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Our Insane, but Fabulous, Move to Portugal

Why, oh why, oh why???

I’ve been talking about this on social media for the last few months and promising to blog about it, but life became so incredibly busy, I couldn’t fit it in. It was enough to keep up with planning the move and continuing to write! However, now we’ve actually moved, a small sense of normality is returning – just about… So, why did we do it?

First I should say that we have done this before. About sixteen years ago we moved from the Midlands in the UK to New Zealand. At the time we (me and Jason, my other half), were over the UK for various reasons: it was too full of people – we felt hemmed in; the roads were always busy; we were both looking for new jobs; many of our friends had moved away; we were over the UK. But we both needed to work, and that meant moving to somewhere English speaking, and somewhere I could transfer my nursing registration. We decided on NZ, and everything fell into place. We moved in September 2006.

It wasn’t without difficulties. It was a long way from the UK and we left everyone behind. Communication was at either the end or beginning of the day to account for the time zone – we were either 11 or 13 hours ahead depending on daylight savings. But we loved it and had no regrets. We made some great friends, and lived in a beautiful spot just outside Wellington – which is a fabulous little city. I studied for my English degree and did lots of creative writing papers, kicking off my writing career. And fortunately, that has been successful – long may that continue. So much so that I gave up the nursing day job. Thanks lovely readers xx

So, why do it again?

Well, we love the heat and lots of sunshine, and although NZ was great, and we definitely had better weather than in the UK, it just wasn’t hot enough. We schemed about how we’d retire to somewhere hot. Thailand and Bali were mentioned, but we realised this wasn’t really sustainable as far as stability and visas went. We also wanted to be closer to the UK. We have many friends there still, and of course family, all of whom, like us, are getting older. And Covid had happened. This meant planned trips were cancelled, and the UK, always a long way away, was now unreachable. NZ suddenly felt like a gilded cage. This all added to our wish to move.

I did some research, and discovered a few places on the recommended retirement list. Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Columbia all make the list, as do France, Spain, and Malta, and Peru. South America was never an option for us, but Europe was more interesting. However another name jumped out at us. Portugal.

It sits in the top five of recommended places for several reasons: it’s welcoming to people who want to move – the visas are flexible as long as you can prove you have income; it is very safe; has a low cost of living; has a good health care system and affordable private health care; growing internet capabilities; fabulous weather; lovely, welcoming people. And it’s in the same time zone as the UK. Bingo! I have to confess that I also missed old Europe. NZ is lovely, but it’s very new. I love castles, stately homes, grand gardens, and higgledy-piggledy villages, and NZ has none of those – not really.

But moving to Portugal was a grand plan for our later years – which really aren’t that far off anymore…

And then I became a self-employed, full time writer, and at Christmas 2020 I wondered how possible it would be to move now rather in another ten years. Turns out, it’s very possible. But there were a list of requirements we had to fulfil for our D7 visa.

Visa Requirements

We needed a NIF, which is essentially a tax number, and a Portuguese bank account before we even applied. And we needed a 12 month rental agreement to prove the move was genuine. Plus, police checks from UK and NZ, bank statements as proof of income, the visa application, passport photos, valid travel insurance, and a cover letter stating why we wanted to move.

We decided not to wait. We were planning on visiting the UK after our cancelled holiday two years previously, so we decided we may as well move before then and save flight costs and time. And that’s when the madness began…

More in the next blog ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Ann Kellett says:

    I loved reading your blog, and Iโ€™m looking forward to the next instalment. Youโ€™ve certainly packed lots into your lives, good for you!

    1. TJ Green says:

      Thanks Ann. I’m hoping this will be the last time we do such a big move! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Mully Woolmer says:

    Itโ€™s lovely to read your blog TJ. Portugal is such a beautiful place that I agree about it being in the top 5 on your list. Uprooting is not as frightening as some think. Itโ€™s the joint decision that shows your relationship with himself is a good one. You will have such fun now planning the new life.
    Blessings on your new home

    1. TJ Green says:

      Cheers Mully, we’re loving it so far xx ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Helen says:

    We miss you Tracey and look forward to following your blog. Don’t worry some of you old colleagues might pop over for a visit.
    I know how much fun you will be having in the sun.

    1. TJ Green says:

      Cheers Helen! The sun is fabulous, and you’re are all welcome – maybe not at the same time xx ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Denise Olby says:

    This was a Fab read ๐Ÿ˜Š x can’t wait for the next bit.. ๐Ÿ˜ Xx

    1. TJ Green says:

      Thank you! I better get on with it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Lisa Metcalfe says:

    I love reading your books, theyโ€™re fabulous escapism.
    Like yourself we are over the UK for much of the same reasons, mainly the weather. Myself and my partner are early retired after selling our business and also looking to move to Europe. France and The Algarve are on our shortlist so Iโ€™m really looking forward to reading more on your blog.

    1. TJ45279180 says:

      Thanks Lisa! I hope all your plans work out. It’s a good reminder for me to write more about this! ๐Ÿ™‚

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