Jennifer Stevens

Author Image for Jennifer Stevens

Jennifer Stevens is the Executive Editor of International Living. She’s worked closely with IL for nearly two decades and has traveled through 27 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Africa—many more than once—writing about the best locales for overseas travel, retirement, and investment. Jennifer is also the author of AWAI’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program and teaches travel writing at workshops throughout the year. In past incarnations, she wrote marketing studies for the Foreign Commercial Service in Paris and taught high school English on an East African island, where she served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Archives

The Freedom to Make Your “Home” Anywhere Your Heart Desires

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself,” said the poet Maya Angelou. I suppose she’s right…we all aspire to a certain comfort in our own skin. I’ve always felt travel encouraged it, in fact.

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Why “Cheap” Alone Is Not A Worthy Objective

“Cheap” alone is not a worthy objective. We don’t look for it here at International Living—and nor should you. Just because you can buy a coffee for a dime or stay in a hotel for $20 a night—that’s not reason enough to go. Plenty of “cheap” corners tenant this world—many, quite frankly, just plain undesirable. What we chase—and what you should be after, too—is good value.

The Come-Hither Allure of an Overlooked Gem

You might imagine that, with 12 monthly issues of our magazine and 365 daily IL Postcards to dispatch each year, we might find ourselves occasionally at a loss for words. But we never are: we have more ideas and recommendations than we have space. It’s a never-ending game of triage, each new destination vying for attention with its own come-hither look.

Join the Ranks of High-Flying Travel Writers

Around the world, tour operators, hotels, cruise lines, and resorts are fighting for your vacation dollars. They have to pay big bucks to buy ads in magazines and online…and they do so. But some “good press” can be invaluable to their campaign as well. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is a case in point. It’s long been a destination for expat retirees and visitors from Mexico City and around the country.

Only With Boots on the Ground Can You Uncover Secret Finds

Atlantic beach towns that take you back in time…a foodie’s paradise in Southeast Asia where dim sum stalls beckon…an arts-rich bohemian haven in South America full of cafés and concerts… All over the planet you’ll find hidden gems like these—spots that rarely, if ever, earn even a passing mention in the popular press. It’s not surprising. Almost no publications bother to keep outposts abroad anymore. The quality and scope of international news coverage—and our understanding of and empathy for the world—has suffered for it.

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Take a Romantic Notion and Make it Your Reality

For 25 years, I’ve been designing an apartment in Paris—in my mind’s eye. I mentioned it to an acquaintance at a party recently who said, “That’s such a romantic notion.” What she meant was “dream on…it’ll never happen.” This knee-jerk dismissal of the romantic notion as something fundamentally frivolous—or, at the very least, unrealistic—is typical. But at the risk of causing offence, I’d like to say: I think it points to a lack of imagination. To my mind, romantic notions provide the fuel for a life lived rich with adventure.

The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop

Here are a lot of reasons why you should try your hand at travel writing. It’s Fun! You can relax by the pool at a beautiful seaside resort and call it work, and then eat out at a 5-star restaurant and call it research. You get paid to do things you’d gladly pay for yourself. Publications will cover many travel expenses, and hotels and restaurants typically will roll out the red carpet for travel writers.

ABountyOfChoice

A Bounty of Choice Overseas Today Delivers Plenty of Options

Everybody comes to the “Where overseas?” question with his own set of preferences. This one wants beach, that one cool weather. This woman wants to be four hours from home. And that guy is looking for a place to dock a sailboat.

When you’re pinpointing your ideal destination, start with list of what’s most important to you. And understand: No place is perfect. You have to prioritize. For a community she loves, “madame must-be-close-to-home” might just stretch her travel time to four-and-a-half hours.

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A Gentler Life Abroad: When Your Dream Takes You Off the Beaten Track

As this idea of living better for less overseas tiptoes into the mainstream, newspapers and magazines mention places like San Miguel de Allende in Mexico or the Central valley in Costa Rica. These communities have long attracted foreign retirees. They’re the “old guard” in expat havens. You can slide into them easily, what with active expat groups, supermarkets, and plenty of homes to rent. They’re convenient, proven, attractive.

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Retirees Wanted to Test-drive Life Overseas For a Month—All Expenses Paid

We at International Living are sending one lucky winner (along with a friend or spouse) to Coronado, Panama for a full month in 2014—free. The prize includes round-trip flights from the U.S. or Canada to Panama City, furnished accommodation in the beach-resort town of Coronado, plus a living-expense stipend of $1,500.

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Europe’s Seductive Tug: How to Indulge without Breaking the Bank

Europe may be the second-smallest continent by land mass, but it’s extravagantly diverse in geography, climate, language, and culture. From the flamenco-dancing south of Spain to Rembrandt’s tulip-filled homeland, to the rugged cliffs of Italy’s Mediterranean coast, it’s equally rich with opportunity…for gracious travel…comfortable living…even for good-value investing.

DiscoveringComfortable

Discovering Comfortable Corners in Unexpected Places

All over the planet you’ll find little pockets of prosperity…corners where you can live comfortably on a modest budget…destinations rich with opportunity for adventure and profit. Rarely—if ever—are these places you hear about on the nightly news. But that’s not surprising. Our correspondents aren’t looking under bushes for a brouhaha.

A metropolis like Panama City can offer a wealth of choice in restaurants, museums, and parks.

It’s “Win-Win” for Expats in These Second Cities…

A metropolis like Panama City or Paris or Montevideo has its advantages. In large, cosmopolitan communities, you have a wealth of choice in restaurants, museums, and parks. The hospitals tend to be better, the cultural offerings more varied. But a big city has its downsides, too. It can be loud, frenetic, disorganized. You may gain a measure of anonymity you enjoy, but it can be difficult to meet your neighbors and make friends.

The Tempting Middle Ground A “Second City” Offers

The Tempting Middle Ground a “Second City” Offers

A metropolis like Panama City or Paris or Montevideo has its advantages. In large, cosmopolitan communities, you have a wealth of choice in restaurants, museums, and parks. The hospitals tend to be better, the cultural offerings more varied. But a big city has its downsides, too. It can be loud, frenetic, disorganized.

These days you don't have to be wealthy, eccentric, or running from the law to retire somewhere like Italy.

World Travel Has Changed for Retirees…

Fifty years ago, if at retirement age you spent a few months in Paris…then moved on to Lisbon for the winter…settled for the spring in Italy…and then steamed down to Panama and Argentina…you were probably either wealthy, eccentric, or running from the law. These days…you’re just a run-of-the-mill vagabond retiree.

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Retirement Reimagined as a Moveable Feast

Fifty years ago, if at retirement age you spent a few months in Paris…then moved on to Lisbon for the winter…settled for the spring in Italy…and then steamed down to Panama and Argentina…you were probably either wealthy, eccentric, or running from the law. These days… you’re just a run-of-the-mill vagabond retiree.

Could Spain be your retirement haven?

Where to Get More for Your Dollar (and What to do if it Devalues…)

You ain’t nothin but a hound dog…cryin’ all the time… Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit… And you ain’t no friend of mine… Elvis was in the house last night. Young Elvis. Dressed in a nicely tailored black suit with a white, open-collared shirt, he serenaded our VIP readers over cocktails in the 20th-floor penthouse here at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. As I wandered through the crowd yesterday evening, I was pleased to hear that—the occasional Elvis recollection aside—the conversations had turned to the details shared thus far about the world’s best retirement destinations.

Could you see yourself retired here in Mexico?

“This Retirement Haven Keeps Getting Better and Better”‏

“From curried kale chips to soy milk…every time I say, ‘I wish we could get that here,’ the person I’m talking to tells me we can and where I can go to pick it up…or I stumble on the item myself at the store two weeks later,” said Jessica Ramesch this morning to a packed house of 800 International Living readers. “Panama just keeps getting better and better.”

Could Italy be the paradise that you retire to?

Revealed: The Unvarnished Truth About a Life Overseas…

“You may have sunglasses on right now, but I’d say you wear rose-colored ones more often.” That was the first thing a reader—I’ll call him Joe—told me this afternoon. I braced myself. He continued, “I like what you guys at International Living do, but sometimes I get the sense you omit the blemishes when you write about a place. So I was a little skeptical when I got here. I have to say, though—everything we’ve heard so far has felt like the unvarnished truth. And that’s what I came for—the benefits and the drawbacks—so I can compare my options in a realistic way.”

SpottingOpportunity

Spotting Opportunity Where Few Others Look

On a sun-baked day 20 years ago, when I was living in the Comoros, off the East African coast, I learned a lesson. The shortwave was tuned to the world news from London, and the broadcaster reported unrest in my village. Only it wasn’t true. I’d just ridden my bike home from the school where I was teaching…and nothing was out of the ordinary. Note to self: second-hand dispatches to be taken with a grain of salt.

On The Other Side Of Nature’s Moat: A Slow, Quiet Island Life

On the Other Side of Nature’s Moat: A Slow, Quiet Island Life

Nature’s moat, that liquid rampart that separates an island from the mainland coast, creates a divide in more than land mass. On an island you simplify, slow down, quiet your penchant for deadlines…more by necessity, perhaps, than design. They don’t call it “island time” for nothing.

That Other, Secret Europe—Too Often Overlooked

That Other, Secret Europe—Too Often Overlooked

Everybody has heard of Paris, Florence, Barcelona and the like. But then you have the rest of a vast continent—a treasure trove of time-worn towns and affable villages…secret islands and dramatic landscapes

Beyond Exotic, Asia Reveals Ease, Comfort And Affordability

Beyond Exotic, Asia Reveals Ease, Comfort and Affordability

In Southeast Asia, I expected the exotic. I’d grown up amid artifacts, artwork, and stories from that part of the world, where my father had lived. Monks draped in orange robes…gilded, dragon-sheathed temples…the heady aromas of spice-rich dishes wafting from market stalls.

Conventional Wisdom?

Conventional Wisdom?

Like a winter coat in a swimming pool, conventional wisdom can drag you down. Don’t have enough to retire on? Work longer, it says. Want to live well? You need a big house, a big car, and a massive budget.

SagelyIgnoring

Sagely Ignoring Conventional Wisdom

“More places…more often…with more insiders as our guides.” This year, we’ve made a commitment to expand our reach…to cover the world more comprehensively…to open up for you new possibilities. People always talk about how the world is getting smaller. But as an IL reader, yours is about to expand. In an era when so many news organizations are calling their foreign correspondents home (further insulating an already myopic American public), we’re doing just the opposite.

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Drinks with a View in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On a palm-filled patio five stories up, overlooking the Tonlé sap River, we Americans apparently conjure up a certain cosmopolitan flair. Order an “Americano” at Le moon Terrace Bar and you get a martini-campari cocktail. (creature of habit, I opted for a G&T.)

Welcome to a Bigger, Better World

Welcome to a Bigger, Better World

“More places… more often… with more insiders as our guides.” This year, we’ve made a commitment to expand our reach…to cover the world more comprehensively…to open up for you new possibilities. People always talk about how the world is getting smaller. But as an IL reader, yours is about to expand. In an era when so many news organizations are calling their foreign correspondents home (further insulating an already myopic American public), we’re doing just the opposite.

YourWorldJustGotBigger

Your World Just Got Bigger…and Better, Too

“More places…more often…with more insiders as our guides.” This year, we’ve made a commitment to expand our reach…to cover the world more comprehensively…to open up for you new possibilities. People always talk about how the world is getting smaller. But as an IL reader, yours is about to expand. In an era when so many news organizations are calling their foreign correspondents home (further insulating an already myopic American public), we’re doing just the opposite.

