“I want my dream house on the beach.”
“I want to go fishing every day. Can I do that?”
“I don’t like cloudy days. Are there clouds there?”
“No bugs…no snakes…no mosquitoes!”
“I need superior medical care that is free or very cheap.”
“We want a view of the ocean.”
“We need to live like a king for “X” dollars per month”, (“X” is always a small number.)
“I want to live like the locals. Will I need to learn to speak Spanish?”
“Will I be able to watch all my sports programs…in English?”
These are but a few of the questions and imperatives that have come my way over the past year or so. There is nothing wrong with seeking what you want but one of the primary attributes that will permit one to change cultures and make a successful move to a different country is one’s ability to compromise and compromise often.
There are some things, of course, upon which one will not and should not compromise. Only you know what those things are but the more open you can be to change and the more you are able to compromise, the more likely you will be to succeed in your international transition.
The truth is that there is no perfect place to live. In fact, as we all know, perfection does not exist in our daily lives. We all choose to compromise every day in all that we do; in our relationships with our significant others, in our choice of meals, our homes, our friends, our entertainment, the way that we choose to earn a living…none of those things are perfect. We have chosen to accept them because the good far outweighs the bad.
None of this is new information and is something we can all readily acknowledge. But when we plant the “retirement seed” and it begins to grow in our minds, sometimes what unintentionally begins to grow is an image where life will be perfect and all of our worries and problems will be non-existent. Our retirement place will be wonderful, beautiful with an incredibly low cost of living, the best possible health care throughout the land, a nearly non-existent crime rate, perfect weather, great infrastructure, stunning entertainment, etc., etc.
Our intellect knows better but the image grows nevertheless, and takes root. Sometimes, we even fertilize and nurture this retirement seed by absorbing only the positive reports of the prospective retirement place. The negatives are not given nearly as much weight. That is human nature and we are all guilty of that.
So as your retirement seed begins to grow, be sure to maintain an ample supply of optimism to nurture your dream along with an equal amount of compromise.
A successful expat will have plenty of both along with a fun-loving and adventurous spirit. We have no regrets and have readily accepted the compromises of our expat life here in Ecuador in exchange for a great life.