Would I Be Happier Working from Portugal?

would I be happy as an expat in portugal

I live in San Francisco. I love it here. It’s one of the most amazing cities in the world. More importantly, I feel creatively, emotionally, and socially fulfilled here. However, there’s no denying that this is one of the most expensive places to live. Having worked from home for over 15 years, I could easily work from anywhere. Is it time to start thinking about a move? If so, would working from Portugal be a good option?

San Francisco Is My Creative Center

I stay here because I love it here. The quality of life matters so much to me that I sacrifice a lot financially as a result. I’m willing to pay exorbitant rent to live in this amazing place. In some ways, I think the fact that I thrive here offsets the cost. When I lived in other cities where I was less happy, I didn’t work nearly as productively or creatively. Therefore, I earned less money. So I spent less on life, but I earned less, and I wasn’t as happy.

So Why Consider a Move?

I’m not sure that I’m really considering a move. However, my partner and I have discussed some options for our future. One is to spend a few years in Europe while he goes to grad school there. That’s a financially sensible grad school plan. After all, it will cost him a lot less there than here. Moreover, our cost of living would likely be lower doing those years than if we stayed here. Therefore, it’s at least worth considering. It’s worth weighing the options to see if moving is worth the leap. If I could be as happy (almost as happy? happier?) there than I am here, and it would cost us less, then perhaps it’s worth taking that leap.

Why Portugal?

My partner is an Italian citizen. Therefore, we’ve mostly talked about moving to Italy. However, travel between countries in that area is pretty easy. It looks like he could go to grad school in other countries for the same low price. I haven’t ever been to Italy, although I’m excited to go someday soon. But I have been Portugal, and I loved it. Lisbon (and Porto to some extent) feel so much like San Francisco that I think I could easily feel at home there. So, that’s why I’m interested in at least putting Portugal on the conversation table.

Would I Be Happy Living and Working in Portugal?

I was recently reading a CNBC article about the top ten countries for expats. It considers happiness with work, life, work-life balance, and cost of living. Portugal made the list. While that’s not the reason I’d consider a move there, it’s definitely an interesting thing to look at. According to the article, of the expats polled:

  • Nearly two thirds are happy with the job that they have there. Notably, though, there’s no information about what jobs they’re doing.
  • More than two thirds are happy with their work-life balance.
  • Three quarters are happy with the cost of living. That’s definitely a plus. After all, money is a reason we would make the move.

Additionally, more than half say it’s easy to make new friends. More than three quarters are pleased with medical care in Portugal. And 84% express happiness with life in general.

Of course, none of this means that I would love it. But it does give me food for thought. (I hadn’t thought about what medical care would look like there. That’s important!)

So, this isn’t happening immediately. But it’s something that I’m thinking about.

Have any of you ever lived in another country? What was your experience like?

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