Welcome to a New Year of Possibilities

As the clocked ticked its way from 2012 to 2013, we gathered around the bonfire and ceremoniously offered our human-size effigy to the flames. That’s the Año Viejo (or “Old Year”) tradition here in Ecuador, and one worth adopting no matter where you live. As way of saying good riddance to life’s nuisances and bad habits, in the final days of the year, you pull out your old clothes and stuff them with newspaper or twigs. You can make you …

If I Retire Abroad, How Do I Pick Where to Live?

My husband, Dan, and I will soon celebrate 11 years of living the expat life. We’ve lived in seven different locations (in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Ecuador) and spent a considerable amount of time in many, many more – especially Belize and Costa Rica. Believe me, we’ve learned a lot in the past decade! Importantly, we’ve learned that it’s impossible to compare and contrast the merits or disadvantages of entire countries. And if you’re thinking about retiring to a foreign …

From Omaha to Ecuador: Convincing Your Spouse to Retire Abroad

I first met Laura and Joel (not their real names) a decade ago on the shores of Mexico’s Lake Chapala where they were vacationing. He was retired and she was happily working as a network television sales executive. He wanted her to quit her job and move to Mexico with him and she was having none of it. A few months later Laura accepted a prestigious promotion and assignment in Hawaii. Joel supported her decision, but made it clear he …

From Omaha to Ecuador: I’m an Expat, Not an Ex-Patriot

“I don’t like being called an ex-patriot,” my friend Jack said. He’s a former elected official and about as red-white-and-blue as they come. His wife is a former trial judge. But now they’re retired and living in Ecuador…for the adventure, the pleasurable lifestyle, and the lower cost of living. Gently, I explained to Jack that he is definitely not an ex-patriot. And he never will be… Jack is an expatriate. As the dictionary explains, the word “expatriate,” which can be …