Tuesday, August 16, 2011
"The Extravagant Lifestyle I Never Thought I Could Afford"
By Lee Patrick
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
at 11:21 AM