Reinventing Expat Portugal at Midlife: International Lawyer Journey of Discovery, Adventure, and Lifelong Learning

Colleen Showalter

In today’s episode of the “Age of Reinvention” podcast, we delved into the captivating and inspirational story of Colleen Showalter, an American expat, entrepreneur, and founder of the innovative company, Portugal the Place. Host Emily Bron explores Colleen’s remarkable decision to relocate to Portugal at Midlife, along with her family, and embark on a journey filled with new challenges, adventures, and opportunities.

The Catalyst for Change before moving to Portugal at Midlife:

Colleen recounts her life in Oregon, USA, nestled between the responsibilities of a Gen X individual caring for both children and aging parents. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a significant catalyst for Colleen and her husband, prompting them to question the path they were on and to entertain the idea of relocating to their dream destination—Europe, with Portugal being their top choice. This moving Portugal at Midlife decision wasn’t made lightly; it involved selling everything they had and initiating a bold move, motivated by the desire for a new beginning and an escape from the corporate grind.

Embracing A New Life in Portugal at Midlife:

Upon deciding to make this drastic life change, Colleen, her husband, daughter, and her 81-year-old father embarked on an unexpected journey. This moving Portugal at Midlife journey was not just about relocation but discovering joy, purpose, and a deeper connection within the family, especially during their adventurous RV exploration across the United States waiting for the consulates to reopen during the pandemic restrictions.

Their eventual settlement in Alcobaça, a city in the heart of Portugal known for its rich history and breathtaking Gothic architecture, marked the beginning of their new chapter. Colleen vividly describes the authenticity and vibrancy of living in Europe, emphasizing the community and the sense of belonging they have found in their new home.

Founding Portugal the Place:

The transition from project management to establishing Portugal the Place emerged from Colleen’s challenges and observations during their relocation process. She identified a gap in support services for expatriates transitioning to life in Portugal at Midlife, from dealing with logistics to integrating into a new community. This realization led to the creation of a company that not only aids in relocation but also focuses on building a support system for expatriates.

Portugal the Place offers a suite of services, including location scouting, comprehensive relocation assistance, and even post-relocation support to ensure a smooth transition for individuals and families moving to Portugal at Midlife or young life. Colleen’s emphasis on high-touch service and personal attention to clients’ needs differentiates her company in the marketplace.

Insights on Portuguese Culture and Integration:

Colleen shares fascinating insights into the cultural shifts she experienced, highlighting the Portuguese emphasis on living a balanced life, appreciating the moment, and the profound communal values. She speaks to the importance of integrating into the local culture, whether through language learning, participating in community activities, or simply engaging with neighbors. This cultural immersion has enriched her family’s life and shaped their business philosophy, focusing on authenticity and genuine connections.

The Expat Community and Opportunities in Portugal at Midlife:

With Portugal’s changing immigration landscape, Colleen provides an analysis of the current situation for expatriates and potential business opportunities. Despite regulatory adjustments, the allure of Portugal remains strong, supported by its diverse expat community, quality of life, and welcoming environment for entrepreneurs and retirees alike.

Final Thoughts and Advice for Future Expats:

As our conversation with Colleen drew to a close, she offered sage advice for those considering a similar path—emphasize planning for long-term life rather than just the relocation and be open to the journey of self-discovery that such a significant change can facilitate.

Colleen Showalter’s story is a testament to the transformative power of embracing change, the beauty of new beginnings, and the importance of finding purpose and community in one’s life. Her journey and the success of Portugal the Place inspire all of us to pursue our dreams, no matter where they may lead.

Listeners, whether you’re contemplating a move abroad or simply seeking inspiration to reinvent your life, Colleen’s story reminds us of the endless possibilities that await when we step out of our comfort zones and into the world.

Listen to the Podcast:

The Power of Perseverance: From Struggles to Success

In this heartfelt and inspiring conversation, Emily reunites with Deb Krier, a remarkable individual who has overcome multiple cancer diagnoses to make a meaningful impact on others, especially those facing challenges post-50. Deb shares her journey from a surprising breast cancer diagnosis to battling septic shock from chemotherapy complications, leading to numerous surgeries. Despite these obstacles, Deb’s resilience and optimism shine through as she discusses the launch of her initiative, tryingnottodie. live, supporting individuals dealing with cancer. Her story emphasizes the importance of living fully despite health challenges and showcases her efforts to improve patient support for others and advocate for personal involvement in medical care. Deb’s experience underscores the power of perseverance, community support, and a positive mindset in overcoming life’s hurdles.




Hi, I am Emily Bron.

After living and working in 4 countries (3 continents), experiencing several immigrations, changing several professional fields and being an avid traveler, I created International Lifestyle Consulting to help you to find the best matching place and to relocate abroad for a better quality of life, work, or retirement.

As a professional Baby Boomer and Remote worker, I am relocating again!

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