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Why We Are Uprooting Our Family and Moving To Portugal

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Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

Given the flood of questions about our relocation to Portugal, I’ve taken the plunge and launched a second blog titled ‘The American Family in Portugal’. Join us as we share our journey and insights into expat life in this beautiful country!

When we set out for full-time travel as a family of seven over three years ago, one of our main goals was to find out where we wanted to plant new roots.  Where did we want to live?

I expected that we would arrive at someplace on our journey and the lighting bolts would fly.  I figured we’d experience a “this is the place” type of feeling.

However, as we continued traveling the world, we ended up falling in love with each place we visited.  If anything, throughout our journey I realized we could live almost anywhere and be happy!

Full-Time Travel Burnout

Nearly two years into full-time travel, we began to burn out a bit.  I’ve written posts in the past about the challenges and difficulties of full-time travel, which you can read here.

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Although we were experiencing amazing things and loving our travels, we could sense it was time for a longer break.  Everyone was tired of homeschooling, and we all wanted to make lasting friendships. It was officially time to decide on our new home base.

Portugal Just Felt Different

When we visited Portugal, there were no lighting bolts or flashing signs telling us to stay. However, we did have some exceptional experiences. I remember the first week at church (which is always a wonderful community for us around the world), and I was touched by how welcoming everyone was.

Many Brazilians live in Portugal, and as you may know, they are notoriously welcoming and friendly.  At church, we were immediately invited to dinner at someone’s house the following week.  Imagine!  A huge family of 7 invited to their tiny apartment as relative strangers.  We were invited to dinner at a different home every Sunday in Portugal. Those are some of my most treasured memories. 

We’ve visited countries across the globe and met some incredible people. Portugal, however, stands out as the most welcoming in our minds.

The Language of Portugal

In addition to the friendliness of the people, I was also touched by the Portuguese language.  Chris speaks fluent Portuguese from his LDS Mission to Brazil. While I have a solid Spanish base, I’ve never been fluent.  However, I was immediately blessed with some understanding of the Portuguese language.  Within just a couple of weeks, I could understand 50% or so of what was being said.  

I felt this language would be necessary for me and my family.

Throughout our travels, I’ve always felt so limited because I could only speak one language.  I really want my children to speak at least two languages.  

Considering what second language to learn, we found it was a huge perk that Chris already speaks Portuguese and can help us learn.

The Portuguese Culture

From our perception, Portugal doesn’t have a super dominant culture but is unique and kind.  Children are considered blessings, gatherings are important, and family is at the center of it all. 

We love the fact that body image is healthy in Portugal.  Women love and accept their bodies in all shapes and sizes.

Family is super important, which is a value we share.

The South American influences have created a culture that stays up late and gets a later start.  We sure love that as well!!

Like the vast majority of Europe, Portugal maintains a healthy work-life balance.  Vacations are normal.  They aren’t workaholics.

We visited in the summer and loved attending the “fiestas” or community parties every weekend.  See some of our Portugal videos here.

The Location of Portugal

I tell all my friends that Portugal is the California of Europe.  It has very similar climates and gorgeous beaches.  The water isn’t super warm to swim in, but Portugal has a huge surfing community.

There is a northern and southern part, similar to Northern and Southern California.  Lisbon is essentially the “Los Angeles” of Portugal, but much, much smaller.

The Cost of Living in Portugal

Although gaining popularity and therefore increasing in cost, Portugal is still very affordable.  On one tour in Porto, we were told our big family could get an apartment just outside of the city center for around 400 Euro a month.

The average salary is only around 1-2K Euro per month.  We were also told we could hire a full-time housekeeper for 400-1000 Euro per month!  (We will take two, please!)

The southern parts are more popular due to their warmer climates and, therefore, tend to be a bit more expensive.  Porto, where we lived, is more affordable.

It is more difficult to earn a living in Portugal.  If you can earn your living outside of the country, you’ll likely be in a better position.  We plan to continue to run our businesses from abroad, just as we did while traveling full-time.

Ultimately, A Call From God

We are faithful people.  We live our life trusting in guidance from God and the promptings we receive from Him.  

Ultimately, the reason we are moving is a strong confirmation that this is where we are meant to go for now.  That is reason enough for us.  We believe that His plan is greater than ours, and with His guidance, we cannot fail.

Our Plan When We Get To Portugal

  • We’ve already reserved an Airbnb for August of this year, which we will use as a base as we look for a rental property.  Our hope is to sign a year-long lease.  
  • We are currently applying for our Portuguese visas. *Update: our visas just arrived in the mail three days before departing!
  • We will continue to pray and seek guidance on what city we are supposed to settle in.  We will explore Porto, Lisbon, and Algarve.  
  • Once we find a rental property, we will get the kids registered for public school.  We feel this is the only way to get them to learn the language and make friends quickly.
  • I will take a rapid language course, which I’ve heard takes about 8 hours daily, 4-5 days a week.  This will be my head start on the language.
  • We will look for community groups and sports for the kids. We plan to live full lives as we make Portugal our home!

If you’ve visited Portugal before, let me know in the comments!  What did you love? Maybe we’ll add it to our Portuguese adventures.

Here’s to a new chapter!



Additional Reading

Book a flight for your family on Booking.com, Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, or Expedia

Find affordable hotels from Booking.com, Expedia, or Vrbo, (we also love Tripadvisor and Hotels.com)

Discover fun family activities from GetYourGuide, Airbnb Experiences, or Viator

Need a car? Rent one on Expedia Rental Cars

Get your family’s travel insurance from World Nomads

Want to have a photo shoot while traveling? Check out flytographer!

Capture your best family memories while traveling with a GoPro, Sony camera, or our favorite drones: DJI FPV, Air, and Mini

Check out other travel necessities from a comprehensive list of all the 7Wayfinders Travel Must-Haves. Click Here!



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  1. I recognized Nazare right away. I was born not far from there. We immigrated to the US when I was 10. We were just in Nazare and the surrounding area for a few weeks recently. Miss it terribly already. Looking forward to seeing where you settle.

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  5. Danielle Huff

    I currently live in Utah but grew up in Cascais, Portugal. I haven’t been back for a long time. In two weeks I get to bring my husband and three kids to visit my beloved Portugal! We’ll be staying in Cascais. What are the current mask requirements? Thanks! You’re the best!

    • Leslie Stroud

      Hi, Danielle! Masks are no longer mandatory EXCEPT in places frequented by vulnerable people like nursing homes and hospitals, and in locations that have poor ventilation such as in public transport. Safe travels and hope you enjoy your trip!! 🙂

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  7. My husband and myself along with our 3 children are strongly considering visiting Portugal in December 2022! Can you tell me about the weather? Also, what are your thoughts on traveling with an 8 month old, 4, and 6 year old children? I’m a little nervous that my husband and I won’t be able to handle it. We went to Italy last summer with the two older kids and it seemed like always needed two adults to carry our stuff (two roller big backpack bags, small backpack, and two travel strollers). Anyways I loved really your story about your families journey to Portugal and I can’t wait to read more on where your decided to plant your roots!

    Best- Kristy

    • Leslie Stroud

      Hi, Kristy! Thanks for your kind comment! Portugal in December is chilly and usually rainy, but still has some beautiful days! The busking can be quite cold though and we have to use space heaters. We hire nannies when needed, but if they aren’t available, I find babywearing so helpful and bring a foldable wagon to tow big kids all together with some carry-on bags. It can certainly be overwhelming to think about, but you’ll do amazing and I’m sure it will go even smoother than you anticipate! 🙂

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