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Moving To Portugal – Alison’s Story

We thought it would be helpful to have some Q&A’s from real people who have made the move already. Some are newly arrived, others have been here for much longer, meaning you can get a broad range of experiences from people to get a real feel for what it is like to move to Portugal and start living your dream!

Today we meet Alison Kearin who moved to Portugal from the UK 8 years ago. 

How did you find out about Pure Portugal? Did you know of us before moving to Portugal?
A friend recommended you to get advice and find out information before our move.



What made you decide to move to Portugal from the your home country?
A variety of reasons: We had looked at a number of countries as possibilities for when we retired and had fallen in love with Portugal and its people.
A desire for a different lifestyle away from the mayhem of the UK.
My husband got made redundant aged 60 and our grown up children encouraged us to make the move then rather than wait.
We unexpectedly found we were going to be looking after my husbands sister who is disabled, we all needed our own living space and couldn’t find anything resembling our needs in the UK at a price we could afford as we were funding the move and conversion of the ground floor of the house to make it wheelchair accessible .

Have you moved to any other countries before moving to Portugal?
No, but had explored others as possibilities.

How long had you been thinking about moving to Portugal before actually making your move?
We had been coming here on holiday for nearly 5 years, mainly staying on a farm in the Alentejo but ended up buying in Central Portugal.

If you could give one tip to someone still thinking about making the move what would it be?
Research and spend time in different places to find your ‘home’. You will know if it is right for you but don’t expect it to be the same as what you are leaving. We moved to an unheated house which was left fully furnished with bedding which was lucky.  It was freezing cold, the windows were single pane with a huge gap at the bottom which we hadn’t noticed originally so we slept fully dressed and in sleeping
bags with every piece of bedding that had been left piled on top!  Our belongings and tools etc weren’t arriving for another week…but it still felt like the right move had been made!

What is the most difficult thing about living in Portugal?
Other than missing our children and the grandchildren that have come along since we moved – the language!  We are still struggling after 8 years, mainly because we are in a rural area and don’t get the opportunity to practice except with our closest neighbours, who have their own variations which causes quite a few laughs when we say things and it doesn’t match – we have all got very good at using mime and breaking things down to simple words to have conversations.  The biggest barrier with the language has been dealing with officials and medical staff when my sister in law has ended up in hospital although there are so many people who appreciate our attempts at Portuguese but usually end up telling us to speak English. I usually put things through the translator and print it out as a backup.

What is the most positive thing about your move so far?
The change in lifestyle confirming that it was the best decision we made. We love our area and the people

If we had just one day in the area you have moved too what would you tell us is a must do/see?
So much to see and do but would advise a car to explore the Caramulo, the Dao/Mondego rivers. Take a walk around Tondela, Santa Comba Dao or Viseu.  We have beautiful views, countryside, river beaches and architecture.

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