"Quieres una lata o botella?" the friendly pulperia owner asked as I stepped up to the window and asked for cerveza. When I arrived in Nicaragua 22 months ago the simple question of "Would you like a can or a bottle?" was far beyond my level of Spanish comprehension. Back then I could say, "good morning, good afternoon and good evening". I could count to 10. I knew the two most frequently used words by tourists—cerveza and bano—but I certainly couldn't use them in a sentence.
On Tuesday, I will open my Ecuadorian bank account. No big deal; just a savings account with an ATM card. So, why am I so excited? When we arrived in San Vicente, Ecuador nearly 18 months ago, my wife Diane and I were as prepared as we were able to be, which is to say: we had a lot to learn! We had done our best to get ready for our transition, while attending to the myriad tasks necessary when making an international move.
A lot of folks look forward to and truly enjoy the change of seasons. Spring blossoms…the warmth of summer…fall foliage…bundling up in winter. I would not be included in that group. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather. Whenever it snowed I enjoyed walking around and throwing snowballs for about an hour. Then I was ready for it to go away so I could put on a bathing suit.
Panama’s culture has been molded in great part by the Panama Canal. Attempts to build the waterway brought French and American citizens here. The country, once a forgotten province of Gran Colombia, began to grow into an international hub. As ships from all over the world began to utilize the canal, foreign nationals began learning about and heading to Panama. Today, this tiny country is a true melting pot and has been dubbed the logistics Hub of the Americas.
Two years ago we were both on the corporate treadmill—my husband Michael as a consulting engineer for some of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, and I running my own business. While dealing with the challenges of an ever-increasing workload, a dear friend died. It was then that we realized that we had to find the "off" switch for the treadmill.
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…
In a recent survey, International Living asked readers which country they preferred between Italy and France. 43% more of our readers chose Italy as their ideal destination. Voters revealed that they love “the character of the people and their dolce vita lifestyle.” One voter even admitted that “it provides the serenity that I crave. ”
There are situations in life we cannot escape. But fortunately, a long cold winter in the U.S. or Canada isn't one of them. When it's winter in North America, it's summer in South America. And there is no better place in South America for a winter respite than the beaches of Uruguay.
According to Fidelity Investments in 2012, those aged 55 and older had an average balance of $143,300 in their 401k account. But is this enough to retire on? Maybe not in the U.S., but retiring overseas can be much more affordable than retiring in the U.S.
You’ve got the options of a cosmopolitan lifestyle in cities like Quito, Cuenca, and Salinas... or a more quiet existence in any number of smaller enclaves where you can garden with a view. And your choices extend to the kind of home you’d like as well—from the convenience of a modern high-rise condo...to the space afforded by a single-family home with a yard...to raw land on which you can build your dream escape.