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Move to Lisbon Tile Selfie

Our Move to Lisbon – The Inside Scoop

In Portugal, Travel by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch19 Comments

Surprise – we’re living in Portugal! Read on to find out why we decided to move to Lisbon after three years of digital nomad life.

Move to Lisbon Tile Selfie

Did you move to Lisbon?!!” We’ve been getting this question from friends who’ve suddenly noticed that we’ve been living in Lisbon for six months.

Our easy answer to this question is YES. Things, however, get a little more complicated when they ask why we moved to Lisbon. We get it. Many of our friends have never traveled to Portugal and some haven’t had the opportunity to visit Europe yet.

It’s not that we don’t have a reason. Rather, we have several reasons for moving to Portugal’s vibrant capital city. We also have a connection to Lisbon that dates back to our honeymoon over a decade ago.

Our History with Lisbon

Tile Montage in Portugal

We took these photos during our honeymoon with the intention of creating a tile montage. It took us over a decade but here it is.

Portugal and its hilly capital were far from the spotlight when we honeymooned on the Iberian peninsula in 2007. Way back when we began dating, we often ended our evenings with port wine and… ‘conversation.’ That love for port wine led to an agreement that if a honeymoon ever happened, it would happen in Portugal.

With few blogs espousing Lisbon’s charms back then, we hobbled together an amazing trip based on a lot of research and an equal amount of good luck. As for dining back then, all we had were forum sites like Chowhound and Egullet. We enjoyed some great meals but Portugal, and particularly Lisbon, remained largely unexplored tourist territory.

Port Tasting in Porto

Our love for port wine started in Philadelphia and solidified in Porto during our honeymoon.

We joked about moving to Lisbon during our honeymoon. If only we had taken our selves seriously! We could have bought a mansion back in the day – probably even a sweet estate in Cascais. Had we made that progressive decision in 2007, you probably wouldn’t be reading this website right now because we’d be rich.

It took us over a decade to return to Lisbon and another six months to commit to the big move, but now, we’re not only living in Lisbon like locals – we are locals. We have an apartment lease, utility bills and residency cards to prove it!

Why We Moved to Lisbon

Lisbon Cable Car

Lisbon combines urban sophistication and old-world charm.

Getting to this place (literally and figuratively) wasn’t simple. After leaving our comfortable Philadelphia lives to answer the call to travel, we gallivanted around much of the earth in three wonderful yet exhausting years that brought us to both coasts of the USA and to distant spots like South Africa, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Though we have no regrets about the amazing experiences and life-long friendships we accumulated during 36 months of non-stop travel, we were tired of being tired. It was time to make a change.

Stansted Airport Waiting Area

Have you ever traveled from London’s Stansted Airport at 6 am? Trust us, it’s the opposite of glamorous.

Those who’ve been on tour for an extended period of time can relate. Constant touring means new beds multiple times a month. It also means constantly packing your things before moving to a destination by means of an exhausting plane, train, bus or car trip.

This type of travel makes you a target for theft. In fact, all of our camera gear was robbed in Cape Town and Daryl’s smartphone was pickpocketed on an Athens metro. When you’re in non-stop travel mode, important needs like health and security become secondary considerations to just getting from here to there.

Mindi with Broken Luggage

Mindi is happy after her Briggs & Riley suitcase got repaired in London. Wear & Tear is an issue for full-time travelers.

The nomadic lifestyle can be challenging for those in their 20’s. It’s even more so for Gen-Xers like us.

And while being on the road taught us valuable lessons about overabundant materialism, it’s still nice to have some stuff. Nothing gives us more joy these days than little things like a recent coffee maker purchase and using our Japanese kitchen knives in our kitchen.

Being in a fixed place also allows us to pursue interests beyond the website. Daryl gave up his life as a musician for the three years we traveled. He hopes to rekindle that passion in Lisbon.

Daryl on Keyboard

Daryl is ready to tickle the keys once again. This photo was taken during a performance at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

Once travel started to lose its charm, we began resenting trips to amazing destinations. While we never lost our wanderlust, the constant work of travel caused our sense of wonderment for new cultures and experiences to dim slightly.

We knew that it was time for us to settle down, but where???

