April 11, 2023

Living the Dream: First Impressions of Moving to Portugal with a D7 Visa

Living the Dream: First Impressions of Moving to Portugal with a D7 Visa

“I believe that Portugal is becoming the California of Europe.” A chance meeting at Web Summit in Lisbon led to a Badass Digital Nomads listener sharing her experience of moving from the US to Portugal.

Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
Audible podcast player badge
Amazon Music podcast player badge
iHeartRadio podcast player badge
Stitcher podcast player badge
Castbox podcast player badge
Castro podcast player badge
TuneIn podcast player badge
Deezer podcast player badge
Overcast podcast player badge
Pandora podcast player badge
PocketCasts podcast player badge
Podcast Addict podcast player badge
Podchaser podcast player badge
RadioPublic podcast player badge
Soundcloud podcast player badge
Spreaker podcast player badge
YouTube Channel podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

Get $10 off Bordr’s services for moving to Portugal.


“I believe that Portugal is becoming the California of Europe.”


A chance meeting at Web Summit in Lisbon led to this Badass Digital Nomads listener sharing her experience of moving from the US to Portugal.

Originally from Venezuela, Aracelis speaks on what drew her to Lisbon, Portugal and how she got her D7 visa to live and work there long-term. She talks candidly about how she was able to quell her anxiety of moving abroad and getting her D7 visa, and integrate with the local community. She also highlights some of the cultural/lifestyle differences she’s noticed between Portugal and the United States.


What You’ll Learn: 

  • Why to consider moving to Portugal.
  • How to overcome concerns and anxiety about moving abroad.
  • Where to meet people in Lisbon.
  • How to get help with your Portugal D7 visa.
  • Leaving your comfort zone for a digital nomad lifestyle.
  • Free and low-cost activities to do in Lisbon.


Special Offers: 


Meet This Week’s Guest:

Aracelis Nass is a Corporate Nomad,  Senior Business Program Manager with more than 15 years of experience in the Tech industry. Ara helps customers to leverage most of the latest technology developments, including Cloud computing. 
Internationalist by profession, Ara has lived in many countries and cities and has developed broad cultural awareness, with experiences in Caracas, Miami, Dubai, and Seattle, and now enjoying life in Lisbon.

Either by mentoring, coaching, or in speaking engagements, Ara has a passion for empowering women and the next generation to achieve more in business. She is also a Sofi Financial Institution Ambassador, focusing on fostering financial awareness and personal financial planning for the next generation of professionals.


Connect with Kristin and Support the Show:




See the show notes pages on BadassDigitalNomads.com or TravelingwithKristin.com/podcast  for time stamps, transcripts, and more resources from this episode.



Sneak Peek


Aracelis:    00:00:00    I'm in love with the city. This feeling of knowing that I am in the right place is surprise us after being traveling for so long and to different places where I don't have a home anymore. Being here in Lisboa has been like super nice experience that I, I have in my heart, so I'm in love. Yeah.  


Introduction: Welcome to Badass Digital Nomads, where we're pushing the boundaries of remote work and travel, all while staying grounded with a little bit of old school philosophy, self-development, and business advice from our guests.


Kristin Wilson, host:    00:00:38    Hey there, Kristin, from Traveling with Kristin here, and welcome to episode 202 of Badass Digital Nomads. Today you're going to hear from a fellow podcast listener who recognized me in the crowd at Web Summit last year in Lisbon, Portugal. And I remember walking through the mall looking for the entrance among tens of thousands of people. And all of a sudden I hear Kristin, Traveling with Kristin <laugh> and I turn around and it was a Aracelis Nass who I actually already knew through mutual friends with, uh, Julia, who's the co-founder of the Wi-Fi Tribe, and also aprevious guest on Badass Digital Nomads. And so it was kind of a funny coincidence or synchronicity. And so as we were waiting in the very, very, very long line to get into Web Summit on day one, I asked her if she would let me record some of our conversation because as we were talking, she was sharing so much valuable information about her journey to move from the US to Portugal.  


Kristin:    00:01:48    And so I invited her on the show and here we are. Today you'll hear why she decided to leave her home in Seattle and move to Portugal and why she doesn't regret it. And there's some extra layers of complexity with the Aracelis because she was born in Venezuela. And so it's been really hard for her to find her place in the world, but it sounds like she may have found it in Lisbon. And I will leave more of my reflections and insights on this conversation and kind of my top takeaways at the end. But just so you know, one company that she mentions that helped her with getting her paperwork for the Portugal D7 Visa is called Bordr. And they can help you with things like opening a bank account, getting a tax ID number, and a lot of other new services that they have a waiting list for right now, such as D7 Visa assistance, Portugal Digital Nomad Visa help, and also finding housing, private health insurance and things like that.  


Kristin:    00:02:57    So I will leave alink to their company at the top of the show notes if you are thinking of moving to Portugal soon. And you can also find a link to their site at the top of this episodes page on our website. So you can just go to badassdigital nomads.com/202 and that will take you right there. So you can actually do that for any episode. You can just go to the website slash the episode number and that will take you to that webpage. But before we get started, I just wanted to say congratulations to Inga Goodwin from Virginia, who won the$500 airline gift card on my YouTube channel. So about a month ago, we raffled off a free $500 airline gift card, and actually the first people who won it never collected the prize. So it ended up getting passed on to another new subscriber named Inga.  


Kristin:    00:03:57    And so congrats to her and her family for winning that gift card. And also congrats to Jesse who won a free ticket to the Nomad Island Fest in Madeira Island later this year. And he also won that ticket by subscribing on my YouTube channel. So if you're not subscribed to my channel yet, then head on over there and make sure you turn on notifications so that you don't miss new videos, new announcements, and new giveaways. I also wanted to thank Kat Beard, who is a longtime listener and supporter for becoming a Patreon patron this week. Thank you so much Kat, and I look forward to seeing you. And the next Zoom hangout. And also thanks to Dave Colta who bought me a coffee this week. Thank you, Dave. And FYI, if you were present for the YouTube live that I recorded for episode 201 last week, I just wanted to apologize because it wasn't until after the livestream ended that I realized that my video wasn't working, and so bless those 100 or so people who stayed for the entire 90 minutes and asked questions and interacted in the live chat without even being able to see me <laugh>.  


Kristin:    00:05:18    So the whole time I could see myself in the video, but apparently no one could see me. And I was adding people's super chats and questions to the livestream, but alas, no one could see them. So I don't know why that happened, but I'll definitely make sure to triple check that was working on the next one. So if you were, there then thank you. And if you watched the replay, then you might have noticed where's Kristin? And I am not there <laugh>, but I did put some B roll and some photos up there. So, but you can always listen to that episode in the background as well. So just an explanation for that. But let's get into today's show, and then I'll give you more of my takeaways at the end. 


Podcast Interview:


Kristin: Okay. I am here in the line to get into Web Summit with approximately 80,000 other people, and I'm with Ara Nas, who is from Venezuela via Miami, and now living in Lisbon, Portugal. And this is a really funny story because I was walking out of the metro to get to Web Summit and Aracelis  flags me down. Kristin - Traveling with Kristin and she recognized me. And it turns out we have a good friend in common who is Julia Kallweitfrom the Wi-Fi Tribe. And we had already been in touch on WhatsApp. I just didn't know what she looked like. So welcome a Aracelis to Badass Digital Nomads.  


Aracelis:    00:06:46    Thank you so much, and thank you for being here. So nice to see you.  


Kristin:    00:06:50    Yes, I'm so glad that we connected out in line. And tell me why did you come to Web Summit this year?  


Aracelis:    00:06:58    I came to Web Summit because I saw the speech of the MayorCarlosMoedaslast year through Instagram. And I really believe on his idea of how we can make or digital transfer Libo the entire Portugal. I, I believe on his mission and what they are doing here in Lisboa is impressive. I do think that Portugal is becoming the new California of Europe.  


Kristin:    00:07:22    I would agree. And it seems like tens of thousands of people agree with us. And so you were living in Seattle, working for a tech company. Can you tell us a bit about why you decided to leave the US and move to Lisbon?  


