For years, I dreamed about moving overseas to a tropical climate. I was drawn to the Caribbean beaches of Mexico, Panama, and Brazil...but every time I read an article about Belize, something inside me lit up. It reminded me of my childhood in south Florida. I imagined myself swinging idly in a hammock and taking long walks along the shore.
David Diffendal is one of the many expats who came to the tropical peninsula of Placencia, Belize as a vacationer...but quickly recognized the business opportunities and quality of life on offer here...and stayed. "When I visited Placencia in 2014, I saw that there was a wealth of upscale restaurants, activities, and excursions in the village," says David.
"This is the place to be if you're going to be in the dive shop business," says Lara Alasia, co-owner of Divers UnderGround in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. "It's a well-known and uber-popular dive destination.
Life is easy in Madrid. Each day begins at the local coffee shop for a steaming cup of espresso with a dash of milk. The owner knows just how much milk to add, and always does so with a smile. My coffee costs just $1.30—a small price to pay for starting my morning off right.
"In Arizona, it was hot in the summer and in the winter we got snow," says Beverley Scherberger. "I love the outdoors, but I never wanted to actually go out because of the weather."
"I'm kind of a social butterfly," says Linda Flierl Hooks, owner of The Donkey Den Cafe and Guesthouse in Santa Marianita, Ecuador. At 71 years old, Linda's life is socially active and satisfying.
As I wander through bustling streets, the soundtrack changes with each turn I take...first jazz plays, then hip-hop, rock, even a full gamelan (a traditional Indonesian percussion instrument) orchestra...
It was mid-December in the Mediterranean—a bright, sunny, blue-sky day, brisk and perfect for a light jacket—and I was on a quest for the best cannoli in town.
I'm not a morning person. But waking up in the plush surroundings of an ocean-view room in a luxury resort on the island paradise of Bali is a breeze. I happily left my cozy bed to take in the view from my private terrace as the soft orange and purple hues of dawn breaking lit up the ocean beyond.
It was a great feeling when my wife and I sold our car three years ago and got on the plane for a one-way flight to Salinas, Ecuador. Living without a car has been a wonderful experience, and it's one of the ways that expats are able to keep their living expenses so low.