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Expat Advice

Playa del Carmen

“I’m no world adventurer,” says Richard Marazzi. “I’m just a guy with a laptop who can run my company from anywhere there’s an internet connection…and has had some incredible experiences because of it.

Crowdfunding has become popular in the last few years. It works by raising capital from the general public via specialized websites. You launch a campaign for a set time, outlining your project, and setting a target for how much you want to raise.

Whatever your personal opinion on gun ownership in the United States, there’s no denying that millions of U.S. residents feel a great fondness for their firearms. So it should come as no surprise that many aspiring expats want to bring their guns with them to their new home.

I don’t mind making sacrifices or shouldering a burden if I know that it’s moving me forward to where I want to be. But I was miserable in my job and I really couldn’t stand my predicament.

Wandering down the narrow, enchanting cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende, the peal of church bells directs me towards the town’s center of activity, the Jardin Principal (Main Garden).

Tired of shoveling snow yet? Are those once delicate flakes now just a pile of grey slush? Snow is beautiful while it’s falling; who doesn’t like a romantic snowy day next to the fire?

My wife, Diane, and I are in our fifth year of living overseas and our third year of living in Mexico–which ranked number one in International Living’s Global Retirement Index in 2017.

For a long time, Cambodia was bottom of the list for tourists and expats visiting Southeast Asia, until about 15 years ago, when the Hollywood blockbuster Tomb Raider was filmed amid the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.

I know that when we began to look more in-depth at Costa Rica as our retirement destination, the reports of living on what seemed to be a minuscule amount of money seemed incredible, and sometimes the information came across as vague.

Five years ago, my husband David and I broke the news to our friends and family that we would be moving to Ecuador. We enjoyed much about our life in the States, but we didn’t like the high-pressure work environment and focus on consumerism.

These days I make my home on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, in a little beach town about 30 minutes south of the vacation hotspot Playa del Carmen. It’s a nice life in a place with plenty of conveniences and natural beauty.

Changing countries always involves a series of new adventures and every new location has its own quirks…Peru is no different. Whether you are moving for several months, or a lifetime, the following tips should help you avoid any problems in your first few weeks in this fascinating country.

I have a friend from Rome who is a retired chef. He is passionate about food from every region of Italy and has a couple of food mottos he adheres to. One is: If you want to know where tourists eat, ask a tourist. If you want to know where the locals eat, well…ask a local.

Italy abounds with medieval history, much of it violent. But in the town of Ivrea each February, this past is celebrated with an altogether less bloody battle. Sometime during the 12th or 13th century, the townsfolk of Ivrea were said to have overthrown their cruel overlord.

It’s not unusual for political leaders to meet untimely deaths. Usually what follows is a huge funeral and lots of attention. But not so for a twice former president of Ecuador, Gabriel García Moreno.

Penang is known in Malaysia for its outstanding street and restaurant food. So when locals say that the Sea Pearl Restaurant has the best barbecued salted prawns and crab in Penang, you know that’s not a boast to be taken lightly.

Stopping in a small, rural village for lunch, I was led back to the kitchen by the owner. I pointed to what I wanted, and 20 minutes later, I was staring down at a delicious meal of stir-fried rabbit and assorted vegetables.

Things are finally starting to look up for the down-and-out Brazilian mining company Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE). From its 2011 high of $36.45 to its 2016 low of $2.13, the price of Vale’s U.S.-traded shares lost a staggering 94% of its market value.

Ever since my wife Jackie and I moved to our beautiful homestead in the tropics, we like to joke that more of our friends are jetting down from the States to see us.

The Italian lifestyle is undeniably alluring. A nation that puts emphasis on good food, human interaction, and simple pleasures is definitely doing something right. That’s what drew my husband Bryan and me in, along with gorgeous landscapes, historic sights,

and the slow pace of life.

From the balcony of her two-bedroom condo in Tamarindo, Kathy Bowen enjoys a panoramic view of the palm-lined Pacific coast. “This is where I spend most of my mornings, right here, reading or doing puzzles, or just listening to music and enjoying the view.”

For Linda Pothoff, every day in Nicaragua is an adventure. You can find her horseback riding on the beach, or perhaps catching a ride on a catamaran and drinking Mai Tai cocktails all afternoon. On Tuesdays she goes to water aerobics.

“My quality of life here is excellent,” says Marlene Kimball of her new home in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. “I love the peacefulness and the tranquility. I’m able to eat clean foods, breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in a culture that is not materialistic.”

You’ll never find a better time to take out the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa. As I write, $1 is equal to 4.49 Malaysian ringgit (RM). The exchange rate hasn’t been this strong in years. And that’s good news for everyone who is thinking about applying.

When you move overseas, there are few better ways to integrate into your community than through volunteering. Lending your time to a good cause can help you meet and make new friends, be they local or expat, and get to know the area.

Turquoise waters lap the white-sand beach fringed with casuarina trees. There are no jet skis or banana boats here—just a few stand-up paddle boarders and a kayak or two.

The sing-song chants of vendors cut through the morning mist, offering fresh-baked baguettes and baskets of tropical fruits. Caldrons of pho bò (beef noodle soup) and the savory smoke of grilling pork entice the early morning breakfast crowd.

“Between the lower rental costs, lower utilities, and eating out a few days a week, we are looking at a 50% lower cost of living than our home in Canada,” says expat Ellen Ma of the life she and her husband Jim enjoy in Malaysia.

An increasing number of retirees are finding a home in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, usually called KL. The dynamic city and its environs serve not only as Malaysia’s economic engine, but also its repository of culture, arts, and international-caliber dining and shopping.

The seven-year itch. It’s a real phenomenon. It originally referred to the idea that, at the seven-year point in a marriage, a couple would get bored—and start looking for a change.

Japan: home of ancient civilizations, wonderful food…and the oldest population in the world. More than one in four citizens of Japan is over the age of 65. And that percentage is expected to balloon to 40% by 2060.

“This is the top beach destination in Cambodia…the beaches are beautiful and there are tons of islands, but we also have our own city center, so there is good accessibility to things like banks, internet, shops, and restaurants,” says expat Mick Anderson.

“Mountains! Unbelievable mountains! Some of the best in the world,” says Ted Alexander of what drew him to Huaraz, a city of some 130,000 people high in the Andes Mountains of northern Peru. “I love seeing the mountains from almost everywhere.”

My wife Nancy and I are enjoying the sun in one of South America’s most beautiful town squares. A tiered fountain, surrounded by palm trees, lies at its center. Red, pink, and purple roses are everywhere you look.

“I live a six-figure lifestyle on $1,500 a month,” says Andrea from her beach- town getaway overseas. “I can live here for much less, have a better quality of life, and I have full-time help for $200 a month that would have cost $2,000 [back home].”

As a 22-year-old Russian translator for the U.S. Air Force Security Service, I spent many days and nights in an uncomfortable chair on an island midway between Nome, Alaska, and Siberia, listening to the Russians. What I heard changed my life. In those days, when radio equipment wasn’t quite as sophisticated, they used a lot of women operators because the pitch of their voices penetrated the static better than deeper male voices.

“My life here is as close to ideal as I could ever imagine…it’s amazing,” says Salem Orion, who lives in the beach city of Mazatlan on Mexico’s Pacific coast. “Every morning I wake up with anticipation, not resignation.”

The number of Americans looking for information about moving overseas increased a whopping 105% between the November 2016 presidential election and the January 2017 inauguration, according to the retire-overseas experts at InternationalLiving.com.

It’s true that you need some video equipment in order to shoot travel videos…but it’s not nearly as much as you might think. Some folks get started with just a simple camera or smart phone.

I have a hard time deciding which part of Mexico I like best. It’s quite a big country, about three times the size of Texas. And there are so many different regions with different climates, landscapes, and lifestyles.


Category: Advisor

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