This is a test
I wasn’t sure where Diane would stay when she arrived in Tampa. Some things were necessarily left to figure out as we came to them. While we had no family in Tampa, my great ex-wife who lives in Sarasota offered Diane the use of her nearly new vehicle for the entire time Diane was in Florida. My son also lives in Sarasota, about 1.5 hours away but had no extra space for Diane to stay and it was a bit too far for a daily commute.
Apparently, the story of how I flew from Mexico and took a shuttle/taxi to the hospital emergency room, in the midst of a heart attack, made the rounds. Various nurses and technicians would come into my room and ask if it was true. One such nurse asked if my wife was coming to be with me for my bypass surgery and wondered if she had a place to stay. I said yes, Diane would be with me in a day or two but had no place to stay. In less than an hour, a hospital Social Worker met with me and offered the use of the Fisher House for Diane.
I learned that Fisher Houses are absolutely gorgeous, large homes with private rooms and private baths like a fine hotel. They have a large communal, fully stocked kitchen and dining room along with living rooms for visiting. The Fisher House organization is a non-profit charity that builds these very large, beautiful homes on VA Hospital campuses across the country so that family members of hospitalized soldiers and veterans, who live some distance away from the hospital, can stay nearby. There is NO CHARGE for their services. Wow!!! Diane would be staying in the equivalent of a 4-star hotel, only yards away from the hospital and there would be no charge. We were completely overwhelmed; first by the use of my ex’s car and then by the offer of Fisher House! Diane was able to spend hours with me each day in the Critical Care Unit (where I spent about one week) and could then go back to her room and rest in complete comfort, fix a meal in the kitchen if she wished and take a hot shower. I didn’t have to worry about her only steps away!
The kindness and love extended to both Diane and me throughout this ordeal has been very humbling. We had recently made some new friends here in Cancun; Canadians who were taking about 4 months off before returning to their lodge management positions on a wilderness lake. They fed and supported Diane while I was in Florida and when Diane needed to come to Florida, they took Carmine for the 3 weeks until we returned to Cancun. They took care of our house, cleaned out our refrigerator and made sure we had some wonderful homemade food waiting for us when we returned. They even picked us up at the airport.
My entire medical team was spectacular but as all nurses know, it is the nursing staff in a hospital that provides the primary care for patients. Yes, I saw many doctors each day but only briefly on rounds as the nurses and residents (The VA Hospital in Tampa is a teaching hospital associated with the University of South Florida Medical School) advised them of my condition and test results. While the entire nursing staff was awesome, several nurses went far and beyond the expectation.
While in Intensive Care, the nurse to patient ratio was one to one. Each nurse only had one patient per shift. For twelve daylight hours, I would have one nurse whose portable station was positioned directly outside my door. The next nurse would work the twelve nighttime hours. I received the best possible care! Indeed, I felt pampered if that was possible! Both of my Intensive Care nurses were amazing! They were highly skilled and very compassionate, providing a level of care that tended, not only to my medical needs but also to my humanity.
Once out of Critical Care, I was “stepped down” to the 6th floor cardiac unit where I had begun. It was on that particular unit where I remained before and after my attempted stent procedure and while waiting to be scheduled for my bypass surgery. I was able to walk around as much as I wanted as my portable EKG transmitter would send wireless telemetry to the technicians and nurses who sat in a small room filled with computer monitors. I didn’t have excess energy and after a lap or two around the floor, I wanted to return to my chair. Nevertheless, I was able to visit with the nurses and learn a bit about their jobs and how they liked working for the VA system.
One very special nurse, who has subsequently become a friend to both Diane and me, brought me a plate of home-cooked food for Christmas. Wow, was it ever delicious! Several of the 6th floor nurses came to visit me in Intensive Care. I was a very lucky guy!
