Advances in technology have opened up the world. Planes, trains and the Internet are all getting faster and—if you know where to look—you can embrace these changes and make your dream of exploring dozens of overseas destinations come true. Right now, living internationally...
"I love walking along the Tomebamba River," says Janda Grove. "I think it's one of the nicest things about Cuenca." Boasting romantic 18th-century architecture, and a rich artistic and cultural tradition, the colonial city of Cuenca is set high in Ecuador's Andes Mountains.
Gary Scott and his wife Merri have journeyed to the Dominican Republic, where they ran property tours. In Ecuador they owned a hotel for a spell in the cool-weather mountain town of Cotacachi.
Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast is known for its dramatic coastline of tree-covered mountains dropping suddenly to the ocean, empty beaches, and lush rainforest full of wildlife like toucans, howler monkeys, sloths, and dozens of other species.
Graham Cooper first became an expat when he moved from his native England to Toronto, Canada in 1972, to pursue what would be a long and prosperous career in mechanical engineering. When he became eligible for retirement after 30 years with the same employer at the age of 55, he didn’t hesitate. “I figured, why would I work any longer if I can retire now,” Graham reflects. “My company offered me a nice retirement package including my pension and health benefits until I die, so I took it and planned to pursue my passion for travel.”
It’s another leisurely morning in paradise for Helen Murphy, as she strolls through the garden of her tropical-island home. She repots her plants and reorganizes her purple orchids. She has all the time in the world to spend, as she plants new seeds in her nursery and takes photos of the latest blooms to post online later.
As attorneys in Detroit, my husband Kurt and I worked excessive hours. But we always had a plan to retire early to paradise. We traveled extensively around the world in search of that paradise and Costa Rica had what we were looking for.
Diana Moore and Tim Nutley are thrilled to be living on a Caribbean island. “Our lifestyle now is ‘chillaxed’, as people here say. We are no longer working long hours and then trying to get everything done on the weekend,” says Diana. “We like living here for simple reasons. The atmosphere is awesome. No one is in a hurry. There are no automobiles here. We get around on bikes. So there’s no polluted air or road rage.”
With 17 miles of continuous golden-sand beaches, a low key, laidback Caribbean lifestyle, a small population, and plenty of top notch restaurants and funky beach bars, it’s not surprising that expats are pulling up stakes to move to Belize’s Placencia peninsula… In February of 2014 Laura and Dave Diffendal left Cleveland, Ohio, for Placencia Village. They now live an entirely different lifestyle, as Laura explains, “Exactly two years ago, I was sitting on my couch in snowy Cleveland. Now we’re having weekly adventures, spending days on the beach, afternoons in farmers’ markets, and living a life we would only have tried out on vacation once a year if we had stayed back home.”
There's something endearing about Cotacachi, but what that something is, is far from definitive. My husband, Kim, and I each have our own reasons for loving this little mountain town we've called home for almost two years. Kim feels the people of Cotacachi make it special. He enjoys leisurely, morning walks into town and loves to stop along the way and chat with shopkeepers. It's not unusual to find him seated on a park bench chatting with locals. Invariably, men come up to him to shake his hand and elderly ladies often stop to give him a hug. I'm always surprised by how many people know him.