March 29, 2016

Make Your Dream of Retiring Abroad a Reality - Don't Be Afraid, Just Do It! UPDATE 2016

Have you considered moving somewhere abroad, not necessarily Ecuador Moving abroad can make a huge change in your life and a lot of retired folk will actually welcome the change after working the tread mill of society for 20, 30, 40 years. This is one reason why retirees uproot their lives and move abroad...THEY CAN!

Some of you might feel trepidation about moving to a foreign land and well, most people are a bit fearful, especially if they have never left the USA before. This article, first published in May 2012 is about moving to Cuenca Ecuador but it also applies to moving anywhere abroad.

Are you thinking or dreaming about retiring to Cuenca Ecuador or somewhere else in the world?  Haven't made it happen yet? Why not? When we were still thinking and dreaming about moving to Cuenca Ecuador we had to do a lot of fact finding and soul searching.  In this information age, it is so much easier than it used to be even just a couple of decades ago to find information right in your own home on your own computer. 

Update 2016 - When Costa Rica was first getting pumped by the International travel press there were no computers and you actually had to find out your information from subscriptions to travel magazines, the occasional travel book, and word of mouth. Today there are many blogs, websites and travel forums where you can find out most information about any place in the world...however it is always best to check out more than one website just to see all sides of an issue. 

Everyone is different and has different reasons why they chose to live where they live abroad and subsequently their writings and videos will depict those reasons; a lot of times too, writers will suppress pertinent information that newcomers NEED to know and well, we don't do that.  

Newcomers have told us they appreciate our openness in our writing and videos and because they feel they know everything, even if its negative, it actually seems to make them even more confident about moving to Cuenca Ecuador

Moving abroad just because monetary vested interests make it sound as if it's your only option in life, or the best thing that ever happened to your retirement is not necessarily a wise choice for most people. Making huge plans of entering into financial commitments of one shade or another is not necessarily the road to a smooth and happy retirement and  should not be the main priority when retiring abroad

Here's what we did before we chose and then moved to Cuenca Ecuador. 

1. We started making lists of the pros and cons. This is the easy part. We Drew a line in the center of the page. When done, circle or highlight the things that are a most important to you and your lifestyle. Let's say, must haves to make you happy. These are the tangibles, actual things or situations, like weather, cost of living, etc.  

We even talked with someone on SKYPE who had already been living in Quito for a couple of years so we could get some of our nitty-gritty questions answered. In 2009 and 2010 when we were looking at Ecuador for a possible move there were only a few websites and blogs for Ecuador. In point of fact, talking to someone that has made the move before you and you admire for one reason or another, is a great idea.  

2. Analyzing your internal barriers is what soul searching is all about. This comes after you're comfortable with the first part and you have figured out you may just be able to meet your physical needs, but more important than that comes the psychological barriers, such as fear. Fear of what I'm leaving behind.

Fear of what is ahead of me.  Fear of the unknown. Fear of people of a different color. Fear of people of a different language.  Fear of change. What if's.  Make a list of “what if's”.

What if the U.S. dollar is toast?  What if my check doesn't come in?  Did you know in Ecuador government workers sometimes don't get their check for a couple of months?  It happens. 

That would never happen in the U.S, we can hear you saying. Well, it might be a fear in the back of your mind nonetheless, justifiable or not.   

What if I get ill? What if I get robbed? What if I don't like it there?

Take your time and analyze every one of your fears.  Fear will keep you home.  Fear will keep you in the status quo. Confront fear and it disappears.  Confront it with solutions.  I wrote down my fears and wrote solutions underneath them.  This was a slow process.  It could take days, or weeks, or months.

Some fears are just magnified concerns that have not been answered. Other fears are imagined or conjured up out of present limited knowledge that needs to be increased.  That's what this blog is about; increasing your knowledge.

If we've done it, you can do it.

Yup, before moving to Cuenca Ecuador, we went through a period where we had actually scratched Ecuador off our list of countries, due to fear of crime.  Ecuador had been described in the media and from other fearful Norteamericanos, as a place where you would need a bullet proof vest to walk around in. They made it sound like a concentration camp with barbed wire and all. But that was then.

So what made us change our minds?  More information seeking and then actually coming here and seeing for ourselves.  If you come here thinking you can behave in the same way out in public that you do in the USA then you will most-likely get pick-pocketed and maybe even home invaded. Anywhere in Latin America you don't want to behave like you have anything. North Americans are already labeled as extremely wealthy folk, let's show them that labels can be deceiving.

Update 2016 - We say, come here or wherever you think is the best fit for you and your family/spouse/children and enjoy all of it. Not just as a tourist either but go local, get you feet dirty and stomp around a bit.  Who knows, you may not like it, or you may love it.  The experience of visiting and exploring new countries, cultures and people is a wonderful learning adventure that everyone should experience at least once in their life time. 

Until we write again here's a few articles about moving to Cuenca Ecuador you might enjoy.  
And we also have a video from a fellow frugal and happy traveler that discusses part of that fear we have been talking about thus far. Enjoy:
            
We're an expat family of five living frugal, healthy and happy in Cuenca Ecuador. Come along with us and enjoy some of our experiences and find out what its really like to live in Ecuador and beyond!

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