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…
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.
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.
There I was 140 feet up a tree in the rainforest of Costa Rica's Southern Zone. I'd hoisted myself up using mountaineering gear--it took about 30 minutes. Now, as we rested dangling in our harnesses, we watched a trio of toucans of one species eating nuts on a nearby tree and then a pair from another species fly right by our heads.
I love Spain. Every time I'm there I fall right back into the lifestyle. Someone recently described the Spanish as having “perfected the art of hanging out,” and I have to admit I agree. They've raised it to an art form. And the siesta? Greatest invention since sliced bread, in my book. I'm not alone in my assessment. I meet folks all the time who say, “Spain? Oh, yeah….” And then they sigh.
Nothing quite prepares you for the beauty of Phuket, especially when approaching the region by air…the sparkling, turquoise waters and jungle-topped mountains, the rocky outcrops and white-sand beaches. The country’s largest island is paradise for many expats.
I have a confession to make. I don’t like the beach. I know tropical beach is supposed to be the dream of every sensible expat. We’re supposed to want to swing in a hammock on it, listen to the surf gently lapping on it, stroll barefoot on it, drink ice-cold beer under umbrellas on it, and walk out of the front door of our seaside bungalows directly on to it.
After landing in Panama City, Mike traveled to Shelter Bay Marina—situated at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal—to meet up with the owner and check out Escapade. Mike was thrilled with the vessel, so, after getting the green light from Ann, he bought it. The boat-buying process works about the same way as purchasing a house.
My French adventure began in the ninth grade—in a classroom with a tall bearded French teacher called Mr. Kavanaugh. Mr. Kavanaugh adored la belle France—often showing us French films or playing the music of Edith Piaf—and his enthusiasm for the country was infectious. I nursed those fanciful high school moments into a dream of visiting and maybe one day, living in France.