I’m writing from the San Fernando Plaza Hotel in Medellín where, bright and early this sunny morning, Lief Simon kicked off this week’s Live and Invest in Colombia Conference before a sell-out crowd.
We’ve been holding conferences in Medellín for nine years. The meeting rooms were far less full our first few years.
Today the world is catching up and catching on… and we couldn’t be more delighted. Medellín is one of the world’s best places to spend time, a land of perpetual spring, a Euro-chic brand-name city in the making that deserves all the attention she’s finally enjoying.
Hosts for this week’s event Lief Simon has invited all our top Colombia colleagues and resources to join us in the room and on stage for this big event. Expats and experts are here from Medellín, of course, but from other opportunity-filled corners of this beautiful country, as well, from Bogotá to Cali and from Cartagena to Popayán.
We’ve based our annual Colombia conferences in Medellín every year because, frankly, we look forward to any chance to return to this city. But we also recognize that Colombia has a great deal to offer beyond Medellín.
As well as the experts who’ve joined us here in Medellín for this event—from real estate attorneys to health-care specialists, bankers, and Spanish-language instructors—I’m looking forward to catching up this week with expat friends in this town…
Including Darren and Wendy Howarter.
For almost 20 years, the Howarters lived in the town of Oregon, Illinois (population: 4,000)… in their dream home… on a private acre of wooded land… supported by their small community.
They could have stayed in Illinois all their lives… but for one unwelcome visitor that made a return every winter…
Followed by more snow…
For weeks on end.
One winter, after weeks of snow shoveling, Darren and Wendy agreed on a plan: no more winters.
A few years later, after trying a couple of other places on for size, the couple eventually set up home here in Medellín. They shared their full—and highly entertaining—journey with attendees this morning.
Darren and Wendy admit that, like most Americans, their pre-visit impression of Medellín—and of Colombia in general—was “crazy dangerous.”
In fact, the country wasn’t even on their radar until they came to our Retire Overseas Conference in Orlando several years ago. That’s when they decided Medellín was worth checking out.
Leaving behind their hometown, one of the couple’s biggest fears was losing the support of their close-knit community where everