It was New Year’s Eve and Diane and I were on our way to a friend’s party. We never made it. We got as far as the small equatorial village of San Vicente on Ecuador’s northern coast when our car ran out of gas and coasted to a stop. I pulled to the side of the road among a huge crush of writhing people and booming music. We were a few miles from our friend’s house and the gas station, normally open, was closed. Clearly there was nothing to be done but dance!
We celebrated, that year, in a pulsating mass of steamy humanity. Shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, the crowd was moving, almost as one. The sensuous Latin rhythms shook the earth under our feet as the gentle rain washed away the cares and problems of the past year.
No one cared that we were all getting wet. It seemed not to matter at all. The celebration continued and the band seemed to play louder. Although it was certainly not our plan and our celebration occurred in a place we would never have imagined, it is one of my favorite memories. I clearly remember Diane’s smile and laughter as she looked down at her dripping clothing and wrung water from her hair. She never stopped smiling and dancing. It was joyous!
That particular New Year’s celebration was a few years ago in Ecuador. We now live on the Riviera Maya, Mexico’s Caribbean coast. We rent a great condo on the beach and are enjoying our life overseas for much less money than a similar lifestyle would cost in the states. Our expenses for daily living run about $2500 monthly and that includes maid service twice per week. We enjoy nice restaurants and manage to put a few bucks into savings, as well.
We’ve been asked if we ever plan on returning to the States. It’s not in our plan as we truly enjoy our life here. Cancun is a modern city with all the conveniences one could want including large malls, over seven hundred restaurants, modern theaters and museums and, of course, an amazing Caribbean beach that extends south for about eighty miles.
There are 7 hospitals, a stable electrical grid and fast, fiber optic Internet connections where we are. If I want something a bit more adventurous, a short drive will take us away from touristy Cancun into completely different areas where the culture is much more indigenous and speaking Spanish and/or Yucatec Mayan is the norm.
The truth is that the expat community across the globe is a pretty cool club made up of a relatively small (but growing) number of people. These people are my tribe. Regardless of where on the planet we plant ourselves, we understand that the experiences gained by a life overseas can’t be acquired in any other way. It’s not a vacation or a trip. It’s not an all-inclusive resort or a back-to-nature retreat (all fun, of course). It’s living, day to day, in another culture; different food, different language, new smells, new sights and customs, new laws and system of justice that is likely to be much different than back home. In a word, it’s an adventure. Every sunrise brings new challenges and every sunset offers a new perspective.
Retirement overseas certainly isn’t for everyone. You must be a bit of an explorer, prepared to walk over the next ridge without knowing what’s on the other side. Bored? Lonely? Sick and tired of whatever you call normal and routine? Want to explore a new chapter in your life?
I heartily recommend that you consider retirement overseas. Join my tribe. Membership is now open. 🙂