Farewell Brasil… Hello Portugal!

Hi. My name is Igor Escobar and I’m a Software Engineer at Hole19 Golf. As many of you already know, I recently made a life changing decision of which I would love to talk about with you.

Before going through the why’s, I need you to understand I little bit about me so you can follow my reasoning on why I did leave Brasil.

I started into programming when I was 13 years old. Loved it since the first time I laid eyes on those crazy computer instructions. Did all kinds of crazy computer programs you can imagine and I’ve learned that magical things only happen way out of your comfort zone.

This motto not only tells a lot about myself but also tells a lot about our mindset and the kind of challenges that we are able to pursue. I’ve always dreamed big, always pictured myself out there, living this dream of endless freaking awesome challenges.

A few months ago I stumbled on the opportunity of joining a Portugal based startup called Hole19 Golf. I can tell you that it wasn’t an easy decision.

Some of you would call me crazy for leaving Brasil (some of you definitely wouldn’t), but not everyone has the courage needed to put your entire life upside down… leaving your family, selling everything you once possessed, job, home (~/) and my wife (also a dog) for endless 4 months.

When this kind of opportunity appears in your life you can’t think just about yourself. You need to think about your family, your future, is it worth it? Does Portugal have better safety conditions, education? Will my kids have a better life there? For many of you It may sound like “it’s just a job, not worth it!” but in my head it sounded completely different.

I saw an entire new world opening before my eyes. Portugal in 2016 held the 13th position in terms of Quality of Life right after Finland and United States which holds the 12th position. Portugal has better qualify of life compared with amazing places like UK, Canada, Japan, France, Ireland, Italy and the list goes on! Where is Brasil on that list? 45th place… right next to India, Iran, Pakistan, Singapore etc.

As hard as it may be… For the sake of my future family of 3 kids and two dogs… I really believed that a huge shiny door was opening for me.

It’s been 5 months since I left Brasil and started a whole new life in Portugal as a Software Engineer at Hole19 Golf and I feel morally obligated to tell you about how my life’s going in Lisbon/Portugal and how it’s like to be working for Hole19.

Life in Lisbon/Portugal

Instead of going through all the aspects of living in Portugal I rather talk about a few things that most impressed me on a daily basis.

Safety

When I moved to Lisbon I discovered that I’m a guy who likes to walk around. Day and night. This is impossible in Brasil if you don’t live in a private condo with security cameras, high walls or electrified fences. Lisbon proved to be a very nice place to walk around and discover the city. It felt really safe and you can walk around anytime, day or night, and still get home safe with all pieces in place. Also, if you value living in a nice house close to the ocean or with green areas everywhere, Portugal fits you well and you don’t have to sell one of your kidneys for it or drive for a hundred hours to get to work.

Beauty and people

Lisbon is beautiful and it surprises me every time I go for a walk, day or night. The portuguese are known for being quite surly, but all I can say is that in Lisbon I was always well attended, so I didn’t feel any of that so called rudeness. Of course, you can relate that to the fact that Lisbon is a big city and full of tourists and that influences how portuguese treat visitors.

Pictures above were all taken by me. Most of those places you can visit by just walking around. These are just a few places that I’ve been for this very short period living here. It’s amazing(!).

food

If you think you’re coming to Lisbon and you’re not putting on some extra pounds, you’re wrong. The variety of restaurants here is impressive. And to make it better you eat very well and pay fair prices for it. I guarantee that eating well won’t be an issue for you. This made things easier for me, considering that brazilian food is really good and that my first four months I was living by myself.

weather

For me, this is a huge positive point. Lisbon is cold in the winter but not FREAKING ICE AGE like in other countries and it’s very nice in the summer. The only thing you need to be aware is the pacific freaking cold ocean incluencing the Tejo River.

Public Transportation

In my opinion it works perfectly. We got buses, trams, funiculars, subway, trains and boats. I could go anywhere I wanted using them for very affordable rates.

And these were the aspects that impacted me the most in this time frame.

Life and Work at Hole19

Since the first moment I decided to join Hole19 they started to be like a family to me. They took care of every aspect of my moving to Portugal like documentation, plain tickets, costs, temporary place to stay, everything! They even picked me up at the airport, by the way.

And it’s been like a family ever since. We work and we work hard to connect the world of golf! Together we were able to accomplish amazing things! Even more that I could ever imagine. Our team is incredibly passionate and talented. We are so focused on our mission that you can’t even think about doing poor work – its like everybody is watching and this is amazing!

2016-01-28 16.41.47

It really feels like we are all part of a huge mission (it really has been). If you don’t like to work on a world class product used by 1M people, across 154 countries and 14 languages, to create highly performant applications, solve scale issues, work on recommendation/search algorithms, social connections with Graph databases, to process several thousands of requests per second, to deal with payments, (No)SQL/in memory databases, streaming data processing/transformation/aggregation, distributed architectures, math problems, to create technology for mobile/wearable devices, to use the right programming language to solve the problem, to use containers, continuous integration and deployment and to create APIs… this is definitely NOT the place for you.

It has been an exciting ride for me. I’ve always been a guy that thinks that with the right people, hard work and a huge load of passion you can accomplish anything. So I think we’re on the right track.

This post is also available on Medium.

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