Aracelis:    00:07:41    I feel that the US has changed as, as you mentioned, I'm original from Venezuela. And when I arrived to the US it was a totally different scenario. I cannot deny that the US has given me a lot of opportunities and I have learned a lot and grown a lot. But I follow Traveling with Kristin and during the pandemic everything changed. My perspectives changed and I started traveling. And Seattle didn't change. The one that changed it was me. So when I went back to Seattle after traveling, I, I couldn't fit there anymore. And the quality of life that you can have in Portugal is just amazing. You don't need as much money as you will need in Seattle or in general in the US but the quality of the air, um, the possibility to walk everywhere people is nice. Food is good. The energy that you feel in this place is, is very good. And I feel that I'm very well located. It's very geographically easy to go whatever place. So, um, I I'm pretty happy with my decision right now.  


Kristin:    00:08:39    Can you tell me a bit more about, uh, how you felt? So you began traveling with the Wi-Fi Tribe and then you went back to Seattle and you felt like you had mentioned something had changed within you. Um, what, what was that, what was it that changed, and how did you feel after traveling the world and then going back to your home base?  


Aracelis:    00:09:02    I feel it's the perspective, uh, all my entire perspective change as I was talking with a friend the other day is, is the same like having a good life as quality of life. When I was living in Seattle at the beginning it was, it was okay, I had a nice job, I have a a, a decent house, I had security. And then I start meeting other people and meeting other, other perspectives, especially with Wi-Fi Tribe, meeting other nomads and understanding their lifestyle. And I say, I think, I think I can do it. I, I think we can do better. Um, it for my personality and the life that I designed for myself, I think that Seattle was no longer the place for me.  


Kristin:    00:09:41    Can you tell us a bit about how you made this decision? You were mentioning to me that you created a mind map of all of the things that could go wrong if you left home to move to Europe. Uh, what were some of the concerns that you had and the loops that you closed on those? Uh, worries.  


Aracelis:    00:09:59    Yes. I, I had panic attacks. This is not an easy decision. A friend asked me was it easy? Of course it's not easy, uh, but I, every night I will have a different thought in my mind like, what about if I lose my job? What about if if I don't meet friends? What about if I lose my apartment? So every night, um, I had a man, um, mind map in my, my wall. And every night that I have these random questions, I will put the, the wall, the the questions on my wall and just try to find an answer. What happens is that if I lose my apartment, then I find another apartment. What happens if I lose my job, then I find another apartment. But I have always been very responsible. I have my plan A, my plan B, I'm not promoting people just to leave your job and and and find a good life.  


Aracelis:    00:10:44    No, do it, have a plan. It's very important to have a very good communication with your boss. My boss knows where I am. He's pretty supportive and something that I have learned through the community, especially with Wi-Fi community, if you want to travel and you want to have this lifestyle, you need to make sure that you are doing a very good job. So they cannot complain that you're not doing your job because you're traveling and they're not excuses. So my priority, believe it or not, it is my work. Those pictures of people working with the laptop at the pool, that's not me. That's not gonna happen. I need to protect my laptop <laugh>.  


Kristin:    00:11:16    So yeah. And how have you found the lifestyle in Lisbon? Uh, tell us how long you've been living here now and uh, what your experience has been like as an expat and what the community is like.  


Aracelis:    00:11:29    The community is very open. There is a lot of people from everywhere, which I really like. Eh, there is many WhatsApp groups meet ups. I do run, we have a list running club every Tuesday, which is super nice because we challenge ourselves. We do it together. It is free. You don't have to pay anything. We do different runs, eh, from time to time. They have comedy clubs, they have storytelling, they have what WhatsApp groups for just to have go and have a bike. They have hiking groups and many of them are free. So it's a very active community with people from everywhere.  


Kristin:    00:12:05    And you were telling me that, um, there's basically anything you can think of when it comes to activities and things to do like magic shows and free concerts and music and uh, hiking and coworking. And what are some of the, uh, things that you've done that you've really enjoyed here?  


