I've never been delusional about relocation.
At least I've tried not to.
I've been working remotely for the last ~7 years. There are only a few things that change if I move to another country: the cost of living, taxes, expenses, decoration around me, and the distance between me and my mates and family.
I've always believed that the quality of life depends on what I was doing, and how much I earn and spend. It dramatically lowers the importance of a big number of other things including the place where I reside.
That's why it has always seemed legit to evaluate the quality of life by only comparing net income with expenses.
I've always believed that it doesn't matter where you move because you take yourself with you: your skills, your level of happiness, your failures and successes.
It's neither the place nor the government. It's all you, your head with biochemistry inside and the newsfeed that you consume. Unless you are residing in a country with an unbearable level of shit going on.
Portugal Has Changed My Mind
You can often buy a better education or sometimes high quality medical services. But no matter how much you earn net you can't buy more polite people for your neighbourhood. As well as safety, infrastructure, or weather.
When you can't change anything the only thing you can do is to stop paying attention. That's exactly what I'd been doing for years. In the quality of life equation I didn't count anything I couldn't change. I kept it out the brackets.
Portugal moved it back in.
It was all clear with safety levels and quality infrastructure. but weather happened to be one of the most underestimated things.
In Portugal, it turned out that spring is not a 3-month period when you are suffering from cold wind, rain, and snow. Summer is not the time to stay at home under an AC 24/7. Autumn is not exactly 3 months of a leaden sky and rain. Winter is not an infinite loop of iterating rain, wind, and snow storms.
Does it matter if I have a car, an AC and a warm parka?
Take into account how it affects the overall activity level and health in the long term. Leaden sky and 6 hours of daylight don't matter until you are clinically depressed by your messed up hormone levels due to a broken circadian cycle.
I've roughly calculated the time when it was comfortable outdoors in my hometown and it was hardly more than a month per year.
In Portugal, it may be a month per year when it's not comfortable.
What's the price of not having to suffer 11 months per year?