I began looking into an overseas retirement in 2015. I truly love the U.S., but I couldn’t afford to live there on my Social Security and I’ve had a need for adventure all my life, so becoming an expat was a necessary step.
I never imagined that the brutal, financial knock-out punch my wife, Diane, and I absorbed back in 2008 would turn out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to us. It gave us the push we needed to leave the U.S. and begin our new lives overseas.
When we talk to family and friends about our lives now that we have moved to Ecuador, they are often amazed. “That’s such a big change,” they say. “I could never make such a big leap.” And it is true that moving to a foreign land can be quite a leap of faith.
I have a confession to make: I had an addiction. Or maybe it’s better described as an obsession…or a mania. There was a time when I probably could have stood in a dank room full of the similarly afflicted and said, “Hello, my name is John, and I have too many watches.”
Wherever you are in the world, rent tends to fall into two categories; either an outrageous burden or a relative joy. In Cambodia paying rent is definitely not a burden thanks in no small part to the reasonably priced properties that are available for expats in places like Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
I have been living happily in the town of Quepos on Costa Rica’s South Central Pacific Coast for almost nine years. I retired in 2008 at the age of 65 after visiting Costa Rica eight times in the previous five years, always ending up in Quepos and getting more and more comfortable with the lifestyle here.
There are plenty of reasons to go to La Libertad, here on the Santa Elena peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean on the west coast of Ecuador. You can go to take care of business at one of the government office like the IESS (social security and healthcare) or SRI (income taxes).
I’m walking along the Panama Bay, under a clear sky the color of cornflowers. The tide is high, and the waves of the deep Pacific are breaking close to the shore. A warm, strong breeze swooshes through the palms…their rattling leaves are the sound of summer.
“I’m in better shape now than I’ve been in many years,” says Warren Sklar, reflecting on his new life in Ecuador. “I was 140 pounds heavier, I was having a very difficult time controlling my blood pressure with three medications, and my diabetes was pretty much out of control… If I had stayed in the U.S., I’d be dead now.”
Walking into my Tai Chi/Qigong class this morning at the Atenas Yoga Center, I was greeted by several new smiling faces. There were new expats in town, renting a house for a few months to check out whether Atenas, Costa Rica, could be their new home.