What’s in Your Suitcase?

What's in your suitcase? Packing for a long trip away

After a brief visit stateside, I’ve returned to Europe; the time here will be well into 2025. I’ve planned more of a life change, so saying good-bye to family and friends felt different, because my resident visa brings me closer to obtaining the second passport. In addition to purchasing a home a few years back, I feel fortunate for the approval of the much sought after, free-to-low-cost National Health Care Insurance, which is one of the main reasons why Americans relocate to Portugal. And more importantly, I casted my vote in the U.S. primary, through the absentee registration program, allowing the ability to vote in the upcoming November 2024 election. This last matter was a priority, because of what’s at stake for the US and the world.

Packing has become more and more narrowed and compartmentalized, because there’s no need to pack the kitchen sink. After all, Europe isn’t on another planet. It takes mindful discretion on what to bring and what not to bring. Would I get to the point of selling the whole lot of things I’ve collected? This is a situation I’m confronted with—if maintaining two residences in two separate countries is logical. Right now, my home in the States welcomes me back with familiar communities and people I’ve known.

Funny how one can fill up their home with things and things, and when a fire threatens, quickly decide in seconds what to take. My favorite CD’s, books (in English!), and collected artwork, I couldn’t say why I’d pay extra for a larger shipment, except that these treasures mean something tangible, real, and I couldn’t part with them. You see, I’m a collector of smiles and happiness for those things dear to my heart. I feel the same way about friends and family to whom I’ve extended invitations to visit.

There’s a rise in Americans seeking relocation to Portugal (or other parts of the world).

There’s a rise in Americans seeking relocation to Portugal (or other parts of the world). And from reading several of my Facebook groups, an urgency for answers fills the posts: the visa process, work permits, cost of living, what areas to live, and how much are one’s monthly expenses. I think this stress is either because of the upcoming election or knowing friends who have taken the leap. For example, there are approximately 800,000 foreign residents living in Portugal, almost twice as many as 10 years ago. Contrary to public opinion, Americans make up only a small portion.

As I said before, moving to another country isn’t for the faint of heart. But as you age, and things aren’t working where you are, there’s nothing wrong with choosing another book and hoping for a happier turn of the page.

Come and visit! Pack light, bring an open mind, and let the rest take care of itself.

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Michael Conner
Michael Conner
20 days ago

There are many reasons why one would leave the US at this point in time. I think your moving to Europe has little to do with that. Europe, especially for the artist represents a deep rich culture that feels more like coming home.

Zoe Robinson
Zoe Robinson
17 days ago

Hello Cheryl, Again you have expressed, reflected on similar issues I have and still face in terms of making a home outside the US. I find myself at 77 questioning what books, ‘things’ et al to keep and what to let go.

I plan on staying here in my place in Greece at least for the foreseeable future. The journey that I’m facing is one of acceptance and what needs attention at this ‘end of life,’ period. There are no plans to ‘exit’ any time soon but I want it to be in a responsible manner; that is to have my affairs in order which includes enacting considerable downsizing.

My friends, my books are proving challenging, however a first step has been made in speaking with a local Greek woman who teaches English as a second language and seems happy to receive whatever books I want to pass on. In addition, I have a referral to the American College of Greece in Athens that apparently would be interested for their large library.

One step at a time as I turn the page of a new book in the unfolding mystery of my life.

Thank you, as always for your sharing and invitation to visit. Who knows perhaps one of these days. Hope so. If you find yourself further East in Greece, do let me know.

Edythe Chaney
Edythe Chaney
5 days ago

Hey, Cheryl… Good hearing from you and knowing you’re doing well is a blessing. Yeah, things are a little ‘krazy out here, but we’re still doing good,,It’s a blessing to be alive with a roof over your head, food to eat, family & friends,,, and there are some that don’t have that,,, I do, and I thank God for that and pray for those who don’t. It is challenging around the world but we just gotta’ make the best of it. You all be safe out there and enjoy yourselves. God Bless!

Edythe Chaney
Edythe Chaney
5 days ago

Oh, and nothin’s ‘ in my suitcase yet,, gotta’ see where iI wanna’ go LOL!!