Why Tourists And Expats Flock To This Colonial Gem of Granada

If it’s Spanish Colonial charm you’re after, you can’t do much better than Granada, Nicaragua. The place is steeped in it. It’s only natural… Granada was the first European city on mainland America, and historians have the official records of the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Castile to prove it. Thanks to its location on Lake Nicaragua and its access to the Atlantic via the San Juan River, it was essentially a Caribbean port for the Spanish, and much of the gold, silver, and other wealth the Spanish sent back to Spain during the conquest was sent from Granada.

Why Ordering Pizza Was an Expat Life Victory

When you imagine moving abroad, you might imagine a day down the road when you “get it”—when everything about living in your adopted country finally clicks, and you can function smoothly, just like the locals. My experience was different. I did gain that comfort and confidence, but I didn’t wake up one day and say to myself, “Aha! I finally have this expat thing figured out.”

What’s My Favorite Retirement Haven? I Don’t Know Yet…

My wife and I celebrated our 19th anniversary last week. The length of our marriage roughly coincides with the length of our journey of discovery exploring the world (and ourselves) on behalf of International Living. Married in 1997, it took three years of anticipation, trepidation, and preparation before we actually moved overseas, beginning our expat lives in Quito, Ecuador, in 2001.

What’s Happening in Ecuador?

My wife, Suzan, and I were in the U.S. for a conference when Ecuador was hit by its biggest earthquake in decades. We learned of it immediately from our friends and neighbors in our hometown of Cotacachi in the Andes Mountains in northern Ecuador, where the quake was felt but caused no extensive damage. The story was different on Ecuador's northern Pacific coast. Entire towns have been flattened. Hundreds... perhaps thousands... of people have died, and thousands more have been injured or left homeless.

My Love-Hate Relationship With the World Of Travel

I am a bad traveler. That may seem like a strange admission to make for an expat. Travel is, after all, part of the deal...you can't really live abroad without traveling—at least to the country in which you plan to settle. And to be sure, I love to see and experience other towns, cities, beaches, mountains...the lure of foreign lands and exotic adventures has not diminished for me during my years abroad.

The Perfect Solution to These Baby Boomer Regrets

A recent British Airways survey of 2,000 baby boomers found that their biggest regrets in life are working too much and not traveling enough. This hit home for me, first because I’m a baby boomer myself. I was born between 1946 and 1961. It also struck a chord with me because, for the past 15 years, I’ve been working for an outfit that directly addresses both these issues.

How Do You Measure the “Wealth” in Your Life?

When my wife and I moved abroad in 2001, we left a trail of what we thought were our life’s most important possessions behind us. In a storage locker, appliances and keepsakes we were sure we’d need when we “settled down” overseas. In the basements and spare rooms of several good and very patient friends, furniture, art, and books we thought were the stuff of our emotional and cultural lives, that we’d need to have around us someday, wherever we were on the planet.