"I knew when it was time to retire we'd move to the tropics. I was bored with the predictability of life in the U.S....the politics...the franchises," says 70-year-old Roberta Laidman.
Perhaps the happiest expat couple I’ve met in Ecuador came here with what fit in their suitcases and only two things that didn’t—a guitar and a fiddle.
At ages 67 and 72, we became senior nomads. We had taken stock of our lives and realized that we were happier on the road than anywhere else—and that becoming home-free would give us the flexibility we needed to experience life in other cultures. Since then, we’ve lived in nine countries, and we have no plans to stop until the wheels fall off!
So there we were, my husband David and I, retired in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, we had a lovely home in a great development and spent our time remodeling, doing volunteer work, and getting on with our lives.
When Roberto, 63, and his wife Réjane Rojas retired in 2002, they were looking for a retirement destination with warm weather, a low cost of living that would allow them to live well on their savings and pension, and easy access to both North and South America. "We visited most of the Central American countries before we decided on Nicaragua."
My husband Tim and I are living proof that older people can learn plenty of new tricks. And our errors have been almost as much fun as our home runs. In 2011, we sold our comfortable California house, dumped the furniture, put our small treasures, art, and clothes in storage, and kissed our four daughters and seven grandchildren goodbye. At ages 67 and 72, respectively, we became senior nomads.
Sandra Ward was introduced to the idea of living in Mexico early. The love of the country followed her for 45 years...into retirement. Sandra’s journey to Mexico began in 1952, when she was just a girl.
When John and Robyn Cole married in 1990 their 12-year age difference wasn't a big deal. But as they started to age together, the difference became more apparent… and they started to think about the future. "I began to see what life would look like if I worked until age 65," says Robyn. "John would be 77."
Lee's biggest business is advising people how to build eco-friendly homes out of shipping containers, throwing in alternative-energy systems, like solar panels, if they’re interested. He’s also the go-to guy in San Juan when expats and business owners have computer trouble. And he helps fellow expats transition to life in Nicaragua...
With a love for Latin American culture and an itch to travel, Jaime Johnson struck out for Panama four years ago. His life took a turn when he met a "special someone"—and a year later he found himself living in her hometown of Bogota, Colombia. "That first year, I traveled throughout Colombia," he recalls. "In Medellin I found one of the most progressive cities I’d ever visited.