Aracelis:    00:12:26    Well, one of the things that I really impressed is what the government does for free for the citizens. So they do have like free, um, the Comedy Club? No, not the Comedy Club, sorry, the Magic Show. So it was for the entire week at different times from different com, um, magicians from– from Europe, that was super interesting and it was free. They have live music all the time. They have concerts like Castillos and George, if you're coming, make sure you go to one of those. Um, they do have, they invest a lot in their activities for the community and I love that. I live in Seattle for a long time and I never had any free events organized by the city.  


Kristin:    00:13:03    Yeah, I was just saying that too, that there's um, almost like too much to do here. You get a little bit of fomo. Um, but you, you mentioned, um, that you fell in love with Lisbon. Uh, do you think that, like when you came to Lisbon, did you know that it was a place that you wanted to live as soon as you got here? Or was it something that happened over the course of time?  


Aracelis:    00:13:30    No, actually I was in Madeira and I felt I truly fell in love withMadeirais a magical, magical place. And then I, I didn't know really what to expect, expect when I, when I move here to Lisboa, but now I'm, I'm in love with the city. This feeling of knowing that I am in the right place is priceless after being traveling for so long and to different places. Being a Venezuela, Venezuela and Citizen where I don't have a home anymore, being here in Lisboa has been what kind of like super nice experience that I, I have in my heart. So I'm in love. Yeah.  


Kristin:    00:14:04    <laugh>, would you say that being, um, are you, would you consider yourself a refugee of Venezuela to the US or an immigrant?  


Aracelis:    00:14:14    No, we're an immigrant.  


Kristin:    00:14:16    So you mentioned that you applied for the D7 Visa. Do you have any uh, tips for people that want to get the D7 visa and stay here long term?  


Aracelis:    00:14:26    Yes, there is an Americas and PT uh, group in Facebook that gives you a lot of information. I work with a company called Bordr. They help me with the n and the bank account, which are one of the requirements, eh, find information, Expats Everywhere has a code. So funny story, I got to know about exp –Expats Everywhere because of you. Thank you. Traveling with Kristin and I got like $10 off and text thanks to them I discovered Bordr, which which is a very good agency that helped me to do some of my paperwork. 


Kristin:    00:14:50    Okay, great. We'll link to all of that in the show notes and thanks for sharing your experience of living in Portugal with us Aracelis  and I look forward to spending time with you this week at Web Summit


Aracelis: Yay. Thank you. 


Kristin: Am so glad that I bumped into a Aracelis  or she bumped into me in that web summit line. Just a few things that really stuck out to me from what she said. The first thing was that she talked about how once she traveled abroad with Wi-Fi Tribe and was traveling with other digital nomads and remote workers, that something shifted in her and she came back to her home in Seattle and she said, Seattle didn't change. The one that changed was me. And that, ooh, that really resonates with me because I even saw this in Rolf Pot's new book Vagabond the other day.  


Kristin:    00:15:54    It talks about how when you travel or live abroad for the first time, you can never see the world or your hometown in the same way. And I certainly felt that way the first time that I traveled overseas and I'm sure you have as well. And that's why we talk so much about reverse culture shock on this show because it can be just as jarring and startling to go back to your home country as it is when you arrive to a new country and you're just starting to get adapted. And another thing that she mentioned was how she had this very comfortable life, this golden handcuffs as many people call it, with a really comfortable house, with plenty of security, comfort, a good income. So she had all of her basic needs checked, but there was still something that was missing. And I found it so interesting that she felt this unrest and unsettledness even though she had immigrated from Venezuela to the US due to the problems and economic issues there.  


Kristin:    00:17:03    And just this morning I talked with someone from Uzbekistan who moved to the US and was seeking asylum, but after living in the US for a while, he was actually thinking of leaving to become a digital nomad and travel overseas because he also had that sense of wanderlust. So I thought that was very significant that someone moving from another country seeking asylum in the US would find that that necessarily wasn't what they wanted and that they didn't necessarily feel at home there and they wanted to explore other places. So if you wanna learn more about Wi-Fi Tribe, I'll link to that episode that we did in the show notes. And then she also mentions why she chose Lisbon and she talks about Carlos Moedas who is the mayor of Lisbon. And he was actually a speaker at Web Summit and he's been a very big proponent of trying to attract not just nomads and remote workers and foreigners, but also to bring back Portuguese citizens to Portugal.  


