Eoin Bassett

Author Image for Eoin Bassett

Eoin Bassett is the Editorial Director of International Living magazine. Day-to-day he oversees the production of IL’s monthly flagship publication but he does get out of the office...

He’s scouted across three continents, driven 800 miles across Spain, clung to a speedboat on a Guatemalan lake, swung in a cable car above Medellin, Colombia, ridden long-distance Asian trains, taken a horse into Panama’s Veraguas mountains, and ridden a motorcycle across Bali, Indonesia—all in the name of research.

Eoin is as comfortable handling antique shotguns in Purdey’s of London and chatting Thames-side with houseboat owners as he is dancing hip-to-hip with lady boys on a Bangkok dance floor or sharing a drink with Panamanian cowboys. 

He’s haggled with hawkers in the bazaars of Turkey and the pungent markets of Singaraja, reluctantly eaten grasshoppers in Mexico, and politely stomached unidentifiable bone stew in Vietnam. From a cutthroat shave in a gentleman’s barbers to paying police “donations” in Southeast Asia he’s done his best to experience an international life.

A stint living in Switzerland’s Jura mountains introduced him to the joys of good cheese and fine white wine, living in Panama saw him 20 miles offshore in a small boat in search of big fish, and his favorite place to eat steak is a smoked-filled writers’ club in Lisbon, Portugal.

When he’s not on the road or at his desk he makes his own ale, plays the sax badly, fly fishes for trout, and hikes in the Irish mountains

He speaks Spanish, has some French, and can say “thank you,” “how much” and “a beer please” in eight languages. 

Archives

Alentejo2

A Grand 17th-Century Townhome for $180,000 in the Alentejo

I’m a cynic. I’ve traveled enough and read enough about travels to firmly doubt most things. Like my grandpa used to say: “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.” But I’ve seen the light. That is, I’ve seen the rose-hued glow of an Alentejo sky and it really does […]

Don’t Postpone Finding Freedom Overseas

For too many of us, daily life means paying mounting bills, commuting to work, staying there far longer than is healthy, and worrying about…well…everything. It’s what folks call the rat race. The futile grind. It’s stressful, it’s bad for your health, and it feels like it will never end. But freeing yourself from it is easier than you think. In this issue of International Living we hear from expats who have already escaped and taken advantage of low costs overseas to free themselves. They are living in beautiful locations around the world, enjoying lives that are a far cry from their experiences back in the States.

Vietnam

Rent in a French-Style Resort Town for $300… in Vietnam

Orchids, roses, coffee, and vegetables grow in the valleys around. You’ll find high-end resorts and world-class golf, but the beating heart of the town is the Central Market where hawkers wearing conical non la hats sit beside tubs of live fish and crabs, or in front of tables loaded with pungent durian fruit, shoes, and clothing. An average temperature year-round of 57 F makes Dalat a tempting option for some expats, but for most, it’s a place to spend a bit of time exploring the hill villages and escaping the humidity and heat of the lowlands. If you choose to live here, then consider a place on the outskirts of town, which is a lot prettier than the center and makes for better views of the mountains.

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Vietnam: Exotic Part-Time Living in Southeast Asia

It’s a tropical night. Families and friends throng the café terraces along the waterfront. Everyone can see the Dragon Bridge. It’s lit a brilliant orange and designed to look like a dragon flying across the Han River. If you turn up at 6 p.m. any evening, you’ll see fireworks pour from its mouth. Cross it and you’ll find neighborhoods where expats rent for as little as $400 a month just a few blocks from miles of sandy beaches. The city of Da Nang is my first experience of Vietnam. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I really didn’t expect what I found…

Beaches and Great-Value Rentals on the South China Sea

Imagine a morning walk that takes you along a winding path shaded by towering pines. Nestled in the woodland around you are homes with pleasant gardens, flower-filled pots and bougainvillea-draped walls. A few minutes is all it takes to reach the low-slung dunes. You pause on top to take in the view: 18 miles of brilliant golden sands fringing the warm tropical waters of the South China Sea. About 10 miles out are the Cham Islands, a biosphere reserve where you can dive on coral reefs and explore the ancient ruins of the Cham civilization.

eoin

Echoes of Elegant France in “the Pearl of Asia”

It’s not clear what drew Charlie Chaplin to Cambodia. The rumor was a secret honeymoon with a co-star, but whatever the reason for his 1936 visit, we do know what he thought of the capital, Phnom Penh: “Certain avenues are like ‘little sisters’ to the grand Champs Élysées in Paris,” he told the press.

