibility in our schedule and we do have the time. And so we chose to make it easy on me, and it was, like, the best decision.

Jason: Yeah. And I think one of the other things here is to see, like, where are you in your life when you’re planning this set of travel? So we’re moving into our brand new home after eleven months of full time travel. Let’s set ourselves up for success.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: We’re already going to be tired flying an overnight flight from Boston to Lisbon. Let’s not cram a bunch of things right ahead of that. Let’s space it out a little bit so that when we arrive, we’re still going to be tired, but we’re not going to be as tired as we would have been.

Caroline: Like, run own.

Jason: And so that, I think, is why we were so easily able to move into enjoying our new place, which we’ll get to. I promise we’re going to get to it. But yeah. So anyway, we got to Atlanta. We stayed at an airport hotel. We then took a flight to Boston the next day. We were able to just to walk through the Boston Airport to the hotel that was connected. That worked out absolutely perfectly. Actually, the hotel had, like, a beautiful view of downtown Boston and the harbor.

Caroline: Well, probably because we’ll be flying back into Boston a lot, I think we’ll probably stay at that hotel going forward.

Jason: Maybe frequent visitors, maybe they can just lock in a room for us that we like. We’ll just try a couple. And the reason why we chose Boston, because we basically could have flown out from anywhere to come back to Lisbon this specific time is the flight from Boston to Lisbon is one of the shortest.

Caroline: Yes.

Jason: So it helps us if we’re people who can travel for two days to get back over across the Atlantic Ocean. Well, let’s choose the shortest leg for that final overnight flight. And so the flight was… so we’re at the Boston Hotel. We spend the whole day, and then we board our plane at the 6:00 p.m. departure, which is always just bizarre to be getting on a plane at night knowing you’re going to be flying overnight. And the captain pops on as we’re boarded. We’re seated, we’re getting ready, we’re hunkered down, and what does he say?

Caroline: So just to give you an idea, I’m thinking this flight is going to be 7 hours.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: It was eight coming over.

Jason: It’s always slower coming over from Europe to the US.

Caroline: But the flight said 7 hours. So I’m like, okay, 7 hours. 7 hours. And I set… this is a little life hack for those of you who don’t like flying. I set a timer on my Apple Watch for halfway so that I have, like, a little mini… so I’m like, okay, three and a half. If I can do three and a half, then I can do another three and a half, and I’ll be fine. He comes on and he’s like, (indistinct sound)… We’ll be catching a mighty tailwind going over. So making our flight time five and a half hours.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: I am like the travel gods have smiled upon me. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but I’m so happy. So a seven-hour flight turned into a five and a half-hour flight, which, by the way, is pretty much what we used to fly from California to Florida was like a five and a half-hour flight at certain times. I can’t remember if it was one way or the other, but anyway.

Jason: Yeah, one way was slower, and sometimes you would hit wind and it would slow you down.

Caroline: But like, what, five and a half hours? So anyway, I was elated, and the flight overall was pretty good. I do not like overnight flights because I can’t sleep, but I’m practicing working on that. So my personal win was I did shut my eyes for like, 45 minutes. I did not sleep, but I was able to shut my eyes. I’m not kidding you. Until this year, I have never been able to close my eyes on an airplane. I have not been able to close my eyes on an airplane, let me repeat that, without getting these jolts of adrenaline. And I don’t know what that is, but I guess I’ve worked through it. So that was a big win for me. And we arrived at about 5:00 a.m., and we had rented a car. For those of you like, what are you doing for a car? For this little stint, we’re only going to be here for about six weeks before we go back for Christmas. We’re renting a car, and then we’re going to figure out what to do for a more long term option when we get… actually, we’re figuring it out right now. And so that’ll be set up for January.

Jason: So I’ll pick up. We were following the advice of the Timeshifter app, which I’ll leave a link to in the show notes.

Caroline: It is a paid app, but it worked for us.

Jason: Yeah. And it’s just helpful. It’s not like groundbreaking information, but it’s just helpful for when you should stop getting natural light, when you should try and go to sleep, like, the night before you’re leaving, when you’re doing an overnight flight, how much you should try and sleep, when you should start drinking coffee again. It just really helps. And for us, we basically had no jet lag from this.

Caroline: Almost no jet lag, which is unbelievable.

Jason: Which is fantastic. And when we came over from Europe to the US, we also followed Timeshifter, and again, basically had no jet lag as well. So not saying it’s a cure all, and it has, like, all the most amazing things ever, but it really did work for us. So when we landed, we went through customs, we got our bags, and we immediately had a coffee at the airport. Yeah.

Caroline: Because it told us to.

Jason: Yeah. Then we got our rental car and we had to play the rental car game, which is just frustrating at 6:00 a.m. Would you like to share?

Caroline: I would just like a small rant.

Jason: Yeah, sure. We’re not big complainers about this, but I think rental car companies really kind of bother you sometimes.

Caroline: We have had really good luck with rental cars this year, but this is the first time we get there, we’ve paid for a thing and they go, oh, sorry, we don’t have a car in that category available. But we have these other ones and okay, that’s a little disappointing, right? They don’t have the car you promised. But I’m thinking to myself, surely he means they have these other cars available and for the same price. Surely, he means that, right? And suddenly I’m picking up between Jason and him communicating that, no, we would have to pay extra for these cars that they have available. So it’s either the options are, and by the way, this is not just like, I want a fancy car. This is, I don’t feel safe when I’m in a car on the freeway, especially going at the speeds that you go at in Portugal, where you can feel… any of you all who have been in cars that you can feel the wind.

