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But hopefully not for long
Did you hear? At the end of November, I gave up my underpriced Brooklyn apartment and moved my earthly essentials into a 5’ x 6’ x 7’ storage unit.
Rewind: In early Autumn of 2021, I decided to renew my lease for one final year. While I didn’t know where I’d eventually go, I knew I had to move out of NYC—and I figured 13 months would be plenty of time to figure out where to land.
Spoiler alert: It wasn’t. Hence, the title of this post.
How it started
At the beginning of 2022, I had my sights set on returning to the West Coast—not to LA, but perhaps San Diego or the Pacific Northwest. I visited Portland and Seattle in the Spring, and learned I much prefer Portland. And while I’ve always loved San Diego, California’s impending desertification and rising sea levels make me hesitate to put down roots there.
But then, someone (ok, she was a psychic) asked if I’d ever considered living in Europe. Of course I had thought about it—who hasn’t since 2016?—but I just assumed it was out of the question unless I got hired by a European company (meh) or married a European (open to it). She suggested it might not be as much of a logistical nightmare as I imagined; so, long story short… I’m giving it a whirl!
How it’s been going
After selling all my furniture and moving a few things into storage in Brooklyn, I flew home to LA to spend December with my mom. (Read: 32-year-old drifter moves back in with her mother.) I didn’t know where exactly I’d be going in Europe, but I had at least narrowed it down to Spain (because I speak Spanish) and Portugal (because it’s cheap and everyone seems to like it, and Spanish is just a hop, skip, and a jump to Portuguese, right?*). Plus, those climates seem comparable to California’s, and a big factor in my search for a new home is being able to comfortably be outside most of the year—and ideally, grow my own food.
Yes, this also means that since November 29, 2022, I’ve been living out of ONE strategically-packed, carry-on-size suitcase and ONE small backpack (plus a tote bag)—and I will continue to do so through April 2023, at the very least. See photo above.
Not wanting to live with my mother for more than a few weeks (no offense, Mom!), I loosely planned to get my butt to Europe sometime in January. When I realized that most flights from California would have an East Coast layover, I decided to book a December 29th flight to New York so I could spend New Years Eve with friends and also attend the January 5th dentist appointment I scheduled months ago. Things were falling into place!
Still in LA, I decided to let flight prices dictate the next (or rather, first) leg of my journey, and Lisbon & Porto were both cheaper than flying into Barcelona. (Madrid is lovely but I’m looking for something less metropolitan and more coastal.) I ended up booking a January 7th flight to Porto, after which I plan to bop my way southward to explore the rest of the country.
Neither a vacation nor a permanent move, I’m considering this European excursion a scouting trip—I’m working remotely and looking for my next home! While I have no return flight booked yet, I plan to return stateside sometime in late April. (There’s a family gathering scheduled for May, and I may or may not have booked another dentist appointment for early that month. We mustn’t forsake our dental hygiene, folks!)
Due to the Shengen area 90/180-day rule, my regular tourist visa will only allow me to spend 90 days in most of Europe for the first half of this year. Because I want to explore many areas in Portugal, I likely won’t make it to Spain during this trip. So, when I inevitably need to exit the Shengen area, I’m thinking of checking out Ireland—recommendations encouraged!
So, what have I planned?
Because I’ll be working, I was glad to discover Outsite, a co-living community for remote workers with locations around the world. Maybe I’ll even make a few friends during this experience. :)
My current, loose itinerary:
Jan 8 - 23 | Booked | Two weeks at Outsite Porto (where I’m currently writing this!)
Jan 23 - Feb 6 | Booked | Two weeks at Outsite Lisbon
Feb 6 - 20 | Tentative | Two weeks at Outsite Cascais
Feb 20 - March 7 | Up in the air | Either a two-week jaunt to Ireland or a road trip in Southern Portugal (anyone keen to join?)
March 7 - 23 | Booked | Permaculture Design Certification on a regenerative farm in Southern Portugal!
March 23 - April 4 | Up in the air | Either the Irish exit or the Portuguese road trip
April 4 - 10 | Up in the air | Maaaybe this Natural Building Course at the same farm as above
The rest of April… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Please feel free to share with whomever and/or comment/reply with any relevant recommendations, friends of yours I should meet up with, etc. I am truly flying by the seat of my pants :D
And in case you were wondering, Portugal is 5 hours ahead of New York and 8 hours ahead of California.
*I now acknowledge that Portuguese is as different from Spanish as it is similar, and I might as well be learning French. Also, I think I might be learning Brazilian Portuguese??