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Written by Ru Jupp

I've got 99 Problems, but a beach ain't one

I've got 99 Problems, but a beach ain't one

Last year my wife and I moved with our three little kids to the coast near Lisbon Portugal. On considering renewing the rental contract for our cottage in Hampshire that we’d moved to during the pandemic, she floated the idea of throwing life up in the air and moving abroad.

With our one year old in tow, we went for a look around one weekend; rented a car, looked at two international schools and a drive around the countryside that someone had mentioned was beautiful up the coast from Lisbon.

A friend mentioned they had pals there and after dropping them a call to see if we could pop in and say hi, we were promptly invited to a BBQ that they were throwing that afternoon.

We met a great cross section of nationalities there including Portuguese, English, Dutch and Americans, and when my wife and I reflected on the flight home, the impression we came away with was that they were a bunch of happy, hard-working, open-minded, entrepreneurial and spirited people.

Three months later after finding a fantastic (though frustratingly pricey) house to rent overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, we left England and moved to Portugal. There was a fair bit of admin in securing school spots, updating passports, booking removals, getting visas, selling the car, but we did it, with the guiding north star of an exciting family adventure around the corner. If it didn’t work, we told ourselves, we would simply come home.


Part II

I have been a headhunter for most of my career and set up my boutique search firm Princedale in 2012, with nothing but ambition, self-belief and a hustle mindset. It was both hard and rewarding in equal measures. Working from London with a small team I established the business, built a client base, reputation and brand where I hope to stand out for being hard working, diligent, honest & transparent. 

So the question was, could I do my job remotely from Portugal?

One niggle I kept asking myself before we got serious about the move was whether people would think I had checked out. I had a concern that not being present day in, day out in London might look like I was less committed.

After all if I couldn’t make it work from Portugal, we’d need to return.

So as I reflect two years later, we have had our most successful years on record in terms of placements, cities hired in and happy clients and my family are thriving in their new exciting environment, and we haven’t looked back.

My takeaways as I reflect:

  • I can’t think of a conversation where I haven’t felt a sense of admiration and respect for moving my family to Portugal and taking the apparent risks.
  • With the international move, I have also won & executed more international executive searches (including New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Dubai & Singapore).
  • My perspective has changed by being abroad from my native country. I see things differently and I feel refreshed by this perspective.
  • My kids (7,5,2) go to international schools (and a farm school) with 55 other nationalities.
  • I have an inspiring social world of similarly minded go-getters, be it entrepreneurs, digital nomads, those working for charities and lots of hands-on parents.
  • With the better weather, we are outside a lot and the nature is spectacular whether it’s days on the beach, mountain trails, or a very rare surf lesson.
  • I work just as much and just as hard and nothing is taken for granted.

So I pen this to mark two years since my wife and I made the decision and to inspire those considering taking themselves out of an apparent ‘comfort zone’ be it an international move, or a change of job, a new vocation or anything that might in the first instance feel a bit daunting.

If I can help you with an important leadership search this year, get in touch and let’s talk.

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