Jason: And you have driving anxiety. And so there’s a big difference…

Caroline: I have driving anxiety and there’s a lot of sweeping turns in Portugal, and I just need to feel a car that’s, like, close to the ground that handles well, right?

Jason: This is why we need the largest Mercedes they have with a driver at all times. Just kidding. Honestly, we wanted a mid-sized car, like a little hatchback, like a BMW hatchback or a Mercedes hatchback, a Volvo hatchback. That’s like the most popular car in Europe. It’s not even super fancy.

Caroline: Right. So I’m starting to pick up in the context that he means, either we can have a much less, like, stick…

Jason: Cardboard hatchback with wheels on it.

Caroline: That for a lesser price, or a nicer car, and we have to pay extra. And it just boggles my mind because it’s like, I understand you have a fleet and you can’t control when you have what cars are… Although I’m like, if people are booking, you should know what cars you have. Anyway, it just made me really, like, I definitely did not show my dissatisfaction, because, first of all, it’s not that guy’s fault, right? And I don’t want to be one of those people who’s like, you told me this, I’m not doing that. But inside, I was a little bit like, that’s just a bad experience. You pay for a thing and you say that that thing is going to be available, and then you get there and they go, we don’t have this thing. But you have to picture for this thing to get anywhere close to this thing that you’ve bought. I’m like, This has to be a better way.

Jason: I think the big takeaway for me from this experience is one of the options that’s been out there for us in living here full time, especially when we come back in January and we’re going to be here for the full year, moving forward. We’re trying to figure out what to do because we really don’t want to buy a car because we don’t know if we’re going to be here for more than a year. That’s the plan, but we’ll see how it goes. One option would be to just keep renting cars over and over and just, like, go and return them and switch them out. And I think this experience right at arriving proved that we’re not going to do that.

Caroline: We’re not going to do that.

Jason: Because there’s so much unknown and there’s so much inflexibility to the amount of money that you’ll pay. Like, you might show up, and it’s like, okay, well, all we have available are, like, a Volkswagen Golf, which there’s nothing wrong with the Volkswagen Golf, but it’s like you wouldn’t feel safe because of the size of the car, and it feels like it’ll get blown away on a highway at times.

Caroline: And it does get windy.

Jason: We also don’t want to get in a position where it’s like, you have to pay $400 extra for these three weeks or whatever. So anyway, all that to share.

Caroline: We don’t go on little rants that often, but that’s the one that I had to share.

Jason: It’s just to share, too, that there’s always these little moments that interrupt the perfect idea of…

Caroline: Totally.

Jason: We’re moving to Portugal. We’re moving into our home.

Caroline: It’s so dreamy.

Jason: And you arrive at 6:00 a.m., and you have a rental car scuffle that you have to get into. Now, thankfully, when we got to the garage, the guy who inspected our car was like, hey, this one has a cracked rim. And I’m not going to give it to you because it’s going to potentially be an issue.

Caroline: Which made me feel happy.

Jason: I was like, well, that’s really nice that someone checked on that. Anyway, we had 3 hours to basically kill before we were able to meet the folks at the place to get the keys. So you scouted out…

Caroline: Keys to our new place, yeah.

Jason: You scouted out a very cute hotel that had a restaurant that was open pretty early in Ericeira, which is…

Caroline: Ericeira, I think.

Jason: Ericeira. We’ll see. We’ll figure it out.

Caroline: I think it’s E-I… Don’t know.

Jason: Yeah, neither of us know, right? So I think that’s a big part of what we’re learning this year too, of like pronouncing anything in the Portuguese language is going to take time. It’s going to take time.

Caroline: It’s fine. But I’m going to continue to call Ericeira.

Jason: Also, let’s just come back to Nazaré because no one in Portugal pronounces Nazaré, Nazaré, Nazaré the same.

Caroline: There’s this little kind of like… I want to say it’s like a cool little surf town that’s on the coast north of Lisbon, Ericeira. And I found this cool hotel that has a restaurant, OK. And it did say open for breakfast. So I thought we were going to have like a little sit down breakfast. So we walk in and I suddenly realized, oh, they don’t have sit down breakfast. They have a breakfast buffet like a normal hotel does. And my favorite part… but they’re like, yeah, you can just pay for the buffet. So we’re like, great. So we sit down and then all of a sudden we see people trickling in and they’re all wearing the same, like, tshirt with a logo on it. And I suddenly realized that literally a startup company has rented out this hotel for some type of company retreat. And Jason and I are just sitting at a two top amidst everyone with them looking at us like, do they work at this company?

Jason: Yeah, there’s just like 25 people who are at this company retreat. And then it’s just the two of us.

Caroline: And it was really funny. Everyone was looking at us. But I don’t care. I had great coffee, some good little breakfast items.

Jason: It’s also hilarious. For three weeks we were in the US and we ate breakfast out a few times. And we got used to very quickly that you sit down, you have a menu, you order things. And in Europe, most of the times, breakfast is like a buffet at places. It’s like a simple buffet and you just go and get stuff. And so it was just funny going from ordering on a menu and then going back to buffet life in a hotel. It’s just a weird thing. Anyway, moving on. So we had our cute little breakfast.

Caroline: I don’t know that that’s a difference between America and Europe, just because there’s plenty of places in America that have breakfast buffets. And there’s plenty of places in Europe that have breakfast.

Jason: You’ve been doing sizzler breakfast buffets?

