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There are few places on earth as romantic as Buenos Aires. At night, in the backstreets, couples dance the tango. Old men sit outside the bars, playing the accordion. Sad music that tells of loss, longing, and the complications of love. I’d come to Buenos Aires with two prized possessions: my dog-eared copy of the poems of the blind poet, Jorge Luis Borges, and my folded and torn certificate for teaching English.
It’s a weekday morning in the early fall and I’m standing on a mountaintop in the Swiss Alps. I’ve been hiking all morning, passing through tiny villages with dark-roofed homes and small chapels whose bells sing out every hour to remind us of the precise time. I’ve walked through fields of wildflowers that overlook snow-capped peaks and past a dozen waterfalls both small and large. And for the past hour I’ve been navigating thin pathways that wind across a barren high-altitude landscape dotted with leftover snow.
Photography was always my passion. But I hesitated making it my “job” because I did not want to ruin the joy it brought me. I was one of those people that thought art was a hobby, not something that could sustain me. So I went off to college, got a Bachelor of Science (in psychology, sociology, and anthropology), and emerged into the “real world” with a career in social services.
“Sometimes we just shake our heads in disbelief that we actually own a home right on the beach in one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen,” Paula Irvin says. “It’s absolutely amazing!” Hummingbirds zip around the bright-red feeder hanging from the balcony. “They always come at this time—just as the sun begins to dip into the ocean and the other birds start calling to each other a goodnight song,” says Paula.
If looking for Spanish Colonial charm there may be no better place to find it than in Nicaragua, one of Central America’s most beautiful countries. Nicaragua oozes with colonial charm. Colonial architecture, red tile roof buildings, homes with central courtyards, and churches on every block all add to the appeal of colonial Nicaragua.
The very thought of moving abroad seems like such an adventure, doesn’t it? The world is full of so many intriguing locations. Which country would you choose? Which city? If you actually pull the trigger and relocate, then the adventure truly begins. Everything is new, exciting, interesting, frustrating, and exhausting all at once. You’re meeting new friends—maybe learning a different language—adapting to a foreign culture, and exploring surrounding areas.
- Expats Reveal Their Five Favorite Restaurants in Ecuador
Posted on November 26, 2013 by Barbara Ross
Ecuador has an abundance of restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. Here, our guys on the ground give you their friendly recommendations of five of the best places to eat in Ecuador.
By now, you know that I advocate acquiring dual citizenship. Dual, even multiple citizenship, for Americans has been upheld as a legal right by the U.S. Supreme Court in several cases. A second passport is solid insurance against tyrannical government. And although Switzerland has been smeared as a haven for tax dodging and money laundering, of all passports, the Swiss is one of the best. It offers visa-free travel to many countries. However, acquiring Swiss citizenship is difficult, usually requiring years of residence to qualify, and even then may be subject to local canton approval.
When you move overseas, most things cost less. Health care is cheaper, beachfront property is cheaper and flights are cheaper when you qualify for a retiree program. You can even enjoy a symphony performance for far less than in the U.S., and have a better quality of life for less. Here is a list of five items that are cheaper overseas.
Tucked away 150 miles east of Puerto Rico, you’ll find one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful jurisdictions—St. Kitts and Nevis. St. Kitts is the larger and more populous island, but I prefer the less hectic pace of life in Nevis. With densely forested mountains, brilliant tropical flowers and crystal-clear waters, there’s plenty of reasons you’d want to own a home on Nevis.
- The More I Got to Know Cuenca, Ecuador, the More I Fell in Love
Posted on November 24, 2013 by James Mola
It was Christmas vacation 2009. I turned on my computer and clicked on Yahoo where a headline caught my attention: “The Top 10 Places in the World to Retire.” I had never heard of the number one city listed, Cuenca, Ecuador. But as I perused the other nine cities, I found something wrong with each of them. They were too hot or too cold, or hot in the summer and cold in the winter, which was just what I wanted to leave behind in Chicago; or they were too far from the U.S.
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.
