We moved from our home in Asia in April 2014. My father had been diagnosed with cancer and with no siblings it was important for me to be there and support both my parents as he started the heavy treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. My husband had ‘commuted’ back to his job in Norway for the four years we’d lived in first Singapore and then Malaysia whilst I was working there. We were bringing our two Golden Retrievers we rescued in Singapore to Europe with us so it was better for my husband to move back to Norway with the dogs and where his work was whilst I stayed with my parents in England. Unfortunately Dad passed away in the November but I am very thankful I was able to be there for eight months and really value the time I spent with both my parents that year.
So here I was. 59 years of age with over 30 years experience in organisational and people development. An entrepreneur whose work life of forty years had largely consisted of self employment. I had my own OD with L&D consultancy for a total of twenty one years (first in England, then Norway and then Singapore) as well as owning various ‘on the side’ businesses at various times when in England – a home cleaning and gardening business; a greetings card and gift shop and finally a holiday let business. So having always enjoyed a busy working life what was I to do now? And where should we live?
It wasn’t practical to move back to Asia although my husband and I still to this day miss it dearly. I want and need to be near England where my mother lives. Norway is a beautiful country and we have many good friends there, as well as my husband’s grown up children, but the climate and high prices don’t give us the life we enjoy.
So I made it my job, quite literally, to do a lot of research on the Internet. Where were the most favourable places to live in Europe? Good climate. Low cost of living. Activities that supported our interests. And last but not least with the best tax benefits as an expat and at some point retirees. Yes you’ve guessed it. Portugal was at the top of the list.
Surprisingly neither of us had ever been to Portugal. Nor did we know anyone who lived there. We had almost bought a second home in Spain in 2006 due mainly to having friends living there near Cadiz but had some negative experiences (mainly around illegal electricity supplies and rogue estate agents) and decided against it.
So we planned our first trip to Portugal in November 2015….