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I travel with a camera all the time. These days I make a living from photography—selling to publishers, stock agencies, and fine art clients—but even when I was in a job, I never missed the opportunity to indulge in what used to be my hobby. During early morning commutes, I captured scenic landscapes and nature close-ups throughout the four seasons. Images of ice crystals on frozen ponds and kids sledding caught my eye in winter.
My wife and I were enjoying coffee on our back porch the other day when we turned to each other and said, almost simultaneously, “Can’t beat this weather, huh?” And really, here at our home in the heart of the Central Valley, in the hills above the town of Grecia, I have to admit the weather is perfect. (My apologies to all those reading this up north who still have snow on the ground.)
- Bali…Paris…and Arctic Glaciers — The Joys of Travel Photography
Posted on March 6, 2014 by Linda Popovich
When my husband and I wanted to escape the rainy Seattle winter weather in 2012, we planned a trip to South East Asia and spent a month on assignment exploring luxury resorts and spas in Bali, Indonesia. Last summer we relaxed on a luxury barge floating down the Burgundy canal, sipping French wines, visiting local villages and eating fine food along the way. And we did some other business while we were in the neighborhood—in Paris, London, and Wales (nice neighborhood!).
The couple to my left, in their mid-70s, was a “good-ol’-boy” Texan and his pretty, soft-spoken wife. Both were raised as the children of sharecroppers. Across from them, the octogenarian of the group was a nuclear submarine engineer in his native Canada. And at the end of the table sat a former automotive repair-shop manager from California and his accountant wife.
- “A Low Cost of Living, Perfect Weather and Other Reasons Why We Moved to Salinas, Ecuador”
Posted on March 5, 2014 by Denver Gray
When Jo realized I was serious and that our move was a matter of weeks away, she said something I heard more than once before leaving the U.S: “I could never do something like that!” Of course, people have different reasons for thinking that way. And I’ll grant you, our move to Ecuador wasn’t what’s called “normal.”
We sold the house and had to decide what to do with all that stuff. So we took inventory—stuff we wanted to keep on one side of the ledger, stuff for the garage sale on the other. The idea was to get rid of all the things we didn’t need and keep all the things that we thought gave our life meaning and stability…the stuff we absolutely couldn’t live without.
As a wise man once said, “Forewarned is forearmed”…and that’s never truer than when it comes to taxes. Informing yourself of all the IRS regulations is a sensible idea—and could save you thousands of dollars. While it’s important for every American citizen to understand the phraseology of the regulations, if you’re thinking of living, working, or investing abroad, it’s even more important.
I can’t give you one good reason why Americans and Canadians are coming in droves to Ecuador…because there are dozens of very good reasons. There are so many that I can’t list them all here…but based on a recent trip there, I can tell you what some of the best reasons to live in Ecuador are.
I revealed the “hidden” market to about a dozen aspiring entrepreneurs recently, and they were shocked! They didn’t know this thing existed. As I’ve explained to you this week, this market is “hidden” from most people because they don’t know where to look.
In our years abroad, my wife, Suzan, and I have met expats who told us clearly that it was their intention to live someplace where they never saw another expat again. Although I admire the spirit and determination of this kind of total immersion, I can’t help but recall what an expat in the real estate trade in Mexico told us many years ago.
- Tasty, Filling, and Healthy: Five Foods to Try in Costa Rica
Posted on March 2, 2014 by Jason Holland
Costa Rica doesn’t get much attention as a culinary destination. The national cuisine (known locally as comida tipica) hasn’t extended across borders. And you won’t find Costa Rican restaurants anywhere but Costa Rica. Yet, most tourists and expats find that this country is actually full of some great food. It’s tasty, filling, healthy, and, in most cases, very reasonably priced.
- How to Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends in Ecuador…
Posted on February 28, 2014 by Edd Staton
I recently watched the Grammy salute to the Beatles commemorating their performance on the Ed Sullivan show 50 years ago. Yes, I was among the 73 million households glued to the TV set on that historic night. A song that Paul and Ringo performed on the show, “A Little Help from My Friends,” got me thinking about how getting things done where I live in Cuenca, Ecuador is so much easier when you are open to the assistance of others.
