“For the good of my health, I had to make a change,” says expat Jennifer Enright of her decision to relocate to the Colombian city of Medellín. “I had to reinvent myself business-wise. After working for years as an executive head hunter for high-tech companies in Seattle, I had had enough. Too much rain and cold, and I injured myself from too much repetitive motion.”
The high-stress life Jennifer left behind is a far cry from her new life on a quiet, tree-lined street in Medellín’s Los Conquistadores neighborhood. Colombia is an oasis for wellness, tranquility, and healthy living—just what Jennifer was looking for.
In 2011 Jennifer and her husband Kent sold their home, their cars, and all their possessions and embarked on a three-year adventure traveling through Central and South America. They spent time in Costa Rica and Panama but found the climate too hot. Santiago, Chile, wasn’t right for them, either.
But in Ecuador, Jennifer found her new calling. “My husband became ill while we were there, and we met an alternative healthcare therapist.” It was her first exposure to this therapy. She saw first-hand how successful the treatments were and decided to study the techniques.
After Jennifer completed her training in Ecuador, they could have gone anywhere in the world. But one place stood out. “We chose Medellín because alternative healthcare is popular. People come here for healthcare.” They also loved the weather. “The weather is perfect for me,” she says. “I don’t even need a blanket at night. And I love living in the flatlands, with no steep hills or streets to climb up. You can walk and walk and walk.” The climate allows Jennifer to spend time outside all year. “With the temperatures nearly the same every day, I don’t have to wait for the ‘good weather’ to get out and about. I walk more than I did back in the U.S.”
The fertile soils surrounding Medellín are also perfect for cultivating a vast array of farm-fresh produce, and Jennifer has incorporated it into her new, healthier diet.
“In this house we have adopted the principles of healthy food,” she says. “Whenever possible, I buy organic produce from a cooperative in Marinilla, a town just outside of Medellín. When they come and deliver it to the house, I feel like I am standing in someone’s garden, surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Fresh produce is extremely affordable here. You can buy enough for a week for about $15. “Although I ate reasonably healthy when I was living in Seattle, the low cost and abundance of produce here makes it much easier to maintain that lifestyle,” Jennifer says.
Despite its big-city amenities and conveniences, Medellín remains very affordable. The couple more than covers expenses through the treatment services Jennifer provides, and by renting spare rooms. “We pay $1,000 per month for rent of our three-bedroom apartment, and then another $100 for utilities,” says Jennifer.
“I have no regrets about moving to Medellín,” she says of her new life. “I especially love the people. You don’t just meet a Paisa [native of Medellín], you meet their mom, their dad, the whole family. I haven’t found that in any other country I’ve visited.”
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