‘Why did you choose to move to Portugal?’
This is, without a doubt, the question I get most from people when I tell them I’m planning a move here and, alas, my answer is very lame: ‘Because it’s cheap.’
Yep. That’s it. The reason I want to move to Portugal started out purely as a financial one. I had been thinking of moving to France because I speak a bit of French but then reality hit when I realised France is kind of expensive and the ol’ map making and website business doesn’t pull in a huge amount of money. I started to poke around the internet a bit and Portugal came onto my radar somehow.
After a bit of early research I was pleasantly surprised to find that land here is very affordable (you can get a small building and a piece of land for under €10,000 in some areas) and that the average monthly salary is somewhere around €700 which is a good indicator for how much I’d have to earn to live here. Some more research revealed that lots of people seem to be moving here to set up off grid lives and live more sustainably. Bingo, bango, bongo – Portugal it is!
Moving to such a cheap country isn’t about sweeping in with my riches and living the good life, it’s about sweeping in with my €700-ish per month and living the simple life (which, as it happens, is also the good life as far as I’m concerned). I can afford to live in Portugal on what I earn from my businesses in East Africa which is great news considering Portugal doesn’t have a lot of work options, especially for someone who doesn’t (yet) speak the language.
That’s the key for me – aiming to keep my living costs low in the hopes of being able to maintain a nice lifestyle doing work that I love. Looking for a place with a low cost of living is all about trying to make what I already earn stretch as far as possible so that I can focus my efforts on finding land and eventually building a house and growing a garden. The good stuff!
Happily, though, it turns out that Portugal is so much more than just an affordable place to put down roots. I’ve travelled around though country a bit and I’ve met lots of nice people so far. Though cost of living was the thing that first drew me here, it’s community that will keep me and from what I’ve seen so far in Central Portugal especially, I’ve chosen well.