I came to Lisbon in March 2021 – sight unseen – out of pure desperation. It felt like a grounded decision bred from a mix of internal chaos and a primal desire for more. I intended to travel around Europe in 2020, but of course, the pandemic had other plans.🙄
Despite this, I knew I needed something different. Something that wasn’t steeped in state – and policy-sanctioned violence, a level of polarization that continuously stifles progress + and collective liberation, and food systems that are literally destroying our bodies. And honestly, I also needed better weather 😂 (I had to throw this one in there, I’m from Northern Midwest USA. 🥶)
Now don’t get me wrong; I led a pretty comfortable life in the U.S. I was making good money, had a fancy title, lived in a nice flat in the city, and was connected to a strong community of amazing humans. On paper, I had everything (everyone else thought I should have wanted). ⬅️ The bit in the parentheses is an important part I’ll return to later.
So, when I told my family and friends that I was moving across the Atlantic during the middle of the pandemic to a country I’d never been to before, all while risking my comfortable job, lifestyle, and security, I was met with mixed reactions. Most friends commended my bravery alongside comments about how such a decision was way beyond their desires + and capacity. It was beautiful to feel their support.
On the other hand, most of my family thought I had lost my shit. After submitting my visa application to move to Portugal, my mom literally called me crying telling me she thought I was making a bad decision and that I shouldn’t go. I could feel the uncertainty (and sometimes judgment) from other family members who also didn’t understand why I had chosen this path.
Talk about a kick in the gut. 😵
But y’all. When I tell you there was some divine knowing, intervention, universe energy – whatever you want to call it – that was literally pulling me towards Portugal. Oooof! I swear I’ve never felt anything like it.
Moving to Portugal changed everything for me. It enabled me to connect with a layer of my deepest self that I didn’t even know existed. Since moving to Lisbon, I:
- Lost 40 pounds + and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been.
- Uncoupled from a 10-year partnership (although we still remain good friends ❤️).
- Found my life (and now business) partner and I’m now in the process of family planning. 👶🏼👶🏼
- Quit my 9 to 5 and now have two location-independent businesses that allow me more freedom, impact, and financial abundance (and I’m now helping others create the same).
- Have been to 7 countries in the last year.
- Have an amazing community of people from around the world, whom I call family, and who now also call Lisbon home.
- Continue to receive feedback from my family about how happy I look, feel, and am, and now they all want to move to Lisbon. 😂
In reflecting on why this transition changed everything for me, I realize that moving to Portugal allowed me to tap into my own version of liberation:
- I feel safe here. I’m not constantly burdened with the fear that a mass shooting could happen at any time while I’m shopping in the grocery store or going for a night out. I feel at ease walking alone at night.
- I have access to organic, healthy food not loaded with chemicals (just Google EU vs. US food regulations additives + and GMOs).
- Because these needs are met, I’ve been able to heal deep-seated traumas and disrupt old patterns that have prevented me from expanding and deepening my connection to self.
- I’m surrounded by beautiful, thoughtful, courageous, brilliant people from Portugal, Italy, France, the United States, Germany, Japan, Brazil and everywhere in between. Often, I’ve heard people say that Lisbon attracts a certain kind of authenticity and joy that you can’t just find anywhere, and I can attest that in this way, there’s something a bit magical about this city.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I’m sharing all of this to say that like me, maybe you simply want more. And that’s totally okay. I believe it’s part of our human nature to desire growth, a joyous life, more freedom, and, more space for play and rest. I believe that following these desires is essential to our ability to thrive as humans.
As you’re seeking more for yourself and your family, honoring those that came before you, and creating a legacy for those coming after you, I invite you to own this desire! Let it be known. Don’t let the fears of those around you stop you from following what you know is your path, and find others who can co-elevate with you on your journey (trust me, there are many of us out there who are ready to walk with you!)
Disrupt the shame. It’s never shameful to desire a more liberated or expansive life, no matter how “good” (those around you say) your life is.
What do you want? What do you seek? You are not serving yourself or the world if you choose to play small. You are the only one who can speak to and for your desires. You are the only one who can create this more liberated life for you.
And when things feel difficult or messy or you have people in your ear telling you what you should and shouldn’t do, know that you have some chosen family in Lisbon that will hold space for you to find and explore your more.
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