Caroline: Sit downs, but I will take that as in your experience.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And then so we ate breakfast. We were grateful to have just a hot little breakfast. And it was a gorgeous hotel. We were like, we should come back to this place for a sit down dinner, and got back on the road, and it was just perfect timing. And we loved the drive up was just as beautiful as we remember. The further you get away from Lisbon. Lisbon is sort of like what you imagine. It’s a big city, and so things are hectic around there. The exits and all the ways that the roads converge is kind of hectic. There’s lots of stores and things like that, but as soon as you get, like, ten minutes away from there, everything just kind of stretches out and opens up, and you just see nature. And during the drive, it was right when the sun was rising, and so we just had these beautiful views of. It was all the things that we remember loving about Portugal when we came in August. Gorgeous scenery, beautiful nature. This, like, fog mist that the Silver Coast is known for. So that made me really happy. And then we literally arrived at our neighborhood, like, five minutes before nine.

Jason: Love it. It’s another clean butt moment. It’s just like, in my mind, it’s just like, oh, we are here on time. So, yeah, we pulled up, we parked. We just kind of, like, sat for a moment, and then we met the folks who basically in this development where we are living, there are 60 homes. I looked it up.

Caroline: It’s like a little community. It’s not gated per se, but it definitely is like a little enclave. It’s definitely, like, kind of separate from the main road.

Jason: Yeah. And there’s a couple of little areas, and so we’re in one of the little areas. So we met the folks, and they said, we’ll drive over and we’ll meet you at the place, and we’ll do a little walkthrough and all the things. So this is where you’re like a kid and you’re going downstairs and you’re getting your Christmas presents, and you’re, like, pulling them into your little area, and you’re getting ready to open them. So we parked in front of our home, which we’re renting, if that wasn’t fully clear. We are renting. We’re not buying. One of the amazing pluses of this place that we found is it is fully furnished.

Caroline: Fully furnished.

Jason: Which is just so helpful when you’re…

Caroline: Including, like, art on the walls.

Jason: Art on the walls.

Caroline: Not too much, but, like.

Jason: Silverware in the drawers. We are buying some things, which will get to buying things, but it is so nice to not have to make big purchases and also have to navigate them. I was also texting with our good friend, Jen, and she was like, oh, if I was moving over there, I would get sucked into some real good Scandinavian furniture real quick. And I was like, yeah, we would have had trouble because there’s so many good options. But we didn’t have to make any of those choices because this place came with all the things we would need. So we started doing the walk through. So basically, we went through, like, every room of the house, and they were showing us.

Caroline: I thought that was so nice. They show us, like, okay, what to do if you need to shut off the water, or where the fire extinguishers are.

Jason: All the fuse panels.

Caroline: The fuse panels, yeah, everything you need to know about how does this house work.

Jason: Yeah. And they showed us where the meters are. They told us when just things would be happening around the neighborhood and whatnot. And I love that there’s, like, an inventory sheet that we had to sign off on, like, the amount of linens. I don’t know why, but apparently maybe some people steal some linens around here. They’re hot item. But yeah, so we finished that, we signed a little piece of paper, they handed us our keys, they left. And then we just got to have this moment where all of our stuff is still sitting in our rental car, but we’re just standing in this home, looking around and being like, we live here now.

Caroline: It was such a weird feeling because the last time we had been here was when we were thinking about moving here, and it still felt very, like, model home-y. And so it was like this weird moment of your brain being like it’s sort of like that dream of when you’re a kid, of like, that you get left in a Walmart or something, and they lock the doors and you’re like…

Jason: I own this Walmart now.

Caroline: Yeah, exactly. I live here now. I don’t know, it was like that feeling where you’re like, it doesn’t feel like my home yet, but they just left and now I’m here.

Jason: And the keys and, yeah, I think some of the initial feelings that… I mean, especially for me, and I know you want to share all of your feelings, but…

Caroline: Me? Feelings? No.

Jason: It’s this weird thing where we brought our bags in, we started to unpack. Also, just a reminder, like, we just did an overnight flight, so we’re not fully with it.

Caroline: Oh, I’m delirious.

Jason: But it’s this idea of, in my brain, I’m like, okay, we’re going to be here for two weeks, and then we’re going to leave and we’re going to move on to somewhere else. But I kept having to tell my brain, like, no take in the view of the balcony, and that’s where we’re going to be for six weeks, and we’ll take a little break, then we’ll come back and be here for a year. And this is, like, our home now. And it was just like this really weird juxtaposition of fighting my brain of, we’re going to leave. Don’t unpack, don’t get too comfortable. We’re going to be on the move to be like, no, this is where we’re going to be. And it’s just like a very interesting, kind of like, battle in my brain.

Caroline: Yeah, my overwhelming feeling those first probably two days were just this weird, surreal feeling because going back to what we were saying when we started, you’ve been dreaming of this moment. You’ve made this big decision. You’ve been anticipating how it will feel when finally you’re in one place and you’re in. I’ve been watching our walkthrough video of this place, reminding myself of what I’m excited about. And then when your physical body is here, it’s this weird mismatch where you go. Your brain doesn’t yet know how to match up the fact that this is your reality. And that surreal feeling is very strange. It feels like you can’t quite connect to your reality. But I just knew that’s how it was going to feel. So I was very much prepared for that feeling. And even just now, what are we, like five days in or whatever? It feels much more like grounded in reality now. But for those first few days I was like, yep, this is just how it’s going to feel. It’s going to feel like this isn’t ours. It’s going to feel like this isn’t my life. It’s going to feel like, what am I doing here? And I just sort of told myself, just give it time and you will start to feel more at home. But that was a really weird feeling. Another unexpected weird feeling that I don’t know if I’m going to explain this correctly and probably no one will be able to relate, but I just wanted to share it is that after I took a nap, because Timeshifter told us to.

