I happen to think that I'm one of the luckiest guys in the world. Not only do I live in Malaysia, a beautiful country on so many levels, but also I love what I do. I travel at will, pretty much at the drop of a hat. I've enjoyed complimentary meals and hotel upgrades along the way.
We started our cruising life in our early 40s. My husband, Jim, dreamed of sailing to exotic places in search of the perfect retirement spot. But we lived in Colorado, a tad landlocked for ocean adventures. So we learned to sail small boats on mountain lakes. When we grew tired of doing figure eights, we began researching online for blue-water cruising boats, and formulated a plan.
Belize is well-known for its famous Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. For decades adventurous scuba divers and anglers have vacationed in Belize, in pursuit of their favorite marine sports. But this tiny country also has some fine beaches. But they aren't always obvious to the first-time tourist...
Every day in my travel research I come across the terms "hidden gem," "off the beaten path," "unspoiled, authentic, undiscovered..." The Dordogne region of France is the only place I have been to date where it is actually true. Castles sit like crown jewels along the river banks. My family and I often found ourselves beating our own path through the oak forests toward the river bank.
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.
"One of the best things about living in Spain is the simplicity," says Fiona Lennol. "Less is expected of you. You're not required to have a fancy car or a big house. You can be yourself and just enjoy life. When you wake in the morning to blue skies and sunshine the day is already good.
When I'm back home in the States, I'm often asked why I moved to Belize. It's not a difficult question to answer...but with all the things I love about living here, the answer can be a long one.
"Sitting on my sofa, I can look out to the Caribbean Sea and watch the water crash over the barrier reef," says Rose Alacantra. "The view from my condo connects me with nature. It helps frame my day-to-day attitude."
Nestled in the Panamanian mountains along a rocky road, off the paved highway, is the home of Dr. Dave Ahrend. To get there, you drive up a newly constructed freeway for about 45 minutes before turning off onto a paved road that takes you up into the mountains.
"I'm glad we didn't have enough money to retire in the U.S." says Kris Cunningham, who moved to Panama with her husband Joel in 2012. "If we had, we would have missed out on our wonderful life here."