As this idea of living better for less overseas tiptoes into the mainstream, newspapers and magazines mention places like San Miguel de Allende in Mexico or the Central valley in Costa Rica. These communities have long attracted foreign retirees. They’re the “old guard” in expat havens. You can slide into them easily, what with active expat groups, supermarkets, and plenty of homes to rent. They’re convenient, proven, attractive.
Europe may be the second-smallest continent by land mass, but it’s extravagantly diverse in geography, climate, language, and culture. From the flamenco-dancing south of Spain to Rembrandt’s tulip-filled homeland, to the rugged cliffs of Italy’s Mediterranean coast, it’s equally rich with opportunity…for gracious travel…comfortable living…even for good-value investing.
All over the planet you’ll find little pockets of prosperity…corners where you can live comfortably on a modest budget…destinations rich with opportunity for adventure and profit. Rarely—if ever—are these places you hear about on the nightly news. But that’s not surprising. Our correspondents aren’t looking under bushes for a brouhaha.
A metropolis like Panama City or Paris or Montevideo has its advantages. In large, cosmopolitan communities, you have a wealth of choice in restaurants, museums, and parks. The hospitals tend to be better, the cultural offerings more varied. But a big city has its downsides, too. It can be loud, frenetic, disorganized.
Fifty years ago, if at retirement age you spent a few months in Paris…then moved on to Lisbon for the winter…settled for the spring in Italy…and then steamed down to Panama and Argentina…you were probably either wealthy, eccentric, or running from the law. These days… you’re just a run-of-the-mill vagabond retiree.
On a sun-baked day 20 years ago, when I was living in the Comoros, off the East African coast, I learned a lesson. The shortwave was tuned to the world news from London, and the broadcaster reported unrest in my village. Only it wasn’t true. I’d just ridden my bike home from the school where I was teaching…and nothing was out of the ordinary. Note to self: second-hand dispatches to be taken with a grain of salt.
Nature’s moat, that liquid rampart that separates an island from the mainland coast, creates a divide in more than land mass. On an island you simplify, slow down, quiet your penchant for deadlines…more by necessity, perhaps, than design. They don’t call it “island time” for nothing.
Everybody has heard of Paris, Florence, Barcelona and the like. But then you have the rest of a vast continent—a treasure trove of time-worn towns and affable villages…secret islands and dramatic landscapes
In Southeast Asia, I expected the exotic. I’d grown up amid artifacts, artwork, and stories from that part of the world, where my father had lived. Monks draped in orange robes…gilded, dragon-sheathed temples…the heady aromas of spice-rich dishes wafting from market stalls.
“More places…more often…with more insiders as our guides.” This year, we’ve made a commitment to expand our reach…to cover the world more comprehensively…to open up for you new possibilities. People always talk about how the world is getting smaller. But as an IL reader, yours is about to expand. In an era when so many news organizations are calling their foreign correspondents home (further insulating an already myopic American public), we’re doing just the opposite.