I had been researching the prospect of retiring overseas for two or three years.
I had targeted seven countries: France, Italy, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay, and Ecuador. I attended International Living’s Live and Invest Overseas Conference in Las Vegas last September, and all these countries were represented.
I asked lots of questions and the more I learned (at the Conference and through my own research) the more it seemed like “leaving home” wasn’t such a huge barrier.
In fact, I was being offered a better life than I could have at home, for less money. That meant I could do much more than if I stayed in the U.S.
Thanks to the Conference, I settled on Ecuador. Ten months after attending, I bought a pre-construction condominium in Cuenca. It’s going to be beautiful…a large penthouse with big terraces overlooking a park and a rushing river. It’s everything I wanted…and at a price I couldn’t believe.
Because it was pre-construction, I was able to meet with the architect (at a moment’s notice) and spend hours redesigning the space to suit my needs. It was a wonderful experience.
When I visited Cuenca, I knew I’d made the right decision. All those dollars I would have paid just to maintain myself in the U.S. will now go to providing a much more extravagant lifestyle in Ecuador.
Through contacts I met at the Conference, I arranged a rental apartment in Cuenca with a magnificent view of the blue domes of the cathedral, and language study with a local teacher who was also able to answer my millions of questions.
I spent my afternoons touring the city, seeing the neighborhoods, meeting with various real estate agents, looking at properties, shopping, poking my head into out-of-the-way shops, finding a doctor, touring hospitals, supermarkets, taking cab rides here and there, going to concerts, eating very nicely for very little in great restaurants.
In other words, I was trying out the “living” that I was planning to do full-time. I would heartily recommend this approach to everyone.
I was told I would lose weight in Cuenca. I took that bit of advertising with a grain of salt, especially since I ate much more than I do in the U.S. However, when I returned home, I had lost 10 pounds. I need to go right back and lose 10 more…it was easy.
I guess I walked more without realizing it…I was more active…I enjoyed the outdoors, so I dodged gaining weight in spite of all those ice cream cones.
A Sunday afternoon might find me in Parque Calderon listening to a free concert of Andean music, then maybe stroll over to a restaurant for a nice lunch of what they call locro de papas…wonderful potato soup with fresh cheese and avocado…so good. I did that often, many times with a wonderful glass of vino tinto…hey, I was on “vacation”…it was my red vitamins.
And all that talk about nice restaurants in Ecuador not costing much was true. I had some of the best meals served by waiters wearing white gloves and I spent a fraction of what I’d spend back in Virginia. I felt great when I returned home…now I’m anxious to go back to Cuenca and get the next phase of my life started.
While I was there wearing short sleeves during the day and a light jacket at night, at home it was over 100 degrees…sweltering. I’ll not miss that kind of heat.
It’s a good thing to have your eyes opened. I admit to being scared when I first thought of retiring overseas. But I took my time…and when the right time came, it turned out that the decision was SO easy.
International Living’s Live and Invest Overseas Conference provided the materials and I thank you for starting me out on the right path. But I did the work—as I had to. I had to see for myself…”due diligence” my retirement haven.
I truly am grateful for your Conference and the help I received to take the step that brought me so many more opportunities.
Editor’s note: We’re grateful to Lee for taking the time to write and let us know how much he’s enjoying his new life since attending the Live and Invest Overseas Conference. We get many notes from happy attendees—and we appreciate them all. If you’re ready to find your dream retirement haven, then come to Las Vegas in October for the 2011 Conference. We’ll be there, waiting to help.