Jason: I also took a nap, which I never do.

Caroline: We napped and that was actually very smart. So we took about three-hour nap, got up around noon, and then we could do stuff like go to the grocery store or whatever. But later that night, I was able to actually unpack my suitcases. I was so looking forward to putting things in drawers and putting things in the closet, whatever. And I did that and all of a sudden I had this very weird, vulnerable feeling like I had just given all my things away. It felt strange to spread them out. And I think it’s because after, you know, eleven months of only having everything that you own, like basically on your back every few weeks because every time we travel to a new place, you put all your things together again. You can see them in three bags. I wear the bags on my physical body and I just sort of have my things with me at all times. And so spreading them out into closets and drawers and all over the house felt so vulnerable and so weird. And I kept telling Jason I feel like I’m a turtle without my shell. I just feel very mushy and very unprotected and very, like, just unanchored. And it was just a strange, strange feeling. And I felt much better the day after. But I don’t know, it’s just when I went to bed that night, it felt like someone was going to come in and take all my things from me, which is weird.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: So that was unexpected. But then yeah, so that was like kind of our first night. It felt really good. We watched our first sunset. We had a little bottle of wine because we went to the grocery store. And then surprisingly, by Friday, so basically our first full day was Thursday. So we just kind of like…

Jason: Yeah, just like relaxed. Took it in and made a salad, made some dinner, and…

Caroline: Trying to take inventory of like, what do we need?

Jason: Those linens. We made sure we had the linens.

Caroline: What do we need? And then by Friday, we felt good enough to actually… it became clear, like, this place is furnished and it’s great. There are a few things that we needed to kind of, like make it more a home for us and functional for us. And so we made a list and then we decided to go on a great adventure on Friday.

Jason: A great shopping adventure.

Caroline: A great shopping adventure, starting with the keystone of every moving trip.

Jason: Ikea.

Caroline: Ikea.

Jason: For those of you who are curious, what is shopping like in Portugal? So where we live, which is a little beach town, you’re not going to find too much stuff, but that’s kind of the same thing like where we lived in California, there wasn’t that much right around us. But just a 45-minute drive down the road, there’s an Ikea right next to that. There are like 15 different home goods stores that we could go to. We ended up going to four of them in total, including Ikea. So we made a list of the things that we kind of needed and wanted, the biggest items being standing desks. So we actually bought two of the standing desks that you used to have, which is just a little manual hand crank one. And it’s not that big of a desk. Like, I had kind of the oversized motorized standing desk for five years, and that desk was fantastic. But we ended up just buying the little hand crank ones. And we found this little nook in our living room. And we have like a living dining kitchen open concept. And we like to put our desks in the living space.

Caroline: Because the living space typically has the best view. And we work… a lot.

Jason: And I know a lot of people, when working from home, and as so many of us got to do in the past couple of years that maybe hadn’t done it before, you want to have separation of work in your living space. And so it totally makes sense when folks don’t want to do that. But I think for us, because we’ve been doing this, me for 17 years now, you for 15 years or whatever, it’s 20 years, 30 years. There’s not a lot of separation that we need from work and life. Like, they blend so closely together that we don’t mind having our desk totally in that space. So anyway, standing desks were the big item. There were a bunch of little kitchen items. You had a lot of organization items that you wanted to get.

Caroline: Yes. Because the closets are just basically shelves and racks. So I wanted some little felt cubbies to separate items. So that’s what Ikea is great for.

Jason: Yeah. So we did the Ikea trip, the adult amusement park that is Ikea. We made it through in 2 hours. I don’t know if that’s a good time or not. I think it’s a pretty good time. I know that I did the record time of eleven minutes in Ikea once.

Caroline: Wow.

Jason: Because I didn’t even go through the showroom. I went straight into the delivery area. I knew the rack to buy the thing. I bought it. I was in and out. It was a world record. I still have the ribbon. Thank you so much. But we did Ikea. Then we had three other home goods stores that were in like, a little shopping center that we were going to go to. But we ran into our first kind of low moment of the trip.

Caroline: Yeah, well, it wasn’t even that low of a moment, but I just share it because this is a great example of how sometimes the tiniest thing that you don’t expect, the tiniest curveball when you’re already depleted, can just send you into a tailspin. So we had been to Ikea. It’s 2 hours. By the way, Ikea is honestly the worst thing for my eye condition that you could possibly do, because you’re having this… anyway, you’re turning, you’re scanning. So I was already like, a little dizzy from looking, a little tired because it’s just a lot of decisions and things like that. Then we had this whole snafu with the click and collect because it’s hard. We don’t know, like, the customs yet, so we’re doing self checkout. There’s a little bit of a language barrier with someone asking us questions. Then the click and collect, you have to like for the desks that we got, you by the legs, but then you have to go collect the tabletops or whatever. So we have to navigate all of that. We go to the click and collect area. We don’t know what we’re doing. We finally ask somebody. Anyway. So I just want to share all of that to know, like, we’ve already been in like, a little bit of a hurdle, right?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Then we get in the car and I told Jason, I’m like, I’m starting to get a little hangry. And he’s like, oh.

Jason: Which we brought snack bars on the way, which we ate, which was great, had we not had those, oof, meltdown.

Caroline: I’m like, I think we need to go to lunch before we go to the other stores. But we hadn’t picked out a lunch spot, which was our mistake, because if you’re going to do errands like a bunch of errands in a place that you don’t know, just do yourself a favor and do some research ahead of time.

Jason: Especially in a foreign country.