Chiang-Mai-Thailand

13 Ways to Keep Busy in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Bang for buck, Chiang Mai is the best retirement haven in Southeast Asia. Testament to the variety of what’s on offer are the sorts of folks moving here. You’ll find retirees in great numbers, North American, European, Australian and Japanese, but you’ll also meet families on a year out with kids (there are good international schools), and lots of digital nomads—folks working on the Internet with portable incomes.

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Chiang Mai, Thailand: Southeast Asia’s Best “Bang-for-Your-Buck” Destination

“Life here is easy, convenient, and what’s more I can afford to really enjoy it,” says Pennsylvania-native, Paul Matlin. “You meet so many interesting people from all over the world. The health care is great, the food is superb, and the weather is warm.” Founded over 700 years ago, Chiang Mai nestles in the mountains of Northern Thailand, on the banks of the Ping River and the good climate has acted as a major draw for thousands of expats who call the city home.

The-Last-Word

The Joys of an Authentic Travel Experience

We want authenticity when we travel. We want the real thing: to step outside our own lives and connect with other peoples, cultures, and ways of life. We want to learn something about ourselves and our place in the world. We want to taste the food, learn the customs and talk to the people, to lose ourselves, at least for a little while.

Penang Island: Escape to Southeast Asia’s Historic Retirement Haven

Legend has it that the English sailors aboard the ship of Captain Francis Light smelled Penang before they saw it—an island jewel scented with nutmeg, cloves and pepper plants. To this day you can easily escape into the lush jungle-clad hills, explore a nutmeg orchard, or walk in the shade of Candle trees in the 70-acre botanic gardens. But the 405-square-mile island has changed a lot since Light and his men arrived to clear and settle it in 1786.

The Best of Beach Living in Los Santos, Panama

The Best of Beach Living in Los Santos, Panama

It’s a lifestyle that’s waiting for you in Panama’s Los Santos province. Beaches here come in all shapes and sizes, but each is unspoiled and often deserted. These perfect stretches of sand and the warm waters that lap them are what draw most foreign folks to the region.

Los Santos, Panama: Low Costs, Pristine Beaches, and Spanish Heritage

Los Santos, Panama: Low Costs, Pristine Beaches, and Spanish Heritage

What if you were sitting in the shade of a palm tree looking out at coral white sands on a tropical island? Yesterday, you were learning to paddleboard from a hidden cove, and tomorrow you’ll explore surfing spots farther up the mainland coast. Tonight you’ll choose from French cuisine, Italian pasta, or feast on fresh-caught tuna while watching the game at Smileys bar.

LosSantosPanama

Los Santos, Panama: Low Costs, Pristine Beaches, and Spanish Heritage

What if you were sitting in the shade of a palm tree looking out at coral white sands on a tropical island? Yesterday, you were learning to paddleboard from a hidden cove, and tomorrow you’ll explore surfing spots farther up the mainland coast. Tonight you’ll choose from French cuisine, Italian pasta, or feast on fresh-caught tuna while watching the game at Smileys bar.

Guatemala

Looking for Culture, Comfort and Low-Cost Living? Try Guatemala

It’s largely thanks to these folks that Guatemala has such a rich and unique culture. And it’s this culture that entices many of the expats who have made their homes here. “I love how different it is, and I want it to stay that way, too,” says Jean Johnson who lives in the colonial city of Antigua. “It’s like traveling into some epic or bygone landscape,” says Portland-native John Kin, of traveling around the highlands.

Boquete, Panama has strong Scandinavian influences seen in the chalet-style homes that are nestled among towering pines.

Scandinavians Aren’t the Only Ones to Fall in Love with Boquete, Panama…

Standing on a bridge over the Calderas River, watching it bubble and tumble down the valley, it’s easy to see why the Swedes and Swiss who arrived in this sheltered spot in the early 20th century felt so immediately at home. Pure mountain air and forest-green hillsides are something you expect of Scandinavia or the Alpine foothills…not tropical little Panama.

Boquete, Panama has strong Scandinavian influences seen in the chalet-style homes that are nestled among towering pines.