A couple of years have passed since I made my way from northern Idaho to middle-of-the-earth Ecuador, but thanks to modern technology I’m able to keep up on the news and happenings from my friends back home. Recently though, it’s begun to feel as though I’m farther removed from them than by the space of a single continent.
- This Ecuadorian “Eco-Valley” Won’t Stay Undiscovered for Long…
Posted on February 26, 2014 by Wendy DeChambeau
This thick cover acts as one of the few remaining intact habitats for elusive pumas, jaguars, and other smaller felines. The endangered spectacled bear also calls the Intag home along with hundreds of varieties of exotic birds. As the condor flies, this cloud forest valley is not far from the market town of Otavalo. In fact, it’s only 35 miles away by road. But for years now that one-and-only road has been a narrow, mountain-hugging dirt track accessible only from the towns of Otavalo or Cotacachi.
China exports more than $1 trillion in goods each year. And that opens the door to an incredible opportunity for people who want to make money online. But it’s important to understand how the game is played. There is a website that has become one of the largest and most successful online marketplaces in the world.
John Sklute, a retired English professor from California, has lived just about everywhere—from sunny Spain to spacious Sweden. So when he says that Berlin has a special something, you know he’s done the legwork. John’s love for Berlin started when he spent a summer there in 1994 and fell in love with a local. The relationship didn’t work out, but John’s passion for Berlin never waned.
Buy low. Sell high. That’s business at its core. It’s a plan that works. It is simply tried and true. And it’s never been easier to execute this than it is today. You can get world-class products directly from their manufacturer online, and then you can sell those products on Amazon (at astonishingly deep discounts) without ever having to deal with the product physically in your home or office.
In the heart of Costa Rica’s Central Valley is Grecia, a charming town of about 16,000. Like the rest of the Central Valley, Grecia has an ideal spring-like climate and enjoys quick access to the capital of Costa Rica, San José. There you can find the best medical care and shopping in the country, as well as the main international airport.
It’s great to have step-by-step guides, especially for big and potentially complicated tasks. Moving yourself out of your home country to a completely new and different culture…and language…certainly qualifies as a big and complicated task. It involves many more steps than just five, but considering only the preparatory phase—the phase before the actual move—here are five essential steps to take before you move to Ecuador.
Although my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I write a lot about retiring overseas, we’re not officially retired. We write for a living, and even after we do reach official retirement age, I’d be very surprised if we didn’t continue our work writing, editing, and traveling. We know more and more folks in the same situation. They have no intention of retiring in the traditional sense and will probably work at something well past any official retirement marker or milestone they may pass.
I’m very lucky to be doing what I’m doing. I’m even luckier to be doing it from where I’m doing it, which right now is Ecuador. I’m a writer, and I trained a long time to do this, although not really on purpose. And I never thought it would lead me overseas. My undergraduate training was in journalism. Just the facts, ma’am. Who, what, when, where, how, and why…and maybe a job at the local newspaper. (Remember newspapers?)
Figuring out how to make some extra money doing something you love is a wonderful thing. And many of my fellow expats are doing exactly that. If you’re looking for inspiration, I’d like to share some of those stories with you. In fact, we know of so many such stories that my husband Dan and I devoted an entire chapter of a new book we’ve written to this exact topic. (More about that in a moment.)
Sometimes things happen when they’re supposed to happen…and that includes books. My wife, Suzan, and I recently finished writing a book about how to move abroad and live a great life on $2,100 a month or less, so I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about why now is such a good time to move overseas. In fact, I don’t think this book could have been written any time but now, and there are three reasons I can think of for that.
- Life Lessons from 12+ Years’ Experience Living Overseas
Posted on February 23, 2014 by Suzan Haskins
As we approach our lucky 13th year of living overseas, my husband, Dan Prescher, and I are fortunate to have shared so many wonderful, memorable experiences in so many far-flung corners of the world—from Southeast Asia to Europe, and nearly every country of Latin America. We’ve lived in Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, and Ecuador… In fact, we’ve lived in more than one destination in some of those countries. We’ve learned to speak Spanish, we’ve bought and sold property…
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