- Costa Rica Versus Panama: Which Country is Best for You?
Posted on November 21, 2013 by Dan Prescher
My wife, Suzan Haskins, and I were married in Costa Rica 14 years ago and have been back for business and pleasure almost every year since. We also lived in Panama in 2006 and, like Costa Rica, have returned nearly every year for International Living events, editorial trips, and vacations. So it is inevitable that…
When I first moved from the U.S. to Uruguay, I didn’t speak Spanish. And while some English-speaking expats get by without learning any Spanish, my experience is, the more Spanish I learn the richer my expat experience becomes.It took just a little study to learn to greet people and show respect. Now, after a little more study and practice I can express my needs and wants and I’m starting to build rapport with my Uruguayan neighbors. More and more, it feels like I’m getting ready to take off my Spanish “training wheels” and learning to communicate like a local.
- Five Expat Havens in Thailand Offer Low Costs and a High Quality of Life
Posted on November 20, 2013 by Laura Doyle
“Thailand is one of the world’s most popular locales for good living abroad,” says InternationalLiving.com writer Heather Van Deest, who has lived there with her family for the past eight years. “For pennies on the dollar expats gain a year-round tropical climate and access to modern comforts and conveniences, including affordable, high-quality medical care.”
Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, has a culture that many North American expats find comfortable. It’s a place where the traditional and the modern weave together. For example, Montevideo has a prosperous economy, but people still take time for one another. It has new gleaming malls, but it is also teeming with small family-owned shops. Each child in the country receives a free laptop computer, but time with family is still cherished above all else.
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.
In the Kisama Heritage Village in Nagaland, northeast India, the Hornbill Festival is a huge celebration of the indigenous warrior tribes of the region. Taking place between December 1 and 7, the festival is named after the Indian Hornbill, a large and colorful forest bird. You’ll need a government permit to visit, but it’s worth it to experience the beauty contest, archery, wrestling, and lots of singing and dancing.
Tucked away in Ecuador’s imposing Andes mountains are hundreds of green valleys where tumbling rivers nourish fertile soils and temperatures are near perfect all year round. These are among the best places to live in the country, and expats are busily discovering them. You’ll meet couples in this mountainous region who report expenses of $1,440 a month including rent. Most do not own a car.
“The grey slate inn with its tall chimneys, forbidding and uninhabited though it seemed, was the only dwelling-place on the landscape.” I adore “forbidding” places. Especially those with cobbled courtyards, sloping floors, shadowy corridors, beamed ceilings, and log fires. So I’ve followed author Daphne du Maurier’s footsteps to Cornwall’s bleakly beautiful Bodmin Moor.
The savviest investors and businessmen in the world are taking advantage of the bargains in Europe and you should be doing the same. “A few months ago, when I was researching European dividendpaying stocks, I learned about Neil Woodford and his favorite stock,” says Evaldo Albuquerque of Sovereigninvestor.com. “Not many people in the U.S. have heard about Neil Woodford. But in the UK, he’s a superstar…the UK version of Warren Buffett.
Italians have been throwing good parties since before the Romans perfected the opulent banquet. Every village, town, and city district finds its own reason to celebrate, and with a few millennia of culture, history, and legends to draw on, there are plenty of nation-wide events, too. To help you decide which ones you should really experience, we’ve put together a list of the five most unusual ones from around the country.
The soft light of dawn rising behind the tiered towers of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple is a sight that will remain with you for a lifetime. The sky behind the temple turns from a deep blue to shades of pink and orange, with a perfect mirror image reflected in the ponds that lie in the temple grounds. Without a doubt, it’s the country’s biggest draw for foreign visitors.
Winner of the 2013 Global Retirement Index, Ecuador offers sophisticated historical cities…miles of unspoiled, sun-kissed beaches…fertile farmland…and temperate mountain hideaways…and all of it for pennies on the dollar. You can live well for a fraction of the cost of living back in the U.S. And with Ecuador’s official currency the U.S. dollar, you needn’t worry about complicated currency calculations or exchange risks.
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