Caroline: Where you’re going to eat. So I’m on Google Maps. I’m trying to make a decision about where to eat. I don’t know. Nothing is, like, really tickling my fancy. Finally, I see this sit down restaurant. It’s five minutes away. I’m like, this is the place.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Seems good. Okay, we get there. First we pull in, and there’s the tiniest parking lot with just cars everywhere. Cars everywhere. And I’m like, I don’t know where we’re going to park. Then we see another lot that has, like, a gate to it for the restaurant next door, which seems like you can park there. And we were like, we’ll figure out how to pay for it. So we go into the lot. I feel good about that. We figure out where to park. Now we’ve traversed this other hurdle. Then we turn the corner to go to walk to where the restaurant is on the map, and it’s a totally different restaurant. It’s kind of called the same thing, but not really. The place I was looking at was like this, like, sit down thing where we could just sit down, relax for a little bit. This instead is like a fast casual place, and there’s people coming in and out, and I don’t know how to order, and I don’t know what to order. And it totally threw me because it was not what I expected. And I just was already at such a…

Jason: Depleted place.

Caroline: Depleted place. And y’all, you would have thought that someone had just, like just the worst thing had happened. Tears start to well up in my eyes. I still can’t figure out what it was. I think it was just my brain froze. It was something I didn’t expect. I was depleted. And so tears start to well up, and I had that moment of, like, all I want is something easy and comfortable. And I’m in this place that is anything but easy and comfortable. And I just had this moment, though, where I think this is what personal growth feels like. Because in the past, that would have like, my brain would have said, I’m done with this day. Take me back to my comfort zone. Take me back home. We’ll come back out another day. But I had this moment where I was like, this is it, caroline. These are the moments that you have told yourself to come to expect. Ask yourself, are you okay right now? And I was like, I’m okay. I’m just at a fast casual restaurant instead of the sitdown restaurant. It’s not that big of a deal. And I can figure this out. We’ll figure out the parking, we’ll figure out what to order, we’ll figure out everything. It’ll be okay. And so it’s not like I was shutting down my emotion. I was like, letting myself have a moment, but I was sort of like, I’m not going to let this emotion take over. And so I just sort of like, sniffled my little ear back into my eye and I was like, okay. And thankfully, I did have Jason. And in those moments I looked at him because he’s very unfazed by these things, and he was like, let’s just figure out what to order.

Jason: Like, I think the good thing about that place, it would have been a completely different scenario had no one been there.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: I’d have been like, oh, this is not a good place.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: But it was busy, so I was like, oh no, people like this food, so we just need to translate the menu and order some stuff. And I think that this is one of those moments where it’s our first one that we’ve had living here and living in a foreign country and like being out of our… way out of our comfort zone. And I know we’re going to have more of these as the year goes on, but the way that my brain thinks about it is like, yes, but let’s even call it once a month that this happens for twelve months. Those twelve uncomfortable moments, it may be more than that. Those do not get outweighed by the amazing, fantastic moments of where we live.

Caroline: Totally.

Jason: And I think that that for the big picture of why move to a new country? Why move out of your comfort zone where you speak the language? Why move to a completely foreign area? It’s because it feels so good in the home that we’ve chosen and in the neighborhood, in the area that those tough moments, while they suck, they’re outweighed by the rest of it.

Caroline: And maybe this is just the way that I view life, but even if it’s uncomfortable in the moment, I can zoom out later on to the big picture and go, you don’t gain any resilience by not putting yourself in those moments. You don’t test your ability to handle curveballs until you get thrown a curveball. And so it’s like, to me, navigating through that moment successfully is not that you never feel the discomfort at all, or that you don’t cry, or that you don’t feel panic, or you don’t feel like, I want to go home. Success through that discomfort is not that it never happens at all. It’s that you go, I’m not going to let this shut me down. I’m not going to let this make up a story in my head about how I wish I wouldn’t have made this move. You know what I mean? And to me that’s the way you build resilience is you have to test yourself in those moments. And so we ordered food. It was delicious. I ordered chicken wings, and they were really good. And I got to gather myself, and we still went to three more stores.

Jason: Yeah, well, what I was going to say, I think an interesting metaphor for just, like, how you have changed this year, and maybe we’ll do a whole episode on how you’ve shifted this year is like, when we would have run into these situations before, it would have been like a Florida monsoon thunderstorm situation. And it’s just like, again, like you said, the day is over. We just can’t do anything else. Now, it’s a drizzle.

Caroline: It’s a drizzle.

Jason: It hits you. It’s a bummer. Like, oh, this is an inconvenience, but I can move past this. Like, it’s just a drizzle. It’s going to clear up in a minute. And I think that’s the awesome thing that I’ve seen this year is like, when the year started, one of these things hit you. It’s like, okay, yeah, we just have to reset for a day. Like, we’re not doing anything the next day. And I totally understand, and there’s no judgment of you for that, but where we are now is like, oh, no, this doesn’t impede the rest of the day. This is like, I just need a few minutes to reset.

Caroline: Exactly. And that’s the important part. It’s not about judgment. No matter where anyone is in their ability to weather discomfort or move through it, there is no judgment of someone better or worse than doing that. It’s just for me personally, that is growth. That is something that I wanted to cultivate in my life, was being able to weather those things a little bit with a little bit of a quicker emotional turnaround. And the fact that I’m able to do that now is really great. So after our delicious lunch, we figured out parking.

Jason: Yeah, we figured out parking. We navigated it very thankfully, as we’ve just noticed, pretty much like all of our Portugal is English, is very spoken, very much spoken.

Caroline: Even if someone doesn’t know very much English, they know enough.