Scandinavians Aren’t the Only Ones to Fall in Love with Boquete, Panama…

Standing on a bridge over the Calderas River, watching it bubble and tumble down the valley, it’s easy to see why the Swedes and Swiss who arrived in this sheltered spot in the early 20th century felt so immediately at home. Pure mountain air and forest-green hillsides are something you expect of Scandinavia or the Alpine foothills…not tropical little Panama.

Romance, Culture and Adventure in Guatemala’s Southern Highlands

It’s the “slap, slap” sound of contentment: Women making tortillas by hand as I sip a Gallo beer and look out over the water. I can hear a marimba and see children splashing happily on the sun-kissed lakeshore. Several old women in native dress are passing by, carrying large parcels on their heads…hands free.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe: Panama’s Little-Known Highland Town

My adventures in pursuit of stories have taken me to strange and wonderful places. The spice-scented bazaars of Istanbul were memorable, as were the breweries of Dusseldorf on the banks of the German Rhine. I have haggled with gypsies, queried stamp investors, “borrowed” a speed boat to check out real estate, and handled shotguns in London worth $100,000 each.

santa-fe

Santa Fe: Panama’s Little-Known Highland Town

My adventures in pursuit of stories have taken me to strange and wonderful places. The spice-scented bazaars of Istanbul were memorable, as were the breweries of Dusseldorf on the banks of the German Rhine. I have haggled with gypsies, queried stamp investors, “borrowed” a speed boat to check out real estate, and handled shotguns in London worth $100,000 each.

3PanamaCity

Three Panama City Districts Where Buying “Old” is Better Value

Panama City is one of the world’s top cities for retirees. There are plenty of reasons. For one thing, Panama’s Pensionado program provides the most attractive range of retiree benefits you’re likely to find anywhere. The temperature rarely drops below 68 F. And the city is jam-packed with modern amenities, thousands of restaurants, glittering shopping malls, cinemas where you can catch English-language movies…

This house in Pedasi, Panama can be bought for $80,000.

My Favorite Way to Find Property for Sale in Panama

I have discovered my favorite way to view a property for sale. First, you get an hour-long massage costing just $45. Then you eat your fill of fresh-off-the-boat tuna for just $8. And finally, you take a five-minute walk through the streets of Pedasi, Panama and take a look at this house on the left. For sale for $80,000, it’s a two-bedroom, 743-square-foot home currently renting for $600 a month unfurnished.

pedasi-property

My Favorite Way to Find Property for Sale in Panama

I have discovered my favorite way to view a property for sale. First, you get an hour-long massage costing just $45. Then you eat your fill of fresh-off-the-boat tuna for just $8. And finally, you take a five-minute walk through the streets of Pedasi, Panama and take a look at this house on the left. For sale for $80,000, it’s a two-bedroom, 743-square-foot home currently renting for $600 a month unfurnished.

Boquete, Panama, in the heart of Panama's coffee-growing highlands, is a popular town for expats.

A Quick Guide to Panama’s Popular Mountain Towns

The two best things about mornings in Volcancito are the coffee and the view. I’m at the heart of Panama’s coffee-growing highlands—there’s even a bush of red “cherries” in my garden. (They’re surprisingly sweet when you suck one.) And for $600 a month, including all utilities you get a stunning view of the town of Boquete, Panama.

In the Western part of Panama City, Ancon Hill is a natural paradise with outstanding views. © Eoin Bassett

The Best Way to Start a Day in Panama City

What do monkeys, orchids and modern art have in common? You’ll find them all on Ancon hill. At 654 feet high Ancon is an island of natural beauty in the western part of Panama City. Formerly part of the Canal Zone, it’s now a protected area of secondary forest. Flowering Bird of paradise grows on the roadside and tawny-eared neque (think a rabbit crossed with a squirrel) hop into the undergrowth as you approach.

boquete-town

A Quick Guide to Panama’s Popular Mountain Towns

The two best things about mornings in Volcancito are the coffee and the view. I’m at the heart of Panama’s coffee-growing highlands—there’s even a bush of red “cherries” in my garden. (They’re surprisingly sweet when you suck one.) And for $600 a month, including all utilities you get a stunning view of the town of Boquete, Panama.

panama-city-views

Where to go for the Best Views in Panama City

You have the full sweep of the city’s coastline below you, from the high-rises of Punta Paitilla to the church steeples and colonial mansions of the historic Casco Viejo district. Walk back downhill a little and you’ll find a viewing platform from where you can see the goings on in the port of Balboa on the Panama Canal.

