Bruce, Portugal

Who are you?

My name is Bruce Joffe. If you insist, honorifics can be added: Rev. Bruce H. Joffe, Ph.D. If, by “who am I?” you are asking “what do you do?”, I am a semi-retired communications professor, church pastor, magazine publisher, book author, and marketing guru, who currently is publisher and creative director of Portugal Living Magazine.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

We bought a vacation bolt 15 years ago in southern Spain. But seeing the handwriting on the USA’s wall, we moved to Portugal shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated. We wanted a better, healthier, more affordable life. Doesn’t everyone?

What challenges did you face during the move?

Everything from snowstorms that grounded airline flights for more than a week to flying with our three Miniature Schnauzers … with our entire family being admitted to the European Union.

Did you need to obtain a visa, residency permit or work permit? What was the process like?

All things considered? Not that bad. We needed a visa, and Portugal was much more willing to welcome us – beginning with the visa application process – than was Spain. Bureaucracy may be inherent to both countries, but Portugal charges much less to play the games than does Spain.

How does the cost of living compare with your previous country?

We own three houses – two in Portugal and our original vacation bolt in Spain – for the price (US $135,000) we sold our house for in the USA. From food to healthcare and insurance to the internet, the cost of living in Portugal (and Spain) is far lower than in the USA.

Is it easy to open and use an account with a local bank?

Yes. We have three bank accounts: two in Portugal and one in Spain.

How did you find somewhere to live?

We determined what we needed (and wanted), then researched property portals in Portugal online.

Are there many other expats in your area?

Some. Quite a few. But nowhere near as many as in the expat meccas: Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, etc. (We live in the country’s interior and on its border with Spain at Badajoz.)

What is your relationship like with the locals?

Excellent. We live with them, not apart from them. We try to speak their language. And, often, we prefer their company over that of other “expats.”

What do you like about life where you are?

It’s simple. Peaceful. The way life used to be in the USA (in retrospect) during the 1950s-60s.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Nothing. What do we miss? Friends, family, and foods that can’t be found anywhere nearby.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The language!

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Do your homework. Research. The world is at your fingertips, courtesy of the internet.

What are your plans for the future?

To live happily ever after … with fewer worries and regrets.