Living the Dream – Time Speeds Up

I feel time speeding up as I live my dream in Portugal. Part of that dream included more traveling now that I have easier access to European destinations, reading more books, taking more walks.

And then there are my general retirement goals of more time for genealogy research and posting my research to Cherokee Roots blog. Plus, staying in contact with all of the extended family relationships I have discovered with my genealogy research and following up on our shared leads.

There is at least one story in me pressing to become a book, the story of my grandmother’s life. So much other writing I intended to do during this time, including posting more often to this blog!

For today, I am going to post photos from some of the travel that has kept me busy the last two months.

One follow-up note to my previous post before the photos – I was granted non-habitual resident status and am now searching for a local accountant to assist in filing my Portugal tax form this month. Starting to feel anxious about that as I am having trouble finding someone. More about that next month after I have hopefully filed my tax form for Portugal!

Now for the photos –


St. James Park – London




Walking Food Tour – Milan


The Medina – Tangier


Malaga – Spain


Mercado – Funchal, Madeira


The Ritz – London


Tea in the Georgian Room – Harrods, London

Non-Habitual Resident Status and Taxes

In my last post I mentioned that I would be consulting with an accountant about filing taxes in Portugal. The news was all good. However, I did become aware of another step that I need to take in order to not pay income tax in Portugal.

I have until March 31 of the year following the year in which I obtained my Temporary Resident status to file as a non-habitual resident. It is a simple online process to apply, followed up by submitting proof electronically or by mail that I am currently paying taxes in the country of which I am a citizen. So what does that mean for my tax obligations here in Portugal?

Once my status is granted I will need to file a report online showing that I am still residing in Portugal and that I am still paying taxes in the country from which my income originates.

Certain types of income are allowed to be exempt and others are capped at a 20% tax rate. Here is the abbreviated version of how tax obligation is applied if have non-habitual resident status.

  • For a period of 10 years, taxation related to IRS (personal income tax) on labour income in Portugal is at a fixed rate of 20%
  • No double taxation for pension incomes or for employment and self-employment income obtained abroad for a period of 10 years

I will still need to file a tax return each year in Portugal, with no payment due, and I will also need to update my non-habitual resident status annually for 10 years. Then, a new set of rules regarding citizenship and taxes will apply. I am not going to worry about that yet!

For more information


The Dream Continues


Where Did the Last Month Go?

I do not know how a month has gone by since I last posted. I had a bout with a severe chest cold which laid me up for a while. However, mostly I have been reading, walking and spending time with family.

My grandson celebrated his 13th birthday in Colares, Portugal. Five days with my son and his family sped by with a birthday party, family card games, sushi dinner out in Malveira da Serra for my grandson’s birthday and hours of laughter and tears of nostalgia watching videos of my grandson from the ages of one to five. Included in the videos were videos of him at four years of age on his first visit to see me in Praia da Luz at Easter.

The weather continues to be sunny but has dropped in temperature and when the wind blows it is actually chilly! We had one stormy day which I especially loved as it is my favorite weather for a walk next to the ocean.

I am leaving for Madrid in a week to spend six days volunteering with the Vaughantown English Immersion program. More about that when I return.

And I haven’t forgotten that I owe my readers a list of the contents of my final packet for my SEF interview. I am meeting with an accountant next this month to make certain that I filed all of the necessary paperwork to be exempt from taxes in Portugal. I will let you know what I find out.

In the meantime, may your dreams be fulfilled. They can be, one step at at time.


What Do You Do All Day?

I get asked this question a lot. Not just since I moved here for nine months a year. Even when I came for one to two months each year, I was always surprised that people were puzzled, especially since I travel alone, with what I would do with myself each day, .

And yet, the question still surprises me. When I travel I love to settle in, make myself at home and feel like a resident, even when I visit some place for a week. Of course, if I only have a week somewhere I usually spend a lot more of my time exploring new places each day than I do when I have an extended amount of time in one place.

On trips as short as three days, I have a definite ‘nesting’ routine. I find the closest neighborhood grocery. I unpack EVERYTHING from my suitcase. Most often I rent small places from owners when traveling. However, when in a hotel for at least three nights I still nest!

So, my answer to this question, especially when I am some place for more than a week, is that my routine is much like it is at home. I shop for groceries, engage in social media exchange, go for long walks, read, do laundry, etc, etc, etc.

I do spend more time than at home exploring the world around me, learning new things, meeting new people.

Now that I am in my own version of paradise for a full nine months, I find that I am struggling with the balance of my day to day activities a bit more. When home, besides the normal business of everyday life, I do some travel writing for publication, work part time as a travel writing editor, and research my family history and blog about it ( Usually when traveling I do less research and writing and spend more time on those things when I get back home.

So my struggle…I pictured that once I was in Portugal almost full time my schedule would look more like it does at home, with the addition of finally putting pen to paper on two books that are reminding me every day that they are waiting for their stories to be told.

I have my daily to do list where I check off items each day, and move others forward to another day when I do not complete all of the tasks that I have set for myself. However, I find that I spend way more time at my new home, expanding my breakfast time on the patio from the 20 minutes it is in the U.S. to one to two hours of tea and reading thrown in. How do you walk away from the patio when almost every day is full of sun and sea views!


View from my Patio

At home I walk four miles per day almost every day. I do the same here breaking my walks in to two or three walks per day along the oceanside promenade and through the village.

