“As a teenager, I occasionally thought about retirement, which would be many years in the future,” says David Van Harn. “I came to the conclusion that I wanted to live somewhere where there would be things happening in the area nearly every day of the week, and I wouldn’t be isolated with only other seniors.
"Managing your life is not nearly as important as living it. My life is much simpler now and less complicated. I’m much happier.” This is how Susan Burnett describes her life since retiring to the city of Cuenca, Ecuador. “My apartment has twice the space I had in Denver, without having to pay twice the price for it,” she says.
One almost sure-fire way to succeed in business is to find a gap that needs filling, or a niche that is unoccupied. And right now there’s a great big gap in the Chiriquí Province of western Panama for home maintenance, lawn care, and handyman services. Of course, there are locals who carry out yard work, but that laidback outlook that expats find so appealing in some ways can leave them waiting to have work done. And when it comes to home repairs, it’s hard to find qualified tradesmen with the right tools. With an expat population of around 20,000, Chiriquí Province has a market.
Importing crafts and folk art is a great way to fund your travels or create an income living overseas. You get to bridge the gap between an artisan producer in an emerging country and a market back home that can afford to pay top prices for unique, high-quality products. In the process, you can mark-up the goods to create an income for yourself.
Your voice could be your passport to an income overseas…and we’re not just talking about singing. Sure, if you can carry a tune, you can take that talent with you. Many expats make their money, or at least a supplementary income, from singing. Some even discover that carving out a singing career is easier overseas.
We knew we wanted to open a B&B, and now we have this beautiful place and a great lifestyle,” says Manzar Lari, 55. In 2013, Manzar and his partner, Terry Richmeier, 48, left jobs in corporate healthcare in Minneapolis to create a new life in the highland town of Boquete, Panama…and a new livelihood in the hospitality business.
Teleworking, telecommuting, remote working…call it whatever you like, it’s catching on. And the bottom line is, with the technology available today you could move overseas and take your job with you. If most of your daily work is conducted via email and telephone, then you may be in the perfect position to approach your employer about working remotely.
“ What I love the most about Paris is every day brings an opportunity to see and do something new. It stimulates the brain. Every street you haven’t traveled down before leaves you room for discovery and learning,” says Texas native Leah Walker. Leah funds her life through freelance writing, blogging, and running social media promotions for hotels, restaurants, tour companies, and destinations—as well as beauty and fashion businesses—on her website.
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The concept of having food delivered to your home is something many of us take for granted. But when you move overseas, you may find it’s not part of the culture. And it’s a convenience expats miss. Mike Sharma certainly missed it when he went to live in northern Thailand.