Many folks dread the morning commute. But for expat Mike Sassorossi, his commute in the Costa Rican beach town of Tamarindo is a highlight of his day. Considering he enjoys views of a gracefully curving, palm-lined beach and of the vast blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean, it’s not hard to see why.
"I arrived without a plan…just a duffle bag and a laptop,” says 45-year-old Greg Hillen of his decision to move to Colombia on a one-way ticket back in 2008. Many would think this rash. But Greg was so struck by what he had seen here that he had to yield to his heart’s call. After vacationing in Colombia that year, the Californian was certain that this was where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. And in the small mountain town of Guatapé— famed for its colorful homes and spectacular mountain surrounds—he found a spot with a lot to offer visitors…and a perfect place to open a hostel to accommodate them. Along with an expat buddy, he has done just that.
When you ask Jeanetta Owens what’s the best thing about her work and life in Costa Rica, it’s definitely the location. “I love it,” she says of the peaceful and beautiful town she calls home. “I love the people. They’re so giving, so caring, and so helpful. The people and the mild climate is what drew me to Grecia, and hands down is why I stay. Grecia offers a very tight-knit community where you will not find yourself alone for long.”
For 63-year old Trent Wauson, “Bolivia is a hidden gem.” The former medical laboratory director hadn’t planned on leaving his job to set up a B&B and restaurant in the foothills of the Bolivian Andes, but in 2004 that’s exactly what happened. Eleven years later, he and his wife Rosario couldn’t be happier. “Coming to Bolivia was a fresh start. I always wanted to have a bed and breakfast, and here it seemed like nothing could stop me,” says Trent.
The global rise in demand for craft beer from microbreweries has given birth to thousands of small businesses—brewing, serving, and distributing. In a backlash against mass production, the world wants its beer made in small quantities with great care. It has become a business where manufacturer and consumer are chasing discerning production…and the small operator has a great chance of succeeding.
Every morning Barbara Wastart rises to another glorious tranquil day, surrounded by fruit trees, coconut palms, and exotic tropical birds. As she looks out from her hilltop home, she takes in the spectacular view of the turquoise Caribbean bay below. A fleet of kayaks, and a pontoon boat, are tied to her private dock. A quick paddle through the mangrove forest and she can tie up to a private buoy near the barrier reef, and snorkel in the crystal clear waters abundant with fish, rays, and coral.
When the cold New York winters got too much for Nino Marzano and Maria Postell, they started thinking about turning their favorite vacation spot into their new home. And, in 2011, they made the transition—letting go of the stress and the cold to live full-time in one of the Dominican Republic’s premier vacation and expat hotspots: Punta Cana-Bávaro. With its white-sand beaches, reef-protected crystal waters, coconut palms, and resort infrastructure, it was the perfect antidote to New York.
Ecuador, a place I often travel to, is a land of rainforests, breathtaking river gorges, and volcanic hot springs, where you can be pampered by affordable spa treatments or simply enjoy the beautiful landscapes. I’m still amazed at how much my life has changed over the last 10 years since I discovered how to fund my travels and spend more time in Ecuador. I feel so fortunate to have had the experiences. And to make it even better, these were business trips. I made far more money than I spent. The priceless memories cost me nothing.
Adrienne Greenwood had a choice. Stay in wet and rainy Whistler, Canada, close to the poverty line or go elsewhere. That’s when she discovered the tropical beach town of San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. “Nicaragua has everything I need: warm, friendly, family-oriented people and a good yoga-and-wellness community, full of colorful and quirky individuals who have also chosen an off-the-beaten-path existence, and a sunny tropical climate all year round. I love that,” says Adrienne.
Beverly Nelson has a passion for holistic health...and for Mexico. That’s why she opened a retreat center in San Miguel de Allende, in the country’s Colonial Highlands. Today, she enjoys a life that is fulfilling both personally and professionally. She welcomes clients from around the world who come for workshops and lectures, individual and group retreats, and healing modalities like acupuncture and various types of massage, including Ayurvedic. During her free time, she and friends enjoy San Miguel, going to concerts, films, gallery openings, the theater, or dinner at someone’s home or in a local restaurant. “There is so much to do here in San Miguel, there is never a lack of choice,” she says.