It was New Year’s Eve 2012 and the view outside my window was perfect. In the darkness, I could just make out the rolling Italian hills, dotted with brick houses with terracotta rooftops. A lone bell tower rose from a small, ancient church into the sky. And as the bell tolled midnight, the sky lit up with fireworks from three different directions.
I never envisioned myself teaching English. Perhaps you feel the same way. But soon after I started my five-year career in this field, I found that I enjoyed it, largely because the students are so enthusiastic and wonderful to teach. They need English to enjoy more opportunities in their life and career, they are grateful to have a native speaker as their teacher, and they apply themselves to learning.
Location is a huge part of success in business…particularly when you’re dependent on foot traffic. When Cody Leigh Brown of Montana decided to set up a tea shop in Ecuador, she chose Cumbayá, a fashionable suburb of Quito, as her location. It just happens to be home to the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, where more than 5,000 students are enrolled.
From Bali to Belize, retreat centers are popping up to meet the demand of busy First World clients in search of relaxation. Janine Hall has found a niche for women-only retreats focusing on surf and yoga…Carrie Tengler has made a solid living from the spa and yoga business in Belize…and Kristin Gilbert-Ramirez missed yoga so much on her Costa Rican travels that she set up her own classes and decided to move there permanently.
Despite his many years working as a car-insurance salesman in Portland, Oregon—and making good money— Caelan Huntress always considered it a temporary gig. Today he has thrown out the cubicle, tie, and daily commute…and taken his sales skills online. He lives and works from his home in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone—a region on the southern Pacific coast, near the border with Panama. The beach is 45 minutes away. Shopping and quality medical care is just 15 minutes down the hill. And the verdant green mountains of the interior are an even bigger draw.
It’s a big decision to bring your children overseas. My husband, Dan, and I turned our lives upside down in 1990 when we took our 1-year-old and 2-year-old to Guam, an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to take up teaching posts. Over the next 10 years we lived in three other countries— Ghana, Singapore, and Mexico—and visited many more.
If you dream of becoming a publishing magnate, you should probably marry a Hearst rather than start an English-language newspaper in Colombia. But find the right niche for a publication and you could create a profitable new business, while delivering essential information to news-hungry expats, travelers, and locals.
Our two children, Daniel and Angelina, are having the time of their lives in southern France. They’re riding their bikes along the canal under giant Plane trees, playing in the white sand and surf of the Mediterranean Sea, and enjoying long summers as well as skiing the snow-peaked Pyrenees in the winter. They absorb French culture as they play outdoors.
When my husband and I decided to move from Texas to the tropical island of Penang in Malaysia, I questioned the decision to uproot my children. Two years on, we have found the experience so enriching we’ve decided to prolong our stay. My husband was offered a job mentoring local computer engineers in Malaysia and, with three children—Clark, 13, Brad, 10, and Maria, 8—we had to consider if his career move was also in their best interest. We waited until after Clark finished elementary school so that it would be a more natural transition for him, and we planned a return visit to America for Christmas to minimize homesickness.
As a busy carpenter and contractor in his native Canada, Steve Quinn, 52, relished his regular trips to Costa Rica with his wife, Lisa, to relax and unwind on the beach. After six years of short visits, he decided to make this beach lifestyle permanent. He took over a beach bar and restaurant in Tamarindo, a funky surf town on the country’s northern Pacific coast. He’s leasing the property for three years, with an option to buy, which is a great way to test the waters without committing to purchasing property right off the bat.