A short 45-minute ride from downtown Medellin in Colombia, Rick and Marsha Snow have found their slice of heaven.
They are renting a house in the town of Giradota while building their dream home there. Amazingly, the value of their lot has doubled in the two years since they bought it.
“We really have the best of both worlds,” says Marsha. “We wanted to live in the mountains and have that beauty and tranquility, but we are close enough to Medellin.”
Initially, they lived in the city. Medellin is dubbed “the City of Eternal Spring,” with temperatures in the upper 70s F to low 80s F during the day and the mid-60s F in the evening.
Being at 5,000 feet above sea level allows for the non-humid, bug-free weather. Hundreds of small parks and green spaces make the city feel small. It is more like many neighborhoods attached to each other than a large city. Ethnic restaurants, cafes, small shops and large malls offer something for everyone…all with the Andes Mountains as a backdrop.
The couple—in their late 50s and early 60s—had already downshifted from their full-time jobs and were working from home when it occurred to them, “why are we sitting here in cold, snowy Toronto when we could be doing this same thing someplace warmer?” After trial trips to Ecuador, Chile, Panama, and Costa Rica, they came to Colombia, and their search ended.
“We love everything about this area, but especially the climate and the people,” says Rick. “The weather is nearly perfect every day. A big change from the frigid temperatures of Canada.
“There are mostly vacation homes in Giradota. People come here for the weekend and want to unplug and unwind. We are among the very few that live here full-time. We love starting our day outside on the patio drinking coffee and enjoying the beautiful scenery. And now that we just bought a car, we can explore the small pueblos (towns) nearby.”
Living outside the city presents a challenge in getting good, unlimited internet access. “When we were living in Medellin our monthly utility bill for gas, water, sewer, electricity, and internet was about $50. Now we have to pay $100 per month just for unlimited internet,” says Marsha.
However, she can justify the tradeoff; having unlimited internet service is vital to her business. “We wanted to live on the side of the mountain, so the views and tranquility are worth it for us,” she says. “I had been coaching for years back in Canada. Now I am creating an online, relationship-coaching business.”
Marsha is able to conduct classes and one-on-one coaching over Skype to clients in the U.S. and Canada…and still have great recreational opportunities on her doorstep.
“We spend our free time hiking and walking through the beautiful countryside,” she says.
Colombia’s great climate makes it possible to enjoy that kind of outdoor lifestyle and Marsha is also impressed with how friendly the Colombians are.
“The Colombian people we have met are very happy to have foreigners here,” she says. “They are proud of their country and really want to connect with us.”
In addition to the perfect weather and warm, accepting people, Rick and Marsha find the cost of living is significantly below what they were experiencing in Toronto.
“Fresh produce is less than half the price in Canada, but four times better,” says Rick, referring to fruits and vegetables from local farms where they don´t use pesticides.
Often asked for advice to others considering a move, Rick and Marsha suggest that you don’t bring your culture to Colombia. Let it go…and embrace a new way of life.
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