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Coronavirus In Portugal: How We're Dealing With It As Americans and Early Retirees Abroad

Dear Our Rich Journey-ers,

Today marks day fourteen of our self-imposed (turned government-imposed) isolation/social distancing in Lisbon, Portugal.


We’ve had a lot of people reach out to ask us how things are going in Portugal. It means a lot to us that so many people are thinking about us! In response to all the love we’ve been getting, I decided to write this blog post - to share with you how we’re holding up here in Portugal . . . and to also share some lessons that we’ve learned over these past two weeks.

Lesson No. 1: Don’t Be a Mary

Time to lay it all out. Things have changed. Portugal’s President declared a state of emergency last Wednesday. The girls are no longer attending their Portuguese private school - all schools have shut down; the girls are now enrolled in an online school; Sunoa’s basketball practices are cancelled; Mel’s swimming is cancelled; all gyms have shut down; we haven’t met up with friends; we haven’t eaten out; we spend most of our days inside the house; and Sunoa won’t have any monthly follow-ups for her new braces (that she just got last month) for quite some time.


The great news: We’re feeling safe and healthy.


Despite feeling healthy and symptom-free, it still makes sense to stay inside. We certainly don’t want to catch the virus. At the same time, we don’t want to be asymptomatic carriers and unknowingly pass it on to someone else (like Typhoid Mary).

Brief history lesson: Mary Mallon (later referred to as Typhoid Mary) was the first asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever in the United States. She worked as a cook and didn’t properly wash her hands while preparing food (mind you, this was the early 1900s). Authorities traced certain typhoid outbreaks back to her. They instructed Mary to stop working as a cook and warned her that she was contributing to the typhoid outbreak. Being asymptomatic and thinking she was fine, Mary continued to work as a cook and ultimately infected more than 50 people with typhoid. To keep her from infecting more people, Mary was arrested and forced to live on a remote island in quarantine for more than fifteen years. She ultimately died in quarantine.

Note to self: Don’t. Be. A. Mary.

Lesson No. 2: Be thankful that you have turkey . . . even if the turkey isn’t chicken.

Today was the day I ate turkey and pretended it was chicken. It wasn’t fun. I wasn’t happy about it. I don’t like turkey. But, when you go to the grocery store to buy a week’s worth of food, and it’s not until you realize at the checkout that you bought peru instead of frango - it’s time to suck it up and eat turkey for the week. Note to self: Pay better attention to the labels next time you go shopping!


Second note to self: The next time you go shopping - be thankful that there’s turkey, chicken, beef, bread, pasta, vegetables, fruit . . . even toilet paper at the grocery store! Every time we’ve gone to the grocery store, it’s been stocked with everything we’ve needed. There don’t appear to be any hoarders. At a minimum, if there are hoarders, the supply generally seems to be keeping up with the demand. We’re very thankful for that.

As a quick side note - I do want to point out that our grocery shopping habits have changed. We no longer shop for groceries daily. Instead, we shop once a week and stock up on groceries for the week. But, this has less to do with hoarding and more to do with the fact that we want to limit our interactions with people in more confined spaces (like the grocery store).



Lesson No. 3: Don’t be busy. Be Productive.

Lately, we’ve been pretty much confined to our home. We go out once (or twice at most) a week to go to the grocery store and we go outside for a brief daily walk. Other than that, we’re full-fledged homebodies! And (since we have no other choice at the moment), we’re embracing it! We’re studying our Portuguese, we’re doing at-home workouts, the girls are doing online schooling, we’re talking to the girls more about investing, and we’re reading more. In short - we’re choosing to be productive; we’re choosing to make good use of our time at home; and we’re choosing to move closer to our goals. Because what other options do we have?

Obviously, there are other options. But, I asked what other options do we have. For us, there is no other option. We won’t be busy for the sake of being busy. We’ll make good use of our time inside. We’ll remain productive. And when we finally get back to how things were, we’ll . . .

Lesson No. 4: Remember to stay safe and healthy and appreciate the small things in life.


The REALITY of Retiring in Portugal | Retiring Early In Portugal: What We've Learned


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Hello, We’re Amon & Christina

We’re former federal government employees that focused on saving, making, and investing money so that we could grow enough wealth in our investments to never have to work again.

And, guess what? We did it! At the age of 39, we reached financial independence, quit our jobs, and . . . we retired!

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