To sit on a porch in the tiny mountain town of Cerro Azul is to experience true serenity. That's how I feel as I relax in an old Adirondack-style chair, gazing at hillsides carpeted in green. A single pick-up truck is the only vehicle that trundles past. Though I don't know him, the driver gives me a friendly wave. Earlier in the day I took a mini-hike to a hilltop mirador (lookout point) and caught far-off glimpses of both the Pacific and the Caribbean. Now I sit sipping my coffee and watching a pretty blue tanager swoop around the garden.
Gary and Julie discovered that learning how to sail, buying a sailboat, and cruising from island to island isn’t as difficult – or expensive - as they once believed. In fact, they wound up spending eight full years sailing the Caribbean on their own boat, without any major problems, and spent only $1,000 a month to do it.
Until about 100 years ago, you didn’t need a passport for international travel. If you were traveling for some official purpose, or needed a way to identify yourself, you often had the option of carrying one. But you didn’t need permission from anyone to cross international borders. For better or worse, that’s not how things are today. Your passport doesn't belong to you. It belongs to whatever government issues you a passport and it can be taken away, for any reason.
The other day my wife Rita and I were sitting in a local restaurant enjoying a $3 almuerzo (lunch special, typically a soup, small salad, rice, and meat or fish with a juice) when I overheard a new arrival behind us say with obvious glee, “I got up today and had no idea what day of the week it was!” I had to turn around and tell him, “That’s nothing. Wait until you can’t remember what month it is!” Sounds odd, but it’s true. Living in Salinas on the Pacific coast of Ecuador, there are few changes to mark the passing of time. This close to the equator the days are always 12 hours long, and the high and low temperatures only change about 10 degrees between the height of summer and the depths of winter. It’s surprisingly easy to find yourself trying to remember if it’s March or October.
An international bank account is always a good idea, particularly if you live, work, invest, or own property abroad. It allows you to control your money wherever you are on the globe, and it is your key to international investment opportunities. Even if you put a few thousand dollars in a non-U.S. bank, you still have the opportunity to take advantage of several key benefits of offshore banking.
Most people think that Social Security is “set-it-and-forget-it”: Once you start up your benefits it’s a “done deal” from there on. Unfortunately, most of us “set-it-and-forget-it” without first understanding how the program works. The result is usually a costly loss in cumulative lifetime benefits. Yet our initial claim doesn’t have to always result in a “done deal”: This is a mistaken impression that leads to all manner of errors...and loss in benefits.
It seemed to be a magical evening on the beach. My wife, Susan, and I decided to find a place to sit in the sand to watch the sunset. As we settled in, a couple of friendly dogs that probably belonged to local surfers, joined us. Soon people were coming from everywhere to find their little piece of real estate to watch what was turning out to be a beautiful sunset in Montanita, Ecuador during our first full week of a three-month visit to this amazing country.
Working my way through the busy marketplace exploding with vibrant colors and bustling with locals carrying out their daily grind, my heart swells with content. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful to live in such an interesting and friendly place that is so full of life. I have become so accustomed to the laissez-faire lifestyle of Tarija in Bolivia, that I could never return to the rat race.
After 35 years in soggy Seattle, Pat and Russ Huber were ready for a drier, warmer climate. They thought that Santa Barbara, California, close to friends and family and with much improved weather, would be their solution. They sold all their stuff, putting only a few things in storage, loaded their car, and headed south, looking forward to their new lives. But after about a year in California, Pat encountered a major medical issue.
San Diego native Robert Quartiano, 63, started his work life at 18 as a commercial fisherman in Oregon. At 40, he thought he was getting a little old for the job so he went to school and became a registered nurse. Nineteen years later, at 59, Robert decided to retire early.