by Namrata Majithia 2nd December 2020
Relocating from Los Angeles to Lisbon – how Eliot Raymond swapped the Pacific Coast for Portugal’s startup capital

‘Work is W​h​e​r​e the Home is’, and its editor Hayley, are on a mission to inspire remote workers who are curious about relocating. From Ibiza to Lisbon and Marseille to Tbilisi, every other week Hayley delivers interviews with tastemakers, adventurers and the wild-at-hearts who have chosen to live (and work) in some of the most interesting and colourful places in the world.


All roads lead to Lisbon

In January 2019, Eliot Raymond was working as Creative Director for an Advertising Agency in Los Angeles. After becoming disinterested in the 9-5 beat, he made the decision to leave the corporate world behind and somewhat unintentionally, spent the next year travelling over 200,000 miles around the world.

“I thought I would give freelancing a go before returning to another job somewhere in LA. I had a few months of living expenses saved up and figured I could always go get a ‘real job’ if needed.”

”The day after I quit, a friend invited me to come visit him in Australia for a few weeks. That trip to Australia evolved into a four month excursion to Indonesia, Spain, Japan, Ireland and Israel and after that, I just kept on travelling. All the while I was building out my freelance roster and developing a new business.”

“I quickly realised the freedom that being your own boss provided and began to understand how difficult it would be to go back to the corporate world. So, after spending just over a year on the move, I returned to LA where I sold everything I owned other than what would fit in my Away carry-on (I’m a millennial after all) and I headed to Lisbon full time.”


Tell us more about Outsite

Having grown up moving many times, I was relatively confident about getting settled in a new city where I knew no one, but nonetheless was intrigued when I found out about Outsite. Their mission is to cultivate a community for remote workers around the world, through inspiring co-working and co-living spaces and events.

Back in 2019, when I inadvertently decided to embark on a year of travel, I decided to give them  a try and booked a month in their Lisbon space. That ended up being my first of many stays with the company across three different continents. Early this year when Covid hit, Outsite saved the day and I was able to rent a studio apartment in Venice, California whilst I got things sorted.

Immediately, you are connected to a group of working professionals, a majority of whom have been working completely remote for years. Not only is this a great way to get to know a new city and build social connections, but I learned plenty of tips and tricks from remote workers on everything from how to manage time zones to the best gear for saving your back while working on a laptop all day.


Why did you eventually choose to settle in Lisbon?  

After a few months of being back in Los Angeles because of the pandemic, I’d decided that after three trips to Lisbon in the last 18 months, it was one of my all around favourite places I had visited and, if I had to be stuck in one place permanently, that was where I wanted to be.

While I realise the city has changed massively in the last decade, from my perspective it’s managed to maintain much of its culture and lifestyle while accommodating plenty of new global perspectives, with a great international community. I’ve heard many people compare Portugal to being the California of Europe, situated on a beautiful coastline with a year-round temperate climate and most importantly, lots of great wine.


How did you make the transition to working in Portugal?

I was already quite comfortable working remotely and settling into new environments, so there wasn’t a big learning curve there. I’m a (mostly) fluent Spanish speaker so while learning Portuguese hasn’t been a breeze, that has certainly made it easier.

For those who speak English, the Portuguese are the seventh-best speakers of English in the world (outside of English-speaking countries), according to a stat I randomly read a few weeks back so don’t quote me. Regardless, it’s quite easy to get by in the urban areas with just English.


Let’s talk about living costs… 

Rent here can vary quite a lot and it depends on where you want to live. Similar to LA, the same one bedroom flat in Santa Monica can cost three times what it would cost to rent in Burbank, just 15 miles away.

I’ve chosen to live close to the city center which allows me access to plenty in walking distance, nearby public transit and the ability to rent a car when I need to. While I was looking, apartments of this type range from 700-1400 eur/month.


How do your property and living costs per month compare with your pre relocation life?

Los Angeles is the 9th most expensive city to live in in the world, so unless I was looking to make the jump to numbers 1 through 8, Lisbon was going to be a win in terms of cost of living. Conversely, my quality of life has increased exponentially.


What are your insider tips for Lisbon?

Leave Lisbon. No really, this country has so much to offer and whether that’s just taking a day trip to go surfing in Caparica or a weekend in Porto or the Algarve, there’s so much to see, do and explore. One of my favourite things to do is take the train from Cais do Sodre to Cascais and then ride my road bike up through the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, stopping at different beaches and towns along the way for an espresso or tosta.


What do you miss the most about Los Angeles?

Mexican food. (Editors note- for our entrepreneurial readers, this seems to be a reoccurring theme amongst for those living in or close to Lisbon!)

If you had to pick another place in Europe to relocate to, where would you go?

Barcelona. From a weather and lifestyle perspective, I’d love to spend a few years there. Last summer I spent a long weekend with friends from Chicago exploring the Costa Brava coastline just north of Barcelona.

It has since become high on my priority list of places I’d like to retire one day. In the short term though, Barcelona is amazing. The water is much warmer than the Atlantic and the pace of life there is great. Amsterdam and The Hague intrigue me as well, but it’s definitely a different way of life from Southern Europe.


If you could give any advice to somebody reading this now who might be considering a move to Portugal, what would it be?

I think doing a reconnaissance trip can be really helpful in getting to know the lay of the land. As exciting as it can be to just pick up and move (I know plenty who have!) it’s great to know what neighbourhood you want to land in and have an idea of the place before making a big commitment.


Plans for 2021?

I’ll be continuing to grow my business and growing our market outside of the US. Travel wise, there’s a big backlog from what couldn’t happen in 2020… South Africa and India are high on the list.

Elsewhere I’ll be working on my podcast ‘Hundreds of Ways’, which I host with my friend James. We talk with entrepreneurs doing everything from art to personal training, from animation to writing.

You’ll hear stories from freelancers, startup founders and small business owners, as well as people who work with and have advice for aspiring, budding, and existing entrepreneurs.

If you want to talk about relocating or remote work, drop me a line on Instagram or LinkedIn!


Source Work Is Where The Home Is