The sound of fiddles, flutes, and tin whistles fills the hall as people of all ages kick up their legs and dance the night away. One older gentleman begins a low, traditional melody and soon the whole room falls silent.
When checking out retirement spots in Ecuador, there are a few things that retirees look for. A great climate is usually first on the list, followed closely by an affordable cost of living. Everyone wants good infrastructure, but some hate to lose the “small-town” feel, which inevitably happens with bigger cities. Cuenca, for instance, has most everything an expat could need, and many have found their ideal retirement there—but with around half a million people, it’s just too big for some.
I’m sitting on a balcony of the home where my husband, daughter, and I are housesitting in Fiji. The ocean waves crest over the reef in front of me. White frangipani blooms and red hibiscus pop out of the green vegetation, and a gentle floral scent mingles with the saltwater air.
For many North Americans, moving to Italy to live in a stone cottage with its own olive grove is dream-worthy enough on its own. But for Bruce Adgate and Joanna Ross, it was just the start of their adventures.
For serial housesitters Denny and Eden Rudin, gone is their hectic, working-world life in the U.S., with car and mortgage payments and high medical costs. “With housesitting, we find it’s actually cheaper than our life was back in Arizona. Plus we get to see new places,” they say.
“The longer I stay here, the more I realize I’ve made a good choice,” says Leo Ellis of his new home in the colorful Thai city of Chiang Mai. Leo moved here in 2012—at the modest age of 87. Four years later, he’s as happy as ever to call it home.
"The Impressionists painted here for a reason,” says Ira Faro of his new home in the southern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon. “The feel of the place is very powerful… It’s as though the light is shining from everything."
When Tom and Laine Berning first decided to give overseas living a try, they knew exactly what they wanted: “A place with good public transport [and] a lot of culture,” says Laine. “Walking neighborhoods and excellent-quality food.”
"I swore that, when I retired, I would never have to wear a jacket or a long-sleeved shirt again,” says Alan Worline. Luckily for Alan, he found the perfect place to do just that: in David, one of Panama’s hottest cities.
"The future of the U.S. was looking bad,” says Nancy Young of the decisions that led her and her family to find a new life in the highlands of western Panama. “My husband was going to retire on beans, with no benefits…not enough for us to live on. Every winter in Missouri I dreaded getting our electric bill, and in the summer there were a few days you could open your windows to let the air in and not have to use air conditioning, but the air was so dirty that everyone had allergies. We had to make a move.”