Yesterday was a good example of how a walk on a cold, but sunny, day made it very difficult to go back to my condo and start on my to do list.

And then the day before, I was taking what I planned to be a 30 minute walk before digging into some research on my computer. Noticing that a cafe that had been closed for a few weeks had reopened, and having as always a book in my backpack, I sat down for a traditional Caipirinha and read for an hour!


Caipirinha at Lazuli Bar

Cleary, I am still working on the right balance for me, well, for the two of me. For there are two of me for sure. One is ready at 72, to run full speed into a relaxed retirement and do nothing but read, watch good films, sit in the sun or take a walk whenever the mood strikes. Oh…but that other me…the one who feels driven by the realization that there are only so many days left in this life and so much still to accomplish. So many things that I do not want to leave undone.

And there is the answer to the question, what do I do all day. I am at peace, I fret, I am relaxed, I am driven. I am, and I do, exactly as elsewhere, fill each day to its fullest and yet long for more.

Praia da Luz – Portugal Village

Strolling along the beachside promenade in Praia da Luz yesterday I was struck again by how the town reclaims its Portuguese village status once the tourist season crowd has mostly departed.


Quiet Sunday Afternoon

On the benches in the square at the end of the promenade, Portuguese couples soak up the sun of a peaceful afternoon.

Walking towards the restaurants at the other end I pass young families joking with each other. The sound of Portuguese is music to my ears. In the busy days of summer and early fall you are much more likely to hear English being spoken (mostly by British and Irish on holiday) than Portuguese near the beach.

While the international vibe during the busier times of the year is energizing and a boon to the local economy, I am happiest gazing out on the near empty beach and listening to the native language of this village that I love.


Nearly Empty Beach at Praia de Luz

Portuguese Resident Permit


SEF Office in Portimao

On November 29th I arrived at the SEF Office in Portimao anxious, yet confident that I had everything that I needed to complete my application for a Portuguese Resident Permit.

I arrived earlier than my appointed time and received a number for the order in which I would be seen. The process was easier and less stressful than I had anticipated. I first met with a person who reviewed my file and handed many papers back to me that I did not need (I had decided to bring anything that they might ask for!).

He then took digital fingerprints of both index fingers and took a digital photo, similar to a passport photo. Next I placed a digital signature under my photo. He asked me to correct one item on my cover sheet and then to wait to be seen by the person who would finalize my permit. I spent about 10 minutes at this first desk.

After a 15 minute wait I was seated in front of a woman. She first scanned my paperwork. All of the paperwork that you bring in is returned to you. After clarifying a few items I was asked for the fee (as of this writing 159,70 Euros). The woman who was assisting me printed out a receipt and a one page temporary permit before telling me my Resident Permit card would arrive in the mail in about a week.

The entire process in SEF once my number was called took about one hour.

I walked out, smile on my face, and had a celebratory lunch while waiting for my bus to Praia da Luz.


Ham and Cheese Omelette, Fries and a Salad – 5 Euros!

A bus ride home and I was gazing at the cloudless sky and deep blue ocean in Praia da Luz.


View from Promenade – Praia da Luz


Coming soon – content list of packet for Resident Permit Application for retirees. The requirements vary some depending on the type of Resident status for which you are applying. I will also be posting information on various health insurance options. Having health insurance that covers you in Portugal is one of the requirements for any kind of Resident Permit.

Continuing to live the dream in Portugal….


Real Life Issues of Living Your Dream

Living your dream in another country does not eliminate the day to day business that we all deal with in every day life. Some of that business is unique to whatever county you have chosen to call home. Some is universal.

One of the first things that needs to be addressed for someone who is not a citizen of any of the EU countries is the limitation of days that you can stay in any EU country under the Schengen Agreement. Schengen Information

A short summary of the impact of the Schengen Agreement is that even if you are a citizen of a country that does not require a visa to enter an EU country, you are limited to a 90 day stay in any 180 day period. For more details on how this plays out when traveling, see the link above for Schengen Information.

So, one of the first questions you need to ask is does the country you are interested in moving to have a process to apply for residency status allowing you to stay for more than 90s days,

In Portugal the answer is yes. There are a variety of different options for extending the 90 days. This online Portugal Immigration Guide does a good job of outlining the options.

If your plan is to live here for most of each year you need to start with a Portuguese resident visa which must be applied for at the nearest Portuguese Consulate to your permanent address in your home county. The link I have provided is for Consulates in the United States.

You must have the Portuguese resident visa before you can apply for a Portuguese resident permit (non-EU). The resident permit will be applied for in Portugal once you arrive. The residence visa gives you 120 days to complete the resident permit application at the nearest SEF office.  The English translation for what SEF stands for is Immigration and Borders Service.

Link for information on applying for Portuguese Residence Permit

I found the best way to work through the process was to gather everything on the list that was obvious and then to email the Consulate with specific questions about anything of which I was unsure. Then I waited until 90 days before my planned departure for Portugal (the window allowed) and mailed off my application.

My application was approved and then came the scary part. Mailing my passport to the Consulate for them to attach my Resident Visa just ten days before I was to board my flight to Portugal. My passport arrived back to me with my much anticipated visa just a week before I flew off to start living my dream.

Next up for me in this residency process – my appointment with SEF the end of this month to obtain my Portuguese residency permit. I will share more about that process after it is completed.

Any questions? Ask me in the comments section. Any readers with experience to share on obtaining a resident visa for Portugal or elsewhere?