Maybe it’s the music. Or the breathtaking landscapes. Or the witty humor and long, effortless conversations. Even without a drop of Irish blood in your veins, it’s easy to fall in love with Ireland’s charms, traditions, and strong sense of community. The recession that followed the Celtic Tiger boom hasn’t altered the essentials that make the Emerald Isle special.
What attracted me to my husband, Kim, was the fact that he loves adventure as much as I do. We've lived in eight cities in Florida and four states from Florida to Washington. Not to mention living and traveling aboard our boat for seven years, during which time we lived in Trinidad and Venezuela. I thought we finally found our cozy little retirement home when we bought our last house in Florida…but my husband still wasn't ready to settle down, even though we were now retired. He began investigating living overseas and said he wasn't ready to stop discovering the world or having adventures because we were retired.
With nearly 6,000 miles of coastline, Mexico has plenty of beaches—and beach resorts where you can lie in the lap of luxury. But what if you’re on a budget? No worries… Mexico still has some very affordable beach destinations.
Deciding to move abroad requires a lot of courage, more than most people can muster. The next step, choosing specifically where on our vast planet to live, takes meticulous research and brutally honest soul searching. When the circumstances of the economic recession of 2008 led us to the conclusion that retiring early outside the U.S. was our best option, we didn’t simply put on a blindfold and throw a dart at a map. To the contrary, we had many conversations centered around the question, “What do we want?”
“What do you do to stay busy?” It’s a question I am asked frequently about life in Ecuador. There seems to be a fear that once you arrive, get settled in, and explore a bit, you’ll run out of things to do and soul-sucking boredom will set in. But I don’t know a single expat who struggles to fill their time and here’s why. Aside from the day-to-day activities of life—grocery shopping, household chores, and paying bills—the country holds a myriad of ways to fuel your interests and keep you occupied.
“I love that our life is so different than I ever thought it would be,” says Pokey Sherman, 65. “I grew up in Pittsburgh. And my parents retired to Florida. I thought, ‘Is that all there is?’ I think the idea of retirement should be to change your lifestyle.” “It’s a real joy to wake up and come out here and realize what we’ve done,” she adds, referring to their fifth-floor balcony. Their condo is set on a hill overlooking a low-key beach town, verdant forest, the glittering Pacific, surfer-filled waves, and river to the north.
It has been almost three years since my wife Rita and I first purchased our oceanfront condo in the popular beach town of Salinas, Ecuador, and just over two years since we moved here to live. Sometimes it’s a bit mind-boggling when we stop and think about how different our lives are now. If I had to pick one of the biggest changes we’ve made that has had the biggest impact on our lives, I would have to say it’s living without a car. Let’s put aside the obvious effect on our pocketbook—to be free of the expenses of car payments, car repairs, maintenance, insurance, and gas—and look at the change it makes in our lifestyle.
“I found myself out of work a few years back and, at my age (62), it wasn’t looking like I would find anything suitable, so it was a bit of a dilemma,” explains Paul Jones. “Fortunately, I made a few small property investments, which I was able to get a decent return on, so there was enough cash in the kitty to explore my options. I could have stayed at home but I’d had enough of big-city living and was looking for something different.”
Cosmopolitan cities, glorious sunshine, delicious cuisine, and low costs—as a retirement or second-home destination, Spain is hard to beat. The southern province of Andalucia, particularly the area around the Costa del Sol, is the epitome of good-value, romantic Spanish living. It has everything: long sandy beaches perfect for strolling on…romantic, white-washed hill towns cling to the Andalusian hillsides...
Cozumel is a perfect blend of laidback island life with tons of activities to enjoy. Here you can have as relaxed or active a retirement as you want. You can park yourself on a perfect stretch of white-sand beach for the day, listening to the waves as you read the latest best-seller, or don a snorkel to explore the world’s second-largest reef system, just offshore. Clear waters make it easy to see (and photograph) sea turtles, rays, and colorful clown fish. You can even make arrangements to swim with giant whale sharks.