The Magic of a New Life Overseas

The Magic of a New Life Overseas

At home we’re fed a distinctly flavorless view of the “rest of the world.” When we get news of foreign locales, it’s most often about tragedy or macroeconomics. We have a poor understanding of what’s really “out there.” Here at International Living, we aim to help you build a richer and more nuanced understanding of the kind of life you could embrace abroad—and why you’d want to.

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Banish Winter With a Part-Time Escape Overseas

It’s the time of year when folks start glaring at their snow shovels. I get it. When we lived in Chicago, I used to think: Why on earth did people ever settle here? It’s when you’re most sick of long johns and scraping car windows that a warm-weather escape takes on a nirvana-like quality. But for lots of folks, it remains a dream.

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Discovering Possibilities…and the Magic of Life Overseas

In C.S Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the children find—behind the winter coats—the entrance to a wondrous world. Now Narnia may not be real, but discovering and exploring your possibilities overseas can prove just as magical.

The January issue of International Living magazine features IL's annual Global Retirement Index

A Richer Life Overseas

We created our annual Global Retirement Index—in the current issue of International Living magazine—to help you navigate “our world.” It ranks the best destinations for retiring overseas today. And it’s informed as much by on-the-ground intelligence as by statistics—which is to say: It’s our judicious opinion. It’s designed to help you compare and contrast what we believe are your best options for retirement abroad in 2013.

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How to Find Your Path to a Richer Life Overseas

The world we cover at International Living isn’t the same one you hear about on the nightly news. We seek out opportunity—not ratings. This frees us, mercifully, from the “if it bleeds, it leads” mandate. So we can seek out the fortuitous instead of the unfortunate.

What Do the Happiest Expats Have in Common?

What Do the Happiest Expats Have in Common?

It doesn’t matter where they came from or what they did back home—teacher, entrepreneur, dentist, secretary, taxi driver, journalist—the happiest expats we meet overseas have one thing in common: They brought their sense of adventure with them. I’m not talking dare-devil tendencies. I mean, simply, that they went overseas ready to try new things, to be confounded, to be impressed, to be surprised… I bring this up because you should know: Living overseas works best when you’re pulled there and not just pushed.

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The Pull of Adventure…and Freedom Abroad

It doesn’t matter where they came from or what they did back home—teacher, entrepreneur, dentist, secretary, taxi driver, journalist—the happiest expats we meet overseas have one thing in common: They brought their sense of adventure with them.

Entrepreneurs Overseas - International Living - Since 1979

Entrepreneurs Overseas

Many retirees fund their lives overseas through savings, Social Security, and pensions. But those aren’t your only options. In this golden age of the portable career, we know readers cashing in with freelance work from every corner of the planet. But earning from a laptop doesn’t suit everybody. And that’s just fine. Because many expats report that—once you have boots on the ground in a new place—it’s easy to spot money-making opportunities.

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Accidental Entrepreneurs Embrace Opportunity Overseas

In exotic, welcoming, warm-weather destinations all over the world—from Colombia to Korea—you can live better for less. But, alas, you can’t live for free. Many retirees fund their lives overseas through savings, Social Security, and pensions. But those aren’t your only options. In this golden age of the portable career, we know readers cashing in with freelance work from every corner of the planet.

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When Should You Retire Overseas?

There are good (and not-so-good) reasons for heading abroad. Find out if you’re well-suited to the expat life and the 10 steps to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

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When Should You Retire Overseas?

There are good (and not-so-good) reasons for heading abroad. Find out if you’re well-suited to the expat life and the 10 steps to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

03---Jen

When Should You Retire Overseas?

There are good (and not-so-good) reasons for heading abroad. Find out if you’re well-suited to the expat life and the 10 steps to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

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