Jason: They know enough to tell you, like, oh, just go down to the end of the counter and they’ll help you validate your parking tickets.

Caroline: Which has been so helpful.

Jason: Anyway, we made the ten-minute drive over to the shopping center that had the three other home goods stores that we were going to go to. And really a lot of this was just to go to these stores to see what was there. It wasn’t necessarily like we had this long list and we were buying all these things, but we went to three other places, so we went to OMA, which is a lot like World Market for those of you who are from the US. So just like floor to ceiling stuff, but like, nice stuff.

Caroline: More decorative.

Jason: More decorative. Pretty big place. Then after that we went to Casa, which I would say is a little bit more upscale than World Market and much smaller, which kinda like…

Caroline: At least, this location was.

Jason: Yeah, just like nicer stuff. A lot of candles, huge candle sections.

Caroline: Huge candle selection.

Jason: Put Yankee Candle to shame. Not really Yankee Candles, a whole store, it’s kind of embarrassing. And then the last place was Espaço Casa, which is Space House, which is what that translates to. And that, my friends, is Bed, Bath & Beyond. It is enormous. They have inflatable pools, they have a full kitchen section with all the colors of all the ice cream scoops you could possibly want.

Caroline: They have kitchen utensils in every color way you could imagine.

Jason: Yeah, but then they also have a ton of fake plants. They have a ton of organizational stuff that you want.

Caroline: They have an entire Christmas Land.

Jason: Oh, Christmas Land.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: There’s a whole other thing. We haven’t decided we’re decorating for Christmas yet or not. But anyway, I just shared that because I think it would be interesting for those of you who are listening or like, oh, you go to this place. What are these? Like, those stores? You walk in there and you’re like, oh, this feels very familiar. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable even grabbing a couple of things and getting to the checkout counter and not speaking the same language as the other person. It’s very simple to go through the checkout process. We say thank you in Portuguese, obrigado for you, obrigado for me, you pay the bill. It’s very simple. And I think for going to four stores in a day, grabbing a bunch of random things here and there, to me it felt very successful by the end of the day. As tired as we were, 8 hours out of the house, driving an hour each way, navigating the low point of the restaurant situation. But we did it together and by the time that we got home, I think this is also a true testament of the resilience, is like, you didn’t even want to get home and just like sit on the couch and just rest. You’re like, I’m going to go organize some of my closet stuff.

Caroline: Yeah, I was really tired, but I was really excited to get organized.

Jason: Yes. And so I think that’s another big part of leading into one of our favorite things about this last week is like, setting stuff up. And I think for us, making things our own and finding a way. For me, organizing all my coffee supplies that arrived in the mail.

Caroline: There’s so much joy in it. And I think part of it is going a whole year without having dedicated space or things to certain activities. I just cannot even describe to you how the tiniest things bring me joy now. It’s like, oh, my gosh, like organizing our first aid kit or like our little medicine, our wellness kit into a drawer. The amount of dopamine that I was given just by organizing Band Aids is like beyond what you could imagine.

Jason: Yeah, especially getting to take the Band Aids out of the overfilled satchel and put them into a place where they live by themselves.

Caroline: We had this little what we call wellness kit and it’s just a pouch and it’s all of our, like, Pepto-Bismol and Tums and Advil and it’s like all the things that we would need while traveling, right? And it’s just lived in this disorganized pouch for an entire year. And it’s been so helpful but so messy. And to be able to separate them all so that I can see what all the little things are, I’m telling you, just really filled up my bucket.

Jason: We also had… what arrived when we got back, was sitting, waiting for us is there is Amazon in Portugal. It’s actually Amazon Spain and a lot of the ships from Amazon UK. So it’s actually a very nice thing. We don’t try to buy a ton of stuff on Amazon anymore, especially because we really broke the habit this entire year of travel.

Caroline: And we don’t want to pick it back up again. We want to try to fight the urge of convenience as much as possible because I do think it’s kind of a slippery slope. We know we got in… again, no judgment. When we lived in California, we definitely, during the pandemic, got into the Amazon thing. And it’s just like the amount of waste that goes into that, the amount of…

Jason: Everything.

Caroline: Ripple effects that goes into.

Jason: But the good news about having the convenience of Amazon is like, I could get my brand new coffee grinder, which is great. There was no place to buy a coffee grinder around here. I would have had to go to Lisbon, find a place. They probably may have not even had it in stock. So the new kettle that we’ve had before that now we get to have again. All those little things. I had so much fun getting my little home barista set up going again and making my first cup of coffee with all of my little coffee accoutrement. I do a little hand-poured coffee. It’s like a little V60 thing with a ceramic thing and oh, it’s just amazing and lovely. And that’s something I had been dreaming about, like when we were like thinking about this being our home was standing in our kitchen. I’m staring at it where we are right now, having my little scale, my little coffee brewer, my grinder, my kettle. And I know it sounds so dumb, but I think we’re going to do a whole episode on defining happiness and what that looks like. But that small joy for me is truly like starting my day with happiness. Like it fills up my personal life bucket to do that and to have these like, little gadgets and gizmos that feel so fun to use every day. And it’s just so. Nice to dream about it and then actually do it here. I

Caroline: was going to say, but did it live up to it?