For various reasons, mostly financial and political, we didn’t want to return to the states. Let’s face it – America is expensive. Don’t get us started on the current state of the U.S. government. Yes, we’ve consistently voted on an absentee basis since we’ve been on the road. Despite our expat status, we consider ourselves proud Americans and will never relinquish our passports.

But why Lisbon? After you read about our reasons, the answer becomes clear.

Lifestyle

Lisbon Skyline

The City of Seven Hills has amazing views at every twist and turn.

Lisbon’s charms are now far from secret. In fact, it’s difficult to find a travel blog that doesn’t have an ‘ultimate’ Lisbon guide.

After living in Lisbon for six months and counting, we appreciate the city beyond its touristic charms. For starters, the weather is GORGEOUS here. Most apartments don’t have heaters or air conditioners but that’s okay since the climate is super mild for most of the year.

Even after the hottest days, cool breezes grace the city at dusk. Due to our first-floor apartment locale and excellent cross ventilation, we’ve not yet had to use a fan to sleep despite Daryl’s status as an air conditioning addict.

View of Lisbon from Parque Eduardo VIII

Did we mention that Lisbon has amazing views? You can find this one at Parque Eduardo VIII.

The cost of living in Portugal makes Lisbon attractive for ex-pats. While the market for rental apartments has gone up, it’s still possible to eat an affordable dinner for four for under €50. (Yes, that includes wine.) Ubers are cheap and widely available here, and the public transportation is both ubiquitous and cost-effective.

Lisbon welcomes people from all over the world to visit for a few days, making it relatively easy for them and us to stay longer. In the relatively short time that we’ve been living in Lisbon, we’ve made friends from as far away as Australia and as close as around the corner.

Our only challenge with meeting new people is the seemingly non-stop flow of friends who keep passing through Lisbon during their travels. We’re not complaining but it’s a challenge nonetheless.

Location

Portugal Map

Lisbon’s location on Europe’s west coast is ideal for our travel lifestyle.

We’ve lived for substantial periods of time in Southeast Asia and South Africa and, while those locations are ridiculously affordable for Americans, they’re also a good distance from the United States. Traveling home required long haul flights, and the jet lag from countries like Vietnam and Japan proved unbearable.

We can fly direct from Lisbon to New York in under 8 hours and back in under 7 hours. Lisbon’s airport, while crowded, is centrally located (just 15 minutes from our current apartment) and offers flights all over Europe and the world. Since Portugal is especially close to Spain, it’s entirely possible for us to take weekend trips to Spanish cities like Barcelona, San Sebastian, Valencia and Madrid.

Portuguese Cuisine

Bacalhau

Cod is an important protein in Portuguese cuisine. Accordingly, we enjoy countless versions of Bacalhau at Lisbon restaurants.

Loyal readers already know that food is an important part of our lifestyle. Living in a city without an active culinary culture is simply out of the question for us. After dining around the world, we have high standards when it comes to what we eat.

Lisbon passes our culinary test with flying colors.

For those unfamiliar, Portuguese cuisine is both diverse and flavorful. Not only did Portuguese navigators impact food in countries they colonized in South America, Asia and Africa, but they also brought back spices and ingredients from these faraway places.

Pasteis de Natas in Lisbon

Portuguese egg tarts known as Pasteis de Natas are reason enough to move to Lisbon.

All these years later, we still adore the food in Lisbon. Some days we choose to eat traditional Portuguese food classics like Arroz de Pato, Chouriço, Porco Preto or Bacalhau, while other days we opt for global food like Hot Pot or Ramen. And mornings are sweeter when we visit Lisbon bakeries that sell Pasteis de Natas all over the city. Oh, how we love Portuguese egg tarts!

We never go thirsty with the ready supply of third wave coffee at specialty coffee houses around the city. Then there’s inexpensive Portuguese wine available at restaurants, supermarkets and specialty shops. Let’s just say that we love it and leave it there.

Our Business

Mindi at Swissotel Grand Shanghai

Mindi takes her publishing responsibilities seriously even when staying in luxury hotels like this one in Shanghai.

Although it sounds mundane, securing a favorable work environment was an integral factor in our decision to move to Lisbon. Since this website is both our passion and livelihood, we need to live in a city that’s conducive to our operations.