Kristin:    00:18:17    So people who have left Portugal to seek more opportunities and better jobs elsewhere, he's working with the local government and the national government to try to bring more of the Portuguese people back to Portugal. And of course there are problems right now with the cost of living and housing shortages and things like that. But he has started a lot of initiatives and from what I remember from hearing him and his team talk at Web Summit, they were also partially involved with the, the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa or they were encouraging and supporting that. So if you wanna find out more about the nomad and startup scene in Lisbon, you can go to startuplisboa.com and that's a really good hub and community for people working in tech or or entrepreneurs. And then also the Digital Nomads Lisbon Facebook group has tons of people in there.  


Kristin:    00:19:23    And so you can ask some questions in there and get tips and also find out things to do. Uh, Aracelis mentions all of the fun things that there are to do in Lisbon. And you can find a lot of that in the Facebook groups and events. And also over on meetup.com and on Nomad List, they have really deep resources for things to do, places to go, people to see in Lisbon, Aracelis mentioned that Portugal is becoming the California of Europe and being around the startup incubator scene, I could definitely perceive that. And I, I also found it interesting how she said that she feels like she has a stronger friend network in Portugal than she did in the United States. So that stuck out to me, but also how serious she was about her job, mentioning that her priority is her work over just posing for photos with her laptop at the beach <laugh>.  


Kristin:    00:20:25    So that's something that I kind of poke fun at in my book, Digital Nomads for Dummies. But it's also something that I've done and I think every digital nomad or remote worker has taken a photo of themselves with their laptop somewhere. And it's kind of funny cuz I do have a photo of myself working on my laptop from Playa del Carmen in 2013 <laugh>. So it seems like these, these roots to wanna kind of pose with your laptop places, they, they run really deep. But at the same time, many of us who are also kind of having a laugh at being able to work from the beach, even though you know the sun gets in your eyes, we're also working from home. And another way to portray this in my book was with our illustrator, Giang Cao, who writes really funny nomad comic strips and she has done some art about how being a nomad, all you see is the inside of your apartment and your co-working space.  


Kristin:    00:21:27    So I got a good laugh out of that. And you can alsolisten to my interview with Giang in the show notes. I will drop a link to that episode where she talks about living as a digital nomad, being from Southeast Asia and also traveling around Southeast Asia and even getting stuck in Malaysia during the pandemic. And finally, Aracelis mentions that the process of moving gave her a lot of anxiety and kept her up at night. So if you're thinking of moving somewhere in the world, but you're not sure where, how, or when, I will also leave a link to the application form forReady to Relocate, which is my annual group relocation program. So there's a waiting list right now, but you can apply with thelink in the show notes if you want to be part of a community of people learning how to relocate to other countries for the first time. And of course, if you are focused specifically on Portugal, you can check out Bordr with our link in the show notes or by going to badassdigitalnomads.com/202. And I'll also leave a link for you to check out Web Summit in case you want to attend this year. Thanks for tuning in today. Good to be here with you and see you again next week for another interview with a digital nomad who I randomly met at Web Summit. 


Aracelis NassProfile Photo

Aracelis Nass

Corporate Nomad

Aracelis Nass is a Corporate Nomad, Senior Business Program Manager with more than 15 years of experience in the Tech industry. Ara helps customers to leverage most of the latest technology developments, including Cloud computing.
Internationalist by profession, Ara has lived in many countries and cities and has developed broad cultural awareness, with experiences in Caracas, Miami, Dubai, and Seattle, and now enjoying life in Lisbon.
Either by mentoring, coaching, or in speaking engagements, Ara has a passion for empowering women and the next generation to achieve more in business. She is also a Sofi Financial Institution Ambassador, focusing on fostering financial awareness and personal financial planning for the next generation of professionals.