Deciding to move to a foreign country was a lot easier a decision to make than either Rose or I had imagined.
It began sort of like this.
Rose: “Life shouldn’t be this hard. Let’s move somewhere that we can live well and not struggle to meet all these bills.”
Mind you, some sort of decision has been in the works for some time.
It probably started in February 2012 when Rose and I got married in the Baja coastal village Los Barriles, which has its own growing ex-pat community. We have good friends who live there in a fabulously beautiful stone, glass and open air aerie atop a small mountain.
They’re happy. They’re part of a community of people who have time for each other. They do the sort of things we talk about. They live life on their own terms and don’t seem to be missing much.
Their life is more about “Guess what I did today!” and less about “Guess what I bought today!”
We could do this, we said, before turning back to the demanding business of being newly married and combining our separate lives into one.
But, one by one, lines that tethered us to this land fell away. Both my parents died in recent years. My career as a newspaper editor/writer died, too. Rose’s mom died. My three grown sons were out on their own, all with excellent jobs and two married. Rose’s daughter had begun college in Arizona.
Then Rose’s son, Jon, and his partner, Quinn, moved to Nicaragua to start a socially conscious business called Life Out of the Box. One night they showed up on cable channel HGTV’s “House Hunters International” which followed them around the coastal town of San Juan Del Sur as they hunted for a cheap place to live while starting their business.
Everyone who has watched the show has gone away shaking their heads in disbelief. Jon and Quinn were shown three properties, as is the show’s inflexible format, and asked to decide on one. The first was a very inexpensive but sketchy apartment downtown with no hot water and a kitchen/common area shared with … whomever happened to be in the other bedrooms. The second was a brand new, but tiny, efficiency with a swimming pool.
And the third one. Ah, yes, the third one. A little bit out of town, it was a spacious two-bedroom cottage with all-wood cathedral ceilings, fully furnished, a huge kitchen. Landscaping that just screamed “Welcome to Paradise!” All utilities and WiFi included.
The cost? A comfortably close to budget $700 a month.
Did I mention that it was a five minute walk to the beach?
Well, it was so obvious which one Jon and Quinn would choose. (Cue the tension driven “decision music” – Dunh … da da … dunh … da da … dunh dunh.) Apartment Number one.
What? No. Wait. Jon? Quinn? What about No. 3 with the WiFi and hot water???? And CHEAP?
Well, they had their reasons.
But it occurred to us that with my pension and Social Security alone — if I chose to retire — we could afford way more than $700 a month, even though that dreamy Nicaraguan house was way more than adequate.
So, we started thinking … and looking.
Next: Yeah, but why Belize?