Your adventure, in search of the perfect place to retire, can start somewhere like Belize.

This Is What “International Living” Looks Like…

Not so long ago, only sailors, soldiers and the super wealthy got to see the world. But today, globetrotting isn’t just a job for mariners or the preserve of the jet set. You can cruise to Europe for up to 70% off standard prices if you know how… you can use a host of websites to organize low-cost, luxurious accommodation for a few months—enough time to try a place on for size—before moving on to the next… you can sit on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean sipping wine in April, and kick back on a beach in English-speaking Belize in May…

TheBestWay

The Best Way to Start a Day in Panama City

What do monkeys, orchids and modern art have in common? You’ll find them all on Ancon hill. At 654 feet high Ancon is an island of natural beauty in the western part of Panama City. Formerly part of the Canal Zone, it’s now a protected area of secondary forest. Flowering Bird of paradise grows on the roadside and tawny-eared neque (think a rabbit crossed with a squirrel) hop into the undergrowth as you approach.

turkey-coast

Exploring Turkey’s Historic Turquoise Coast

Called the “Turquoise Coast,” the water really is turquoise—usually a brilliant shade of the color. You may argue that it’s cyan, azure, or a shade of blue-green, but you won’t dispute its beauty. If you like sailing, you will love it here. Until the 1970s, access to most villages was by sea only. There are still beaches and hidden spots you won’t reach without a boat. You can easily and affordably take a cruise aboard a traditional wooden gulet (a type of sailboat), or charter one and go it alone.

panama-city-casco-viejo

An Affordable Home in 3 of the World’s Best Cities

It may be your lifelong dream to live in the grand old cities of Europe…cities with a foot in the past and another firmly in the present. Or maybe you’d rather be closer to home in the Americas, enjoying the sultry Latin lifestyle of Panama City or Buenos Aires.

UnderCanvas

Under Canvas and on Foot: Exploring the Turquoise Coast

You’ll find alpine idylls, upland meadows, and trout-filled mountain lakes. Hiking and horseback riding through the pine forests are popular pastimes, and if you like climbing, some of the peaks are 10,000 feet high.

sardinero-cantabria

Spain’s Best-Kept Secret

Sandwiched between the Basque Country and the province of Asturias on Spain’s Atlantic Coast, Cantabria is a small province by Spanish standards, and a secret the Spanish keep to themselves.

Ireland’s Lost Town—Where Santa Claus is Buried

Ireland’s Lost Town—Where Santa Claus is Buried

For over 300 years only the locals knew the secret. Even now, despite being recently opened to the public, the deserted medieval town of Newtown Jerpoint is an off-the-trail gem.

One City, Two Continents…Istanbul For Modern Adventurers

One City, Two Continents…Istanbul for Modern Adventurers

Looking down at Istanbul as night crept in and my plane circled over the city I’ll admit I gasped. Because Istanbul is breathtaking. Snaking in a black line through the pulsing lights below lay the Bosphorus—the narrow straits dividing Asia and Europe.

TurkishCarpet

How to Get a Good Deal on a Turkish Carpet

Ever since the nomadic Turks spilled off the Central Asian steppe and settled the lands of modern day Turkey their carpets have been more than just comfortable rugs on a tent floor.

Clarification—Pricing at Rancho Santana

We made a mistake. The asking price for the cliff-top villa at Rancho Santana that we wrote about on page 43 of your May issue is $650,000.

Health: The 7 Best Havens for Quality Care Overseas

Health: The 7 Best Havens for Quality Care Overseas

“There is something amazing about the medical system here, and something not quite right with ours,” says Shane Simons, who moved to the tropical island of Penang, Malaysia, eight months ago from Los Angeles. “My doctor in L.A. told me I needed a mole removed from my neck. I was in his waiting room for 45 minutes and his consulting room for 45 seconds.

IrishPub

An Irish Pub “Lock In”

In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day I have a tip to share… The pub is central to Irish social life. It’s waned a bit in importance (you won’t find every funeral and wedding there these days) but it’s still the one institution that makes a visit to the Emerald Isle unique. And to truly immerse yourself like a local find yourself a “lock in.”

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Sign up for our free daily Postcard e-letter and we'll immediately send you a FREE RESEARCH REPORT on the most desirable —and cheapest— retirement havens available to you today.

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