My discharge orders came a couple of days earlier than most expected. I’d like to think it was the extra walks I took, shoving my wheeled walker ahead of me, walking longer and farther than asked. Perhaps it was the extra effort I put into my breathing exercises to satisfy my demanding respiratory therapist. Or maybe it was simply my body doing its own thing. In any case, one morning around 7 o’clock as the docs were making rounds, my primary surgeon asked if I was ready to go home. It was a rhetorical question as every morning I had greeted him by saying, “Get me outta’ here!”
Diane took the news differently than I expected. An early morning call from me to her room at Fisher House had to go through the hospital switchboard and sounded understandably ominous as she answered. Then, when she learned I was being discharged, she suddenly felt the entire weight of my care shift to her. Until that moment, she had complete confidence in a modern medical system with superior staff to keep me alive. Now, in her mind, it was up to her. She had a moderate freak out which lasted about half a day. She finally had to accept the fact that she was not…COULD NOT be responsible for my ongoing health. I was okay! I would need time to recuperate but I would be fine.
After discharge that afternoon, I had several follow up appointments for lab work, X-rays, doctor visits etc. over the next ten days. The hospital social worker, once again, made arrangements for us to stay in a beautiful place (again at no charge) while we tended to the scheduled appointments.
For our last 3 days in Florida before flying back to Cancun, we stayed in the beautiful lake home of a friend. They use this home only in the summer months although their adult children sometimes crash there. It was a peaceful, quiet place. We returned my ex’s car and caught a jet back to Cancun.
I had been gone a bit over one month and Diane had been gone for slightly over 3 weeks. Carmine, our beloved Chihuahua, gave us the most amazing greetings when we returned. I am not ashamed to say I love that little dog!
I think that’s about enough. Writing has always been my outlet and with all the emotions I’ve experienced over the past month, I now feel a bit guilty puking this entire experience out to you.
I want to end where I began.
Those considering the life of an expat must consider how to deal with serious medical issues while abroad. Not only must you determine if your chosen country has quality care but you must determine if you will have ready access to that care and how it will be paid for. Being able to accurately communicate with your medical professionals is also crucial, particularly in critical care situations.
The Haley Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa is a regional poly-trauma center, one of perhaps 4-5 in the nation. This is where our young soldiers come after they have been terribly wounded in battle. It is staffed by the finest physicians in every specialty caring for our wounded warriors. It is also a training hospital for cardiac surgeons going to other hospitals as well as operating a very active Medical Residency program for students. While there are certainly those who will complain about the VA system, I am not among them.
After about 4 years and some considerable thought, I’m suspending any further blog entries for an undetermined period of time. The truth is that life is happening and I’m currently not able to maintain the standards I have set for myself and the blog. Rather than simply producing minimal and marginal, non-relevant content, I’d rather suspend the blog while my energies are being directed elsewhere.
Finally, our former hometown in Ecuador was only a few miles from the epicenter of the recent large earthquake. That small town, San Vicente, has been essentially destroyed along with the neighboring communities of Bahia de Caraquez and Canoa. It is heartbreaking to hear news of our friends now fighting for survival in apocalyptic circumstances. Real heroes are emerging every day as regular citizens perform valiant rescues and fight to provide for their families with no food, water or electricity and very little aid available.
For those who are able to help, here’s a link to a funding page for a small group of dynamic leaders who are doing the real work. I can personally vouch for these men and women. Please, if you can assist, any amount will be used to sustain lives and rebuild a modest existence. Here’s the link:
I’m outta’ here! Should any of you wish to connect directly, you can reach me at email@example.com
Yesterday’s strong earthquake in Ecuador occurred on the part of the coast where Diane and I lived. We have friends who are injured and in the hospital. Information, as you can imagine, is sketchy but things are not good. Significant property damage in our former area. Facebook is being used to relay some information about those who are both injured and safe.
