February 21, 2024

By Silvia Marchetti | CNN

Shifting to a overseas nation is usually a scary choice. Significantly if it’s a rustic you’ve by no means even visited.

In 2021, Katie Meyer, a world hospitality communications skilled from California, selected to just do that.

Meyer, who had beforehand lived and labored in London earlier than returning to the US, relocated to Portugal throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, settling within the idyllic seaside resort of Cascais, near Lisbon.

“My dream was to sometime to return to Europe,” Meyer, 66, tells CNN. “As soon as distant work grew to become normal and I offered my actual property within the US. I knew that relocation to Europe was a ‘now or by no means’ proposition.”

New chapter

Katie Meyer from California relocated to Portugal in 2021 after promoting her property within the US.(Courtesy Katie Meyer by way of CNN) 

Her private {and professional} travels had taken her to many nations in Europe all through the years, however by no means Portugal.

Whereas the sunny Mediterranean local weather and Portugal’s laid-back vibe have been a part of the attract, Meyer was prepared for a brand new chapter in her life.

Security, high quality of life, inexpensive medical care, and a comparatively easy path to everlasting residency and citizenship, have been excessive on her listing of priorities for her future nation of residence, and Lisbon ticked all of her containers.

Indicators of the pandemic have been nonetheless very evident when Meyer arrived within the Portuguese capital with 5 suitcases in tow in August 2021.

“Few accommodations and eating places open, a fraction of the variety of standard vacationers, mask-wearing the norm, I felt like I had Lisbon to myself,” she says.

Meyer rented an condo for 3 months in Lisbon at first. However after exploring the world, she fell in love with the charms of close by Cascais, a former fishing village that has been luring many expats not too long ago.

She was struck by Cascais’ unplugged and considerably sleepy really feel, which was one thing she wasn’t accustomed to, and the truth that locals didn’t appear to make use of cell phones on the market or cafes.

“Right here, time stands nonetheless, and other people relish time collectively,” she says. “Issues take longer. Instead of any sense of urgency you discover a happier, extra laid-back way of life.

“However one that may be very irritating to Individuals hooked on frenetic beats and trapped within the rat race.”

She says she was greatly surprised by the genuineness of the Portuguese individuals, their delight and pleasure in studying that an expat had chosen their nation as a brand new residence, and their willingness to assist when she was struggling to speak.

“Portuguese is a really troublesome language to study, however they’re all the time prepared to assist with pronunciations and utilization,” she says. “It is vitally a lot a welcoming tradition.”

‘Welcoming tradition’

Meyer has happily settled in Cascais and loves her new life there.(Katie Meyer via CNN)
Meyer has fortunately settled in Cascais and loves her new life there.(Katie Meyer by way of CNN) 

Later that yr, Meyer purchased a 95-square-meter, two-bedroom, split-level condo with a roof terrace in a quiet neighborhood, near cafés and cultural sights.

Located on a hill above the middle of city, it presents putting views stretching from Cascais Bay and the ocean to the well-known mountains and palaces of Sintra.

The acquisition worth was 595,000 euros (round $651,000). Despite the fact that Portugal noticed an general property worth improve of 13.8% in 2021, with costs persevering with to rise within the years since then, Meyer estimates that an condo in an identical spot in California would have value her at the least triple.

Thankfully, Meyer was in a position to profit from Portugal’s “golden visa” system, a five-year residence by funding program geared toward non-EU nationals, which is now not accessible for actual property purchases.

To qualify, candidates have been required to make an actual property buy of a minimal of 500,000 euros ($547,000.)

The golden visa grants her visa-free journey by Europe’s Schengen Space. She additionally has the choice to use for Portuguese citizenship after holding a golden visa for 5 years, in keeping with a not too long ago amended legislation geared toward rushing up procedures.

However for Meyer, one of many cons to transferring to a vacation spot with such a slower-paced way of life has been getting by pink tape, and she or he confronted a wait of round two years to acquire her residency as a result of Portugal’s earlier lengthy approval course of.

“Phrase of mouth from others who’ve been by it reigns supreme,” she says. “And my recommendation can be to discover a good legal professional.”

Meyer says that Cascais’ robust sense of neighborhood performed an element in her choice to construct her new life there.

“Individuals are very social and family-oriented,” she says. “On weekends I meet pals on the standard mercado, the place, along with a farmers’ market, butchers, cheese and fishmongers, crafts, stands with clothes and family items on the market, you possibly can socialize and simply watch the world go by.”

Savoring a creamy pastel de nata (egg or custard tarts) or a tosta mista (a grilled sandwich) at one of many native pastelaria outlets can also be a preferred pastime right here.

In line with Meyer, the standard and pace of service in eating places and accommodations is slower than within the US, and deliveries and residential repairs are additionally prone to take longer.

Tradition clashes

“On the upside, a restaurant server would by no means, ever current a invoice with out a buyer asking for it,” she provides.

“That might be thought-about impolite, even with a line of consumers ready for a desk. And also you gained’t see individuals consuming or consuming on the go, as you’ll within the US.”