Welcome to Our Portugal Journey!
Here's a little about us and why we decided to move to Portugal...
In August 2021, we left the U.S. with 13 suitcases to begin our Portugal journey.
We are Carol and Paul from Phoenix, Arizona. Originally from the East Coast, we moved to Arizona 18 years ago. I’m a freelance marketer and writer. Paul is a digital artist (and awesome life partner!). We are now both retired (sort of) although we enjoy working on our internet business (more on that later), while enjoying a more relaxed and slower-paced lifestyle in Portugal.
Over the last few years, many friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances, and social media followers have asked us a variety of questions as to why we ultimately decided to move to Portugal. I have chronicled our experiences along the way - from deciding on where to move to why we ultimately chose Portugal to how we got there and what our experiences have been so far.
We hope this website will answer many questions Americans and others have about moving to Portugal – whether it is for retirement (or early retirement), work, adventure, to expose your family to different cultures, or just because you’re curious.
We’ve always been a little different than the ‘typical’ married couple. We both grew up in the same neighborhood, our sisters played together as kids, and our parents were good friends. We knew each other but only as friends, occasionally going on group dates with other people. We didn’t start actually dating until we were in our 20’s when some friends thought it was time we got together. We were married in 1980. And, while most of our friends were having babies, buying houses and saving for yearly 2-week vacations and college, for better or for worse, we chose another path.
From 1985 to 1992, we owned one of America’s oldest country stores. This historical site was built in 1799. When we purchased the store, it had been used as an antiques shop with very few customers. By the time we sold it, we had made it into a thriving enterprise with not just antiques sold, but also with specialty foods, gifts, and a café where we served fresh sandwiches, soups, salads, cheeses, chocolates, fresh baked breads, pastries, and gourmet coffee. We even sold Portuguese sweetbread baked fresh for us by a Portuguese baker who had a bakery in Providence, Rhode Island!
Our store was featured in many national publications, on television, and radio. Visitors from all over the world came to the store to experience the old-fashioned charm and ambience. We were honored to be caretakers of such an historical building, and we learned a great deal about people and business from our experiences.
When we sold the business, we went back to regular jobs, trying to be like everyone else, but deep inside, we knew that all we were trying to to do was fit into the norm.
In the spring of 2003, we left the East Coast without jobs and moved to Arizona. We felt a connection to the desert and loved the scenery and the energy! We eventually got jobs and a house, and had an enjoyable life there for 18 years.
Then, we got restless.
We started talking about eventually retiring somewhere else - as in another country. What led us to this and how we decided on Portugal I’ll reveal in upcoming posts.
We moved to Portugal, having obtained what is known as D7 retirement Visas. Our experience hasn’t been without challenges and frustrations, but we are enjoying our retirement lifestyle in Portugal, and now have the time to spend doing many of the things we’ve been putting off for years! Paul has had a life-long interest in the creative arts and has developed a website, Wilcox PhotoArt, a combination of his photographic and graphic design skills. He sells his prints and canvas artwork through his website.
For me, I would like to explore my Portuguese heritage in more detail (my grandparents were born in Portugal) and to write about our experiences – the people, places, food, wine, culture, etc.
I hope you’ll join us on our Portugal journey as we discover more about our new country! If you find this content useful, please consider subscribing to receive occasional updates. If you have any questions or suggestions for topics that you’d like to learn more about, leave a comment below.
Until next time…