Lisbon is an ideal business location in many ways. Logistically, it’s position on Europe’s west coast provides us with easy access to both Europe and North America. We live relatively close to the city’s international airport and can easily fly to many destinations on both first-line and discount air carriers. The longer we live here, the more we appreciate TAP and its Star Alliance partners!

Internet is critical for us since we run an online business. The internet in Lisbon is as fast as cities like Bucharest and Tallinn, We installed 1 Gbps fiber internet in our apartment and can easily access decent internet speed at cafes around town.

Local Experts

Cascais Selfie

Portugal is already providing us with a myriad of business opportunities. This photo is from a video shoot in Cascais that we produced for the Avis.

Living in a set location has created an extra benefit that we didn’t originally contemplate. Companies now recognize us as local Lisbon experts, a situation which is already opening doors and creating opportunities.

We’re excited to share a recent project with Avis. Like us, the global rental car company is bullish about Portugal. Check out Avis’ new online Portugal Road Trip Guide with awesome content including videos and articles created by local experts including us.

You can watch us eat Pasteis de Natas and take day trips to nearby Cascais and Evora coming soon. We even take a class and learn how to bake Pasteis de Natas from scratch.

What’s Next?

Holland America Selfie in Norway

Our recent partnership with Holland America took us on a luxury cruise from Amsterdam to Norway. As great as the cruise was, it was equally great to return to our own home in Lisbon.

Now that we have a home base, we’re rediscovering our love for traveling with carry-on luggage.

We have loads of upcoming trips on the docket which means that we’ll be creating more food guides and videos. We also have several exciting ideas that we can better implement now that we’re in one place.

Watch this space to see where we go next. We can’t wait to take you along with us on our journey!

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About the Author

Saveur Magazine's BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel influencers are based in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Comments

  1. What an excellent summary of your reasons for choosing Lisbon, Daryl and Mindi. I totally concur.
    For me, one more reason I love the city is having met you two during the first month of actually living in my apartment. I already felt a passion for the city and hanging with you two has only enhanced it!

    1. Author

      Thanks Susanna!! You’ve enhanced our experience as well!

  2. I’ve never been to Portugal and now need to put it on my radar! Fantastic and exciting news, I love following you guys!

    1. Author

      Thanks Michele!! Come on by. We’d definitely make time to hang.

  3. Beautiful!!! I feel a tiny bit like I’ve been on this journey with you!! Lisbon has moved to the top of the list of places I’d like to visit – it sounds so welcoming!! I can’t wait to see what’s next for you guys!!

    1. Author

      You will love Lisbon when you visit. We look forward to welcoming you when you do!

  4. I love this post so much and I am SO excited for you two! Especially to have knives in your kitchen you love! We know the feeling. 🙂 Mazel tov and the best of the best of luck to you both! Looking forward to reading updates and hopefully seeing you again at IMM!

    1. Author

      Aw, thank you so much! We waited to officially share the news until our residency cards were official. And mazel tov to YOU on your recent elopement. So exciting!

  5. Loved reading this and seeing all those adorable photos of you both. I can certainly understand the draw of Lisbon and hope i’ll get to rendezvous with you there!

    1. Author

      Thanks Alison! We hope to rendezvous with you in Lisbon sooner than later.

    1. Author

      Thanks Marek. We look forward to many good times ahead!!

  6. Love it! With Brexit on our horizon, we may move to Portugal just to keep our EU passports. It’s a great country with all the pluses you highlighted and the government is definitely one of the more amenable places to live and get residency.

    1. Author

      What can we say? While it doesn’t have all the amenities of London, it is a GREAT place to live. We’ve been back after trips to great cities in France, Germany and Italy and have enjoyed returning even more each time.

  7. I for one am very happy you guys are our neighbours! 3 hours away but that’s close enough!! I love the old photos of you both against the tiles. Please come up to Porto to visit again soon!

    1. Author

      We will!! We can’t wait to return to Porto since it’s the first destination we traveled to together in Europe. It really holds a special place in our hearts. The tile photo was fun and inspired on a whim while we were traveling purely for fun. We kind of miss those days.

  8. I am considering Portugal for a future home, I’d love to hear about the process of getting residency status. And congratulations! Portugal is amazing!

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