I loved receiving all the emails responding to my blog last week about prepping to move to Portugal! (A far cry from my usual themes – but I want to share these happenings with you since it’s my new life.)

We’re in Portugal now – in fact, here’s a picture of us outside of the Lisbon airport. Ron and I (ok, and Sawyer) mustered big smiles for our “landed!” photo but we were crispy and brain-fogged from jet lag and the culmination of countless details in arranging the re-arranging of our lives from one continent to another.

We’re not a rarity in doing this – increasing numbers of Americans are finding their way over here – or thinking about it, attracted to the arms-wide-open reception from Portugal that makes it relatively easy and straightforward to move to a country that has everything we’re losing or in danger of losing in America.

Five large suitcases and a 10 pound (4.5 kilo) bundle of fur – our only belongings until a couple of pallets arrive in about 3 months.
I loved receiving all the emails responding to my blog last week about prepping to move to Portugal! (A far cry from my usual themes – but I want to share these happenings with you since it’s my new life.)

We’re in Portugal now – in fact, here’s a picture of us outside of the Lisbon airport. Ron and I (ok, and Sawyer) mustered big smiles for our “landed!” photo but we were crispy and brain-fogged from jet lag and the culmination of countless details in arranging the re-arranging of our lives from one continent to another.

Five large suitcases and a 10 pound (4.5 kilo) bundle of fur – our only belongings until a couple of pallets arrive in about 3 months.

We’re not a rarity in doing this – increasing numbers of Americans are finding their way over here – or thinking about it, attracted to the open-arms reception from Portugal that makes it relatively easy and straightforward to move to a country that has everything we’re losing or in danger of losing in America.

“What are those things?” you might ask

Here are a few reasons that come to mind ….
  • Safe Country: Portugal continues to rank as one of the top safest countries in the world based on the 2022 Global Peace Index (it floats between 3rd and 6th place year-to-year). Meantime, the United States ranks 129 out of 163 countries (U.S. ranks just below Azerbaijan, Zimbabwe and Egypt – meaning they’re safer than the U.S.).
  • Drugs: Portugal, in 2001, pioneered the decriminalization of the private possession of all drugs and moved the focus from criminal punishment to treatment. They’re still not out-and-out legal but I figure I’ll add my energy to moving it in that direction! Read more about that here. (Note: There is legal medical cannabis but very limited.)
  • Firearms: In Portugal, gun violence is extremely rare with a ratio of 21 guns to every 100 people. In the U.S. there are 120 guns for every 100 people. Portuguese citizens can own firearms for hunting, target shooting, pest control and collecting. Self-defense is not considered a legal reason for owning a firearm. To gain a gun license in Portugal a person must be over 18 years old and pass a background check which considers criminal and mental health records.

Other social issues we care about:

  • Women’s Right to Choose: Abortion laws in Portugal allow the procedure to be performed on-demand if a woman’s pregnancy has not exceeded its 10th week. Abortions at later stages are allowed for specific reasons such as risk to a woman’s health, rape and other sexual crimes, or fetal malformation.
  • Gay Rights: Same sex relationships are invited. Same-sex marriages grant all queer couples the same rights as heterosexual couples including adopting children.
  • Family Matters: Portugal wants more children and are incentivizing the birth rate by offering free day-care that will eventually cover 1, 2 and 3 year olds. Also families with kids will get tax deductions and will be offered free textbooks, free computers and reduced school tuition.
  • Environment: Portugal has an aggressive program for cleaning up the environment. The country currently gets 60% of its electricity from renewable sources – one of the largest proportions of green energy use in Europe (i.e. solar, wind, hydropower) and is slated to move to 80% renewables in the near future.
  • Environment (Water): We live along the southern coast of Portugal, where the vast majority of beaches are designated “Blue Flag” a designation given to beaches if they meet certain international standards when it comes to things like safe water quality facilities and environmental management. Portugal, which is a small country about the same size as the state of Indiana, is home to 372 Blue Flag beaches. The United States has just entered the program and has 4 beaches under review that (may) meet the criteria.
To be sure, Portugal is not a utopia – it has issues that it struggles with but, as you can see, many of the social welfare concerns that Americans and others receiving this email care about are identified and taken care of in Portuguese society.
This is a rare moment in which I’m sharing with you a major life change that we’re making. I’m in no way encouraging others to make this move – I’m simply telling you about some of the considerations that contributed to us deciding this is the right move for us at this time.
Please drop down below in comments and let me know your thoughts.

With Love,

Becca

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about this, there’s a FaceBook page called: Americans and FriendsPT (Americans and Friends in Portugal), run by U.S. immigrants/expats with the slogan: “a resource-rich community where a life-changing event starts with every visa application.” A stunning 200 people a day are joining it – either considering a move, beginning it, in the midst of it or, like us, have completed the move and are building a new life. What’s your thoughts on this?