These are incredibly challenging times for the inhabitants of that area as emergency response capabilities are minuscule and it is up to friends and neighbors to help each other without the benefit of the sort of emergency equipment and trained staff available in the states. Hospital capabilities, in that part of the country, already marginal by U.S. standards, will now be additionally challenged. Heavy equipment is sparse, to say the least.
Ecuadorians are tough, resilient and incredibly resourceful. I am very sorry that those characteristics will be called upon under such circumstances.
Diane and I are both stunned and feel completely helpless.
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. 🙂
Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays, whatever greeting is the most appropriate for you. Just know that Diane and I wish you the very best in the coming New Year. Although Christmas is only a week away, we haven’t finalized our plans yet.
As we did the whole turkey dinner thing for Thanksgiving, neither of us is inclined to do that again. I think we’ll go to a friend’s restaurant in Playa del Carmen. We’ll see what happens.
International Living is sending me on an editorial trip in February. I’ll be headed to the Lake Chapala area as well as Puerto Vallarta and possible other destinations. When I return, I’ll be writing a ton of articles for the magazine about the area and the expats who live there. Should be a great trip.
Again, our very best wishes to you and your family. Thanks for hanging around with me this past year.
Don and Diane
See, the thing about retirement is that I do only those things that I really want to do with my time. It has now become painless to say “no” to all the crap in life that used to rob me of precious minutes, hours and days. Now that I have far less time ahead of me than behind me and no one to please but myself, I spend my time as if it was money, carefully choosing to do only those things that I find time-worthy. That choice, I think, may be my greatest luxury! The truth is that it took awhile to realize that I could say no. I had been programmed to perform for others in trade for a paycheck or for approval, which is also a powerful payment. Saying no took practice. Now, I’m an expert without an ounce of guilt!
Yesterday, Diane and I went to the small island of Isla de Mujeres (Island of Women) so that I could interview Marla, an expat who owns and operates a very cool business called Dinnertainment. That was my assignment from International Living. One of the editors wanted a piece on expats earning money in the entertainment business. Marla and her husband provide upscale, in-home catering and entertainment for groups of 6-12 and even more if you wish.
Anyway, after the interview/lunch was over, Diane and I rented a golf cart to revisit the island. We’ve been to Isla before but it’s always great to return. Diane wanted to see the turtle hatchery again where thousands of baby turtles are raised from collected eggs and released when they are ready. We spent over an hour there and I’m sure Diane could have spent even more time. As we were returning to the ferry terminal to catch our return ride back to Cancun, we made a final stop in a small shop filled with local handicrafts among the usual tourist crap. The store’s owner and employees were gathered around a small desk, eating an afternoon meal of food brought from home. It smelled wonderful and as I walked by, I made sure to tell them how great it smelled.
Sure enough, they offered me a bit of their Tinga de Pollo, a scrumptious chicken dish. As Diane was wandering around searching for the perfect memento of our day on the island, I practiced my Spanish with the store owner. Not only did I score for more food while Diane shopped, I received compliments on my marginal Spanish skills as well as in invitation for Diane and I to return to the island for dinner in the home of the store owner. It was a wonderful day with perfect weather, spent with interesting people. We added some new explorations to our list with the potential to have made a few new friends.
I verbally express my gratitude on a regular basis, along with my astonishment at how my life has unfolded based on choices born from near-desperation some years ago. Now, with the understanding that our standard of living may be different from place to place, we have gained the skills and confidence to live anywhere on the planet that we choose and there are nearly limitless and wonderful choices, should we ever decide to experience other cultures.
As for retirement, it definitely does not suck!! I can sleep as late as I want, go to bed any damned time I want, take naps anytime or anywhere, wear mismatched socks, leave my bed unmade (Diane usually makes it), use disposable kitchen ware, wear Superman underwear, eat a chili dog for breakfast and engage in lengthy, spontaneous conversations with interesting people because I finally have time! And, I have time to write which is nothing but pleasure for me.