Jason: Oh, for sure. It was funny though, because it’s, again, like, part of what I wanted to talk about, the difference between you picture a whole day that’s perfect, and then you have all these little things run into. The first cup of coffee that I made, I spilled half of it out the side of the brewer because I didn’t fold the paper right. And it’s just the classic thing of like, oh, I saw this going a little bit for more aesthetically pleasing, but it’s fine. Just like brushed it. No one saw it. But it has been for the past couple of days, it’s gotten easier. I’ve gotten used to it. I’m now more comfortable. I can make a cup of coffee a little bit faster. I really take the moments to smell the beans along the whole way. And again, I know this sounds for some of you, like, who cares? Coffee doesn’t matter to me at all. I just press a button and I make it every day. To me, it’s my joyful start to every day of my life.

Caroline: Yeah. And I wonder, for people listening, if it’s not coffee, what are those kind of like, mundane parts of your daily existence that have that little spark of joy that you can then almost savor and lean into that much more? Right? So it’s like if it’s like putting on music in the morning, if that’s happiness to you, can you really build out that… take that moment from a spark into sort of like a flame that can really fuel your day? What are those kind of mundane things that you can make extraordinary? I think that’s cool.

Jason: Yeah. So, yeah. What other things do you want to wrap up here in our first, like, we’ve moved into our new home?

Caroline: Yeah. I think just capping the feelings. I definitely have had these moments where that thought creeps in, where I’m like, oh, my God, what have we done. Did we really do this? And I knew that that was going to happen.

Jason: I mean, technically, legally, we haven’t yet.

Caroline: Yeah, sure, sure.

Jason: Because our visa applications are still in process.

Caroline: As tourists. But I think with any big change, and it goes back to that kind of surreal feeling, something that you just have to expect is your brain is going to do that thing that it does when you encounter discomfort, where you just go, I’m nervous, could I just go back to everything I know? And there’s parts of me that missed the familiarity of, that we cultivated over four years that we lived in that place in Carlsbad. And I just have to go back and remember. I remember distinctly when we moved into that place, I had this exact same feeling, which was it didn’t feel like home yet. And the only remedy for that is time. And so it’s been a lot easier, actually, to traverse some of those feelings for me than I anticipated because I kind of know what to expect. And then on top of that, the overwhelming feeling has just been immense gratitude, because I know that this place suits us so well. And when I see the nature, when we walk down to our little beach, which is like a ten-minute walk.

Jason: 15-minute, nice try, yeah.

Caroline: 15-minute walk down to the beach, and we see the most gorgeous waves, and it’s just like this untouched beach, and there’s a handful of surfers and a couple of little families and us.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And that feels amazing. I don’t know, there’s so many things I like about it, and I feel really good about this decision, and there’s going to be harder times ahead, of course, but I’m so excited to learn Portuguese. I’ve never been more motivated to learn portuguese.

Jason: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. And I think that a couple of things to me, we moved into, as you said, it’s kind of like a little planned community, but it’s not gated. And I think we had some hesitations about that because we’re like, oh, you know, when we looked at places when we were doing our scouting of a house that was just kind of by itself. I think we made the right choice for starting off in a community like this, especially because you come from a full time year of travel and you have no comforts at all. And coming here, it’s like there are people that work here that speak English. There’s a handyman that takes care if anything that goes wrong. Like, we don’t have to figure out any of those things. And that reduced stress, I think, is really helpful.

Caroline: It makes the transition easier. I can see us in the future, like, if we stay, being able to just maybe even buy a house that’s not in a development because we’ll feel so much more comfortable. But for the transition, like Jason was saying, it’s nice to know people who can understand how the city works with water and the Internet is already set up and all those things that just I was not looking forward to potentially having to traverse.

Jason: Yeah, and I think the other thing too. We did our scouting trip here. We talked about this, like, perfect day that we did where we were here. We drove down to, like, a little beach town that was like, 20 minutes away. We came back and went to the grocery store, which is like, six minutes away. And just now, having been to that grocery store three times in five days, it proves to me that, oh, it’s a great little grocery store. It’s just like a little Fresh Market, for those of you in the US who know what that is. It’s not that big, but it does have tons of fresh produce, lots of gluten free options, which is great for you. Lots of little snacky options, too, which is just great because you want some snacky things.

Caroline: But not too many, because, by the way, talking about reverse culture shock, we went grocery shopping when we were back in the United States. And, oh, my God, after shopping in Europe for a year, when I tell you that I almost had a nervous breakdown because there was, like, 25 different gluten-free crackers and I just had forgotten. This is what makes the US great, right, is that you have so many options for things. You have so many choices. And I know that’s why a lot of people love living there. For me, personally, it was too much. It was overwhelming. I’m like less choices. I want less choices.

Jason: Yeah, there are four gluten-free crackers at our grocery store and there’s another grocery store nearby and they may have four or more, but we’re not going to have the aisle of 25 where you’re just like, I don’t know, all of them have olive oil and sea salt. That’s all I can see.

Caroline: So many cookies.

Jason: But yeah, I think there are just so many little things that we will start to get into as we start to build routines. Like that’s kind of our next phase of the second week of living here is the morning routine and the work routine and walking to the gym. So, like, the little community has a gym that’s like an eight-minute walk away, which we just absolutely love having to ourselves. We haven’t seen another person in there yet, but hopefully we’ll bump into some people and we’ll be able to meet some people there. And I do think that last night we were sitting on the couch and you were like, oh, I just found this cute little farm that has a restaurant. You sent me a link to it and it’s like 25 minutes down the road and it’s this adorable farm that has this beautiful, like, farmhouse restaurant as you would imagine it anywhere. And now we might go there on Saturday, and I think those are the things that we’ll find those places these next couple of weeks. We already have a little restaurant in town right next to the dinosaur roundabout where we can grab some lunch or dinner that we have been to a couple of times we know we like. So it’s finding all those little places and those little spots that we really love that I think I’m really excited about these next six weeks. So why don’t we wrap up with kind of the plan of action these next couple of weeks and what that looks like, and then if anybody wants to send questions through, we’ll take some questions and maybe answer those on what it’s been like to move here.

Caroline: So the next few weeks we are just going to continue to, like you said, build into routines. We have a lot of work stuff to get caught up on before the end of the year. There’s a few things that I want to get tackled before we officially get our visas. Like I want to get the ball rolling on getting like picking out our medical insurance.

Jason: Because you don’t have to get medical insurance here. The public system is very good.

Caroline: Exactly. So you could just totally get by with the public system, but you can supplement with private insurance. And so I want to get that all settled. I want to get a Portuguese tutor. I like doing the apps a lot, but I want to get a real person because I learn a lot better when I can be corrected on pronunciation and things like that. So before we leave for Christmas, I would love to have a person that can do calls, like once a week or whatever to practice my Portuguese, because I’m just really committed to… I’m not under any illusions that in a year’s time, I’m going to be fluent in Portuguese. But I would like to be able to understand and get by much better than I do.

Jason: Yeah, for sure. I also want to do that as well. And so I think that’s going to be interesting to see who learns the fastest. Yeah. So as you were mentioning, so medical insurance, finding a dentist, finding an optometrist. I need to get my eye prescription updated because I haven’t done it in like four years and I can tell that my prescription is a little bit outdated. So I’m excited to get that done here and see how that process goes. Also might get LASIK. So maybe getting LASIK in a foreign country is a fun thing that I get to do and I could share with everybody.

Caroline: Figuring out the car situation.

Jason: Yeah, so we’re not going to worry about the car situation until we come back in January. So we’ll be here for six weeks, then we go to Florida for Christmas with family, then we have a week in between that. Then we come back to the US. Where we’re hoping that our visas are done and approved, then we’ll mail our passports in, then we’ll come back to Portugal, then we’ll do all the residency stuff that we need to do. But yeah, there’s just a lot of little logistical things. So we’ll get the car situation figured out for when we come back in January, whether that’s leasing a car or long term rental or just buying Ebikes and just Ebiking everywhere.

Caroline: And also I just want to try to find some relaxation. I feel guilty because it’s like my family has been texting me and my friends and they’re like, how is it? I feel myself in this little bit of I want to have time to myself in order to process what’s happening. And I just now feel like I’m coming down from this whole year of go, go, go. And so amidst like I just want to kind of enjoy being stationary in these next few weeks and just kind of, like, rest… anyway. That’s all I’m saying.

Jason: Yeah, you can rest for sure. Yeah, absolutely.

Caroline: I don’t really know what else I was going to say,

Jason: You don’t need my permission to rest.

Caroline: I was just sharing. Like, I think I’m processing in real time as I’m saying the words, like, holy crap. Like, we have done so much this year. For my brain and body, it has been a lot, and I think I just need some time to process.

Jason: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s fair to take that time, and I think family and friends and everybody will understand that as well. Right. It’s the classic thing of whenever you are doing something and people want to know how the thing is going and you’re not maybe able to respond, you feel guilty. But, like, from their side, they’re like, oh, I understand they’re busy. Like, it’s just the communication hasn’t happened, you know? And it’s like, I’ve had this daily blog for the entire year of our travels, and I’m like, five days behind, but I just let my mom and grandmother know, like, hey, I’m just trying to enjoy this. I don’t want to spend an hour and a half every morning writing this thing.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: I want to look out the window and drink my coffee slowly for an hour and a half. We’ll keep you up to date. If you have questions that you want us to answer about what life is like here in our first couple of weeks, living in Portugal and getting settled and all those things, please send us an email, We’d love to get your questions. We’ll answer them in a future episode. Just a quick check in. I asked you a couple of weeks, the number one thing you were looking forward to in our new home, and it is a comfy blanket. How is the comfy blanket working out?

Caroline: It’s all of my dreams, and I didn’t even have to buy it. It was already here.

Jason: Already here.

Caroline: That’s exactly what I wanted. And when I tell you that, I come up in the morning, I pour the coffee that my husband lovingly made for me into my mug, and I sit with my comfy soft-ass blanket and I can see the ocean.

Jason: Yeah, it’s pretty magical.

Caroline: It is the most peaceful and gratitude-filled, like, moment for me.

Jason: Yeah. All right, everybody, that’s our first week here in our brand new rental home in Portugal.

Caroline: We just thank you for coming along on this entire 300 day exactly journey with us. And you all are just the most encouraging and fun podcast listeners ever. The emails we get from you are so awesome. And the way that you all are just, like, happy for us and that you, I feel like, sometimes are just, like, all in our pockets as we go on these adventures, and you’re, like, living vicariously through us. It’s just the coolest feeling that we have people all over the world who care and care to listen to us.

Jason: Also, if you care for us to upgrade the podcast recording set up to have better mics and more acoustically pleasurable sound quality.

Caroline: And a dedicated studio, if you’re on board for that.

Jason: Feel free to send an email as well, just so I can read those out loud to Caroline and just be like, oh, wow. I got, like, a bunch of people who said…

Caroline: A bunch of people.

Jason: Our nine listeners, eight of them emailed us and said, so… All right, everybody, thank you so much. We appreciate you. We’ll be back next week and we hope you enjoyed this episode.

Caroline: Goodbye.

Jason: Bye.

149 – We’re in Our NEW Home in Portugal!

(Big Fat Takeaway)

We’ve officially moved into our new (rental) home on the Silver Coast of Portugal. We chat about how we got here and our first week,


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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