Terry and Ann fell in love with Portugal… and now they’re falling in love with each other all over again.
About two-and-a-half years ago, Terry O’Halloran and his wife made the leap… and moved halfway around the world… to Portugal.
“Maybe we were a little crazy,” Terry says, “but we haven’t looked back and we couldn’t be happier.
“We’d lived in Hawaii for 40 years, and my wife Ann had just retired from her career as an emergency room nurse. It was time for our next phase in life, and we wanted to make the most of it. We’d saved enough, but we didn’t want to just settle into a ‘comfortable’ retirement. We wanted new, different, and exciting.
“Both of us are active and healthy, and we love traveling. We thought a simpler life, where less could be more, sounded very appealing.
“We knew our criteria for the right place for us. A mild climate was important, as was living near the ocean, good health care, safe environment, interesting culture and history, good food, and a reasonable cost of living and of establishing residency. We were also looking for a place where we could get by speaking English.
“We learned that Portugal had it all.
“We sold our house, most of our possessions, packed our suitcases and cameras, and headed into an unknown future where going back was not an option. We decided we were all in.
“Portugal’s Algarve region looked interesting, but we wanted to be near Lisbon, and, with help from Live and Invest Overseas, we found that Cascais seemed to have everything we were looking for… and we loved that it is just a 40-minute train ride to the center of Lisbon. We found a great apartment with a sweeping ocean view on one side and a spectacular view of the Sintra Mountains on the other.
“Now we feel like we’re home. We love Cascais. It is spectacularly beautiful with clean ocean waters, a rugged coastline, white sandy beaches, stone buildings, cobblestone sidewalks, and several parks.
“When the sun or moon rises over the bay, you can feel the romance in the air. My wife and I feel like we’re falling in love all over again. Our favorite pastime is strolling along the bay holding hands…”
Alyson And Dave Traded The Corporate Rat Race For Village Living On Portugal’s Sun-Drenched Coast—Here’s What They Think Of That Choice 10 Years Later
“My husband Dave and I have been living here in Portugal’s Algarve for more than 10 years now,” explains Alyson Sheldrake, “and still every day brings new delights and new things to enjoy… new moments that make you stop, relax, and enjoy the Algarve’s slower pace of life and its fabulous landscapes and people.
“This wonderful region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe… and for good reason.
“Its name derives from the Arabic ‘Al-Gharb,’ meaning ‘The West’… though in fact the Algarve’s long coast faces mostly south.
“And long is the word to describe it. The Algarve coastline is approximately 96 miles in length and covers an area of about 2,089 square miles. Its highest point is Fóia, in the Monchique, about 3,000 feet above sea level. Within these boundaries is a host of delights and surprises.
“The weather is gorgeous, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year… and here in the Algarve we have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. You can choose from big tourist-focused resorts that cater to holidaymakers… or you can explore some of the more isolated and deserted coves and small beaches that dot our 100 miles of golden coast.
“One of my favorite things about the Algarve is the food. It’s varied yet simple and always fresh… mostly from the sea, of course!
“The Algarve is also a golfer’s paradise boasting some of Europe’s finest championship golf courses, all set in magnificent surroundings and many with breathtaking views of the coastline.
“In this part of the world there is always time to sit in the sun, to greet your friends, to pass the time of day on a park bench or in a coffee shop, and to reflect on an era long forgotten in most of the rest of the world.
“This is the Algarve… where the West meets paradise.”
From Nashville To Valencia—How Mike Reinvented His Life
There is a scene in the 2003 movie “Under The Tuscan Sun” that I now can identify as the moment everything began to shift.
I was a 51-year-old single man living in Nashville, Tennessee, with no real job and no prospects.
A friend had called to let me know that he had two tickets to an afternoon preview of the “Under The Tuscan Sun” movie prior to its release. I was aware of the memoir of the same name written by Frances Mayes in the 1990s but had discounted it as a travelogue about Italy with judiciously inserted recipes that would appeal to the largest possible demographic embracing women “of a certain age.”
For one September afternoon my friend Eric and I joined this demographic. The plot quickly became unimportant, because, for me, time stopped when the heroine accepted a ride in an Italian two-seat convertible traversing the route between Rome and Positano.
As the camera followed the moving sports car from above, it was as though I was sitting there rounding the next curve on a winding two-lane road resting precariously at the edge of a precipitous drop to the Mediterranean.
I turned to my friend and whispered, “What am I doing here?”…
A month later I had left to California for four months (ironically in my 1991 Mazda Miata… a two-seat convertible) before settling near Daytona Beach, Florida, in early 2004 to begin a new job…
With visions of Italian seaside drives in my head, the universe (or Mother Nature if you prefer) gifted me with a lot of time to begin my online research about international relocation courtesy of three hurricanes in six weeks.
Over the next dozen years, I followed Kathleen Peddicord and Lief Simon through their writings. When they announced Nashville as the destination for their Annual Retire Overseas Conference in August 2014, I knew the time had come to make my move.
Shortly after the conference ended, I created a 3-week itinerary for April and May 2015 that was anchored by a 5-day conference attended by 700 international travel bloggers (TBEX) in Lloret de Mar, Spain. I was convinced that learning about successful travel bloggers’ nomadic lives would offer a glimpse into my future.
It could also provide me with the opportunity to travel the world through their eyes and uncover hidden gems as possible destinations.
The bloggers proved as enlightening as I had hoped they would be, but a funny thing happened on the way to Lloret de Mar…
I stopped first in Valencia, Spain.
As I stood in the baggage claim area of the Valencia airport I remember having the crazy thought that “this could be the place…” before ever setting foot in the city!
Fortunately I had been to 47 U.S. states and 25 foreign countries, so I had 72 points of reference. Not 1 of the 72 had ever provoked this reaction, so I proceeded… though with caution.
Three days in a hotel and three days in a bed-and-breakfast confirmed my initial reaction to the city.
LIOS had referred me to a local real estate broker who gave me a city tour and showed me seven properties. At the end of our tour, Ramón gave me advice that would become the foundation for my future plans:
“Come back next year,” he told me. “Stay for at least a month… and move around to various areas of the city to determine if Valencia is your destiny.”
One year later I was ready to cut my ties with Florida. For those readers who were at the Retire Overseas Conference in Orlando in September 2015 you’ll remember me as the guy hobbling around on crutches with my right leg in a bright orange cast.
When I tossed the crutches at the end of December 2015 I was ready to sell, donate, give away, or throw out all of the things that didn’t matter and put the things that did in storage.
On March 21, 2016, I left Orlando, Florida, with a giant backpack, two checked bags, and a Panama hat. I sold my car the morning I left and rid myself of key rings. After all, I had only my storage unit key to worry about.
After a stopover to attend the wedding reception of my best friend I arrived in Valencia on March 28. Nine weeks and two Airbnb apartments later, I placed a deposit on my two-bedroom apartment in the central historic district of Valencia; the sale was closed Sept. 20, 2016. Remodeling was completed for the most part by mid-November of the next year.
Because I was operating on a tourist visa that only allowed me to stay up to 90 days in a row in the eurozone, I have lots more tales to tell about my ongoing adventures…
When I set out, the “grand” plan was to explore the world in search of my new home and make no decisions until the journey was over.
As the author and cartoonist Allen Saunders wrote in 1957, “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”
My future life seems to have been determined at a Valencia baggage claim carousel in 2015…
Founding Publisher, Overseas Opportunity Letter