This Quarter’s Happiness KPIs

Brian Huy Mac
5 min readJun 30, 2023


This originally was going to be a post about moving to Portugal around all practical how to things like applying for a visa, setting up NIF, bank accounts, buying a house etc. However, as Portuguese bureaucracy would have it still waiting on the visa. Instead I wanted to really reflect on how the last 3 months have been here in Portugal and what’s been some big happy factors.

I talked about how before I was really feeling out of sync with things in that 3 years remote popping around, never could get momentum going because I was always starting over. Although as fun as it was and I met some awesome people along the way, caught up with friends around the world , it took a lot of energy. I didn’t feel at home because essentially I didn’t have a “COMMUNITY”. Something that I felt I belonged to.

What is it about community or what are the elements that make it feel like a community?

One big thing I’ve noticed is this idea of “Consistency”. Here I have friends that “live” here most of the year, not just traveling thru / visiting, but it’s their home base. That was the tough part when I was in the “remote” work lifestyle always on the road. When it’s your home it is easier and you have more energy/time to be consistent in pursuing activities. Also, when your friends are in the same smaller place/village consistently there are more improtu meetings — ie. I am having a juice outside your apt I’ll pop by to chat / hangout etc. or my favorite let’s grab some chicken ❤

Which brings me to this Common Interest part. The place I am in there is this common interest in a healthy outdoor lifestyle because you live in / next to nature. Here I have my Surf Dogs Crew, my bouldering buddies, and my weekly bachata classes. It’s been nice to be able to do things on a consistent basis, but what more is with these shared activities your community helps motivates you more. For example my surf buddies spent a rainy day for 1hr freestyling songs about how I have a board but I don’t go surfing… needless to say I was back in the water that evening.

“Less Choice” is a good thing. This probably helps with the consistency thing but there’s something nice about not being overwhelmed with choice. Like there is this illusion of the city life is great, you get to be anonymous, all these events, shows, culture, restaurants, etc. things to do all the time. Yet, I feel like I really love that I walk by my chicken place and I chat with the owners. Or if I drop into Adega bar, or stroll thru the little town square I’ll run into someone I know. Kind of this less chasing the new shinny hit of dopamine but enjoying being present with what you have. I say hi to some of my neighbors everyday, also even better when they have a dog I get to help take care of and walk. Now the great part is when it does get to feel too the “same” I can do a quick day trip to Lisbon, or go camping, etc. to spice things up, but it’s feels perfect when 80% of your time is cosy.

Think the last big factor in happiness the last 3 months is getting to be a “Connector” again. I love bringing people together celebrating, dancing, laughing, and having fun. Here costs wise vs Norway it makes it easy to have people over for dinners, host random theme parties, and go for improtu dinners/drinks. That and it’s been amazing sharing this place with friends visiting from all over! I was always running around seeing people but it’s nice now that people can come to a place I call home and I can host them. Looking forward to sharing this place with my family in October for a few weeks.

So here’s to continue to building / investing in my community here in Ericeria as I have ZERO plans for once to do any traveling. So if you want to spend time with me you will have to come visit!