I’m sometimes asked why I write. “I thought you were retired” some say or “Why don’t you really retire” as if their definition of my retirement was a directive I have failed to follow. Well first of all, %$#@ you! Secondly, refer to the 1st sentence at the top of this piece. I am doing exactly what I want to do.
Our collective retirements should be held in high regard. There are many countries and cultures where such a luxury is not possible due to the economic hardships of their realities. Prior to the implementation of the U.S. Social Security System in 1935-1937, more than half of America’s seniors lived in serious poverty. While Social Security has made great strides in eliminating poverty in one’s final chapter, the system has faced opposition from the beginning and continues to face threats today. I’m certainly grateful for my monthly check and hope that the system remains intact, as it is currently structured, so that Diane may collect when her time comes.
I think something happens to us as we age. Something wonderful. We stop caring so much about what others think of us and how we live our lives. Not caring so much about what others think opens many more doors than you can possibly imagine. Hell, you may just run off to some exotic foreign country and start wearing superhero underwear!
In the 3 or so years that I’ve written this blog, I have restricted my comments almost entirely to the day-to-day issues related to expats living abroad. Today’s post, however, goes in a different direction and is surely going to generate some opposing comments as well as losing a number of subscriptions. Fine! Bring it! I’m prepared for that as the subject deals with U.S. politics, a deeply divisive issue these days.
The recent and inaccurate immigration comments by notorious blow-hole, Donald Trump, have stirred the flames of racial discontent, particular among those who are surface dwellers, those who rarely look below the thin crust on any issue.
Some folks are ready to pounce at the first scent of any perceived infringement of their oft-misunderstood “rights” and misguided, under-informed beliefs. Whether the issue is equal pay for equal work, a woman’s right to choose, marriage equality or immigration, the far-right has a host of word-warriors; typically spewing passionate and inaccurate statements on most issues and misusing both the Bible and the U.S. constitution in attempts to support their positions. To my great dismay, these folks gather together and breed!
To be fair, it’s tough to find truth these days with all media outlets, both liberal and conservative, owned by those with huge incentives to misinform the masses for the benefit of those whose interests they truly represent. And when you belong to a group that, in unison, chants the same crap to the same rhythm, you make your money by swimming with the rest of the school.
Money has always been able to purchase lies and package them as truth and there will always be consumers for nicely-wrapped lies dropped on your doorstep (at no charge) via television. It takes some effort to find truth these days and most simply don’t want to take the time! It’s much easier just to be spoon-fed and swallow!
I lived in Florida for 10+ years before moving to Ecuador and for much of that time, I lived in orange grove country, the beautiful, gently rolling area around Dade City and Zephyrhills north and east of Tampa.
Florida is not only about silver heads driving 20 mph below the speed limit, sandy beaches and Disney World. Florida’s economy heavily relies upon a huge agricultural industry providing mega tons of fruits and vegetables to the marketplace. Stick with me, here!
Florida, Georgia, Alabama and other southern states whose laws reflect hostility toward minorities and immigrants (particularly undocumented workers) are hiding a big dirty secret.
You see, without these undocumented workers doing the thankless, low-paying and back-breaking work of harvesting crops, thousands of tons tomatoes and melons would rot in the fields and millions of tons of citrus fruit would drop to the ground and dry up, of no use to anyone. The loss to the economy would be staggering.
The truth is that virtually no U.S. citizens want the backbreaking field work readily accepted by migrant farm workers. It is a brutal existence, under the best of circumstances.
In early 2010, as now-governor Rick Scott was campaigning in Florida, I was invited to a luncheon with a group of some 30 of the area’s top business leaders. These were grove owners with millions of acres, collectively. These were the large packing house owners, retail chain moguls, and auto dealers. Some men owned large shopping centers and vast tracks of land under commercial or residential development.
This was a room filled with multi-millionaires and I certainly did not belong there!!!! I had received a rather cryptic invitation and had no idea this was to be a closed-door session with Rick Scott, a man I loathed who had already been convicted of overseeing the nation’s largest EVER Medicare fraud scheme. I was essentially trapped and decided to make the best of it. I considered it reconnaissance for my team!
Scott was there to ask for money, influence and votes and was direct in his comments. After all, these were his people. Security was provided by the Florida Highway Patrol. Reporters and a small group of protestors were held across the road, unable to get close. His appearance, although supposedly kept secret, had apparently been leaked.
It was an informal setting, a discussion with questions coming from the group of potential donors seeking Scott’s promises. It wasn’t long before one of the grove owners brought up the subject of illegal immigration. It wasn’t what I had expected. He asked Scott to tone down his critical rhetoric on illegal immigrants which is always a party favorite.
“The truth is,” the wealthy grove owner said “that we cannot harvest our crops without them. I would lose millions of dollars in my own groves if I couldn’t use the illegals every year.”
To which Scott replied, “We have to walk a tightrope on this issue. I know how much you rely on those folks but unfortunately, not everyone in Florida is in the farming business. They see these people as a drain on our resources and they don’t understand the importance they play in our economy.” Scott continued, “You know how it is. Sometimes you say things that you know will be a problem down the road and you just have to deal with those things later. Help me get elected and I’ll continue to do all that I can to help you.”
The above quotes from Rick Scott are not exact quotes but honestly represent the basic elements of his statements that day. I will tell lies to the masses and deal with it later. You know how it is.
I had spent nearly five years working closely with state politicians. I was already full to the brim with disgust and despair and his comments made me want to vomit! I left the room and walked across the street joining Scott’s protest group. Although I now live in Mexico, I maintain strong connections to Florida and vote, absentee, in every election.
I will never have enough money to purchase politicians as America’s corporations now regularly do. Therefore, I cannot purchase the laws that would make my life better nor the lives of those in my tribe. I watch with horror as attempt after attempt successfully chips away at the lives of middle class America. The battles are no longer fought at the ballot box where folks like you and I execute our most powerful right as a citizen. Our “most powerful” right has become greatly diminished over the years. Now, governing battles are fought in the back rooms of corporate America where lobbyists collect large fees for drafting the legislation that serves, not our best interests as citizens, but the best interests of major corporations.
I often hear from those who cannot believe the reports of low-level corruption here in Mexico and in other places in South and Central America. Yes, it is true. Corruption exists in many countries in Latin America but I find it amusing that those living in the U.S. worry about me paying five bucks to a traffic cop when their total lives have been auctioned to the highest bidder in the states.
I am not one of those who is anti-USA. In fact, I remain a staunch supporter. I’m more like a worried parent. A terribly worried parent! The one power that is supposed to provide me with the ability to influence our government…the right to vote…now feels much less powerful than I believe the founders imagined. So what to do about this? Remove money from politics. Repeal Citizens United. That’s a start. Here, take a look at this short video. About 2 minutes, I think.
And to those who now want to unsubscribe, adios!
The dark financial whirlpool that sucked millions of people under in 2008-2010 and beyond, left lasting scars for me and many others caught in that mess. The scars were both emotional and financial and while we found our relief by moving offshore and learning to live a great life as an expat, all was not entirely well.
As I’ve written, the loss of my employment and failure to adequately replace my lost income resulted in the loss of our home and one car, despite what I thought were Herculean efforts to not allow that to happen. We did the very best we could but for the first time in my life, I was sucked under!
That, of course, was when we sought our retirement solutions outside the borders of the United States. I’ve written for several years about our journeys that began in Ecuador and have now taken us to Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. We no longer have to worry about cost of living issues but the truth of the matter is that my credit history, something that was once a source of pride and permitted me to purchase homes, investment properties, cars and private airplanes was significantly damaged. I was mortified and really didn’t want to deal with that issue! The fact was that, living offshore, I didn’t need to deal with it.
Living abroad is, for the most part, a cash-in-hand experience. That includes purchasing real estate and vehicles, often the most expensive purchases a family will make. The local citizens of your adopted country may have access to normal credit resources but credit is not extended (with very few exceptions) to expats as credit history does not transfer from country to country. So, buying real estate or vehicles is almost always done with cash, even for many locals. After living abroad for over 3 years now, we have adjusted quite nicely to living in a cash-based world and I never saw the need to do anything differently…until recently.
On my last trip back to the states for a medical follow-up after my surgery, I stopped by my local Credit Union and chatted with one of the loan officers. I had wondered what the chances were of taking out a loan to purchase a small house or even a mobile home for those times when we were in Florida and so that Diane would have a place to go if, after my death, she decided to move back to Florida. Although I knew my credit history was damaged, I had neither the courage nor the need to ask about my numbers prior to that day. I needed to face the dragon! The loan officer delivered the news that I would not qualify for a loan at that time. Not any loan! My credit score was too low. Ouch!!
Although I had braced for the anticipated impact, it was still a hard kick in the gut! Later that day, I related my experience to my son who, it turns out, has a friend in the credit repair business. Before I could object, my son had dialed up his buddy, Joe, and handed me his phone. I humbly explained my circumstances and in just a few minutes, Joe had me convinced that he could significantly repair my credit scores to more than acceptable standards in about 90-120 days. He explained the various methods he intended to employ if I was to contract with him; most of them were beyond my understanding.
Essentially, it involved sending a bunch of correspondence to a variety of people and diligently following up. My job was to register with a web-based credit monitoring service and relay any subsequent written communications from any creditors back to him. Oh, and of course, pay his fee. He also explained that anyone could do this themselves but he also said there were a number of methods that he had learned in his 12 years of experience that made hiring him a good decision.
I was skeptical. His fee was $500 and it covered only me, not Diane. I could get a discount if he did both together. He provided references but beyond that, he related his experience in this industry which sounded very impressive and…his references checked out to be outstanding! And my kid vouched for him. I hired Joe.I had absolutely no interest in dealing with this myself!
It’s been a bit over 30 days since Joe began working on my case. I just received my first monthly report from the credit reporting service I joined and in just 30 days, my credit score from 2 of the 3 major credit bureaus has climbed dramatically. They are already in the range where credit would normally be extended. Honestly, I could not believe it. My scores were displayed on a graph and the lines representing my scores from the 3 reporting bureaus had made nearly vertical progress, ending in the approval range. I had to remind myself that this report came from a neutral source, not Joe’s company. My scores had improved dramatically in just 30 days! Apparently, this Joe guy really did know his stuff!
I was told to expect increased scores over the next couple of months as he continued to work on my case. This was just the initial result.
So, here’s the thing. I understand that many of you did not have the same experience that Diane and I had. Some of you were better insulated from the financial fallout of 2008 and some of you were simply smarter than I. Good for you and I’m glad you didn’t have to endure the fear and torment we endured as we fought our way through it all. But I’ve heard from enough of you to know that there are many reading this that did, in fact, suffer losses and likely carry both the emotional and financial scars associated with those losses.
Apparently, the credit repair business has grown substantially over the past few years and I have to believe that not all people in that industry are equally skilled. I can only speak for my guy and so far…Joe has done an amazing job! After he finishes with my case, I’ll hire him to take care of Diane’s.
I can’t see us accepting a large load of debt ever again. We’re too old and things are working just fine the way they are. But having a few credit cards could provide a safety net that extends beyond our current cash lifestyle. And besides, after seeing my latest credit scores on paper, my emotional healing has already begun. That’s worth something!
Joe has no idea that I’m writing this but if any of you want to connect with Joe, the credit repair guy, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org I promise to treat any communications as confidential and I also promise that I won’t make a dime from any referrals.
UPDATE: I just received a link to a financial article that suggested that some credit repairs may be only temporary. As this is a very new development, I’ll post a few follow ups to this piece over the next few months to better asssess the effectiveness of my efforts and will withhold any referrals to “Joe” in the interim. .
Now, at an age where 70 is much closer than 60, I am constantly amazed by my own life. I just spent a few minutes chatting with a colleague in Ireland. It was 4:30 in the morning here in Cancun but hours later there. As we chatted, I realized that this woman was a true friend and a very cool friend at that. She is an editor I have worked with for a few years and is amazingly gifted and talented. She is also authentic to her core. I’ve never seen one ounce of bullshit inside this woman. I had a moment where I suddenly realized how lucky I was to have her for a friend and then it struck me. My life as an expat has accidentally assisted me in making some WAY COOL friends all across the globe! I know a number of other people who are also intelligent, talented and authentic and each of them has moved away from the U.S. or Canada to live a life in another country. In fact, many of my friends, these days, have lived in several countries and have travelled across the globe.
While many folks have been able to maintain a balance in life, shepherding all of life’s elements into a cohesive and functional existence, I was never able to manage that. My life was too hectic, too unbalanced with me permitting my career and the needs of others to win out over the many other elements of life I could have chosen. I did my best back then and my best usually delivered far more to others than to me.
These days, without the need to earn a living, I do absolutely nothing that I don’t want to do. (Retirement Does Not Suck!) Nothing! That is the greatest gift EVER! Each and every minute of each and every day is spent, like the valuable currency it is, with care and attention to my personal happiness. Now, I live for me! Selfish you ask? Yep! And it’s about damned time!
Living the life of an expat and writing for International Living and its affiliates have allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful and adventurous people in the world; not only expats but those friends I now claim who were born and raised in Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica or Ireland. After nearly 7 decades, I have FINALLY found my tribe and a wonderful tribe it is!
These guys have pushed through their fears to explore other cultures and live their lives across the globe. They (at least those I claim as friends) are intelligent, broad minded, inclusive and curious. The vast majority is, to some extent, bi-lingual and many share a common world view.
Frankly, it’s pretty tough to be a bigoted dumb-ass if you have successfully lived your life in a wonderful country filled with brown people. The fact is that living in one place, especially the very privileged United States, cannot provide much perspective and offers little in the way of cultural education or acceptance. One’s world view is greatly influenced when you subject yourself to a significant cultural change. To use a common analogy, you can’t see much looking through a soda straw!
I hope you are living the life you want to live. Only a few years ago, I made the decision to live the life that I want to live without compromise. Once I retired and moved to Ecuador, that was the catalyst. The doors to my past were closed and new doors were waiting to be opened.
My tribe is really cool and they get around. I’m damned glad that I finally found them! Oh, we have room for more members! Believe me, it’s a way cool tribe!
We aren’t even thinking of going!, July 6, 2013 “My husband and I are retired, and living our dream in the Pacific Northwest. We have no plans or even a desire to move anywhere. Still, I find that I love reading books about other people’s adventures. Especially interesting are stories that include places and plans that are completely outside of my experiences. Our Ecuador Retirement fits the bill. I found the stories fascinating and informative. Mr. Murray’s writing style is fast, fun and compelling. I will be watching for the next installment!” By Dorothy (oregon)
Great book!, July 27, 2013 –I’ve been wanting to retire overseas and pretty much narrowed it down to Ecuador or Columbia. I’ve read quite a few books and researched articles on both countries. This book is the best one I’ve read on Ecuador. It tells a personal story of a couple’s move to and living in Ecuador. The writer tells their story in an easy readable and very informative way. I loved his outlook and take on certain experiences that they encounter. This book even tugs at your emotions at times. It gives you the feeling of actually being there and experiencing their adventure with them. Great book and a must read if you are planning on moving to Ecuador. Even if you’re not planning on moving there, this is a good story, one that will not be forgotten… By Robert M