48. From Pipe Dream to Reality - An American living in Portual with Mary Campbell

Season #2

Mary Campbell had what she called a pipe dream of living in Europe. She recently turned that pipe dream into a reality and is now living as a permanent resident in Portugal. You'll hear how she did it and how she feels about it... (FREAKING AWESOME!) and with so much more.

Mary and I met in the public schools where I worked as a music teacher and Mary worked as a school psychologist. 

Mary grew up in the Pacific Northwest, joined the USAF right out of high school, and served as a German cryptologic linguist (listened to East German Air Force radio transmissions & analyzed them for intelligence). After her enlistment, she got my grad & undergrad degrees at UC Davis in psychology/school psychology & worked in public schools in CA and ID for 30+ years. Most of that time was as a school psych, but she took a brief foray into administration and served as a building principal at the middle school level. 

Mary has worked with children from preschool through high school. She retired in July 2020, a little earlier than she had originally planned (a Covid-inspired decision), and decided to move to Portugal in Spring 2021. She arrived in Lisbon in April 2022, after selling her home, and applying for a long-term residence visa. She has two grown sons (ages 40 and 34) who still live in the Boise area, as does their father, her former husband.

Here are the takeaways...

  1.  Hearing limiting things like "I don't know about a single woman her age....(fill in the blank)" can feel limiting until you realize, you'll be a woman your age ANYWHERE. You might as well be where you want to be. 
  2. Intentional connections can be made through meet-up groups like meetup.com, Facebook groups, and buy-nothing groups. Looking for shared interests. It can be an easy way to make friends.
  3.  You don't have to know the language of a country as long as you are willing to learn the language. 
  4. Recognizing the circumstances of international moves is really important. There is a difference between being an immigrant and a refugee.
  5. International moves are going to take time. Have patience, be polite, be persistent and recognize you might not understand everything. You'll need to ask questions and be patient.
  6.  Decisions terminate panic. 
  7.  Living your best life empowers other people to live their best lives.


Mary doesn't do a lot on social media but I'll be sure to pass on anything to her. Just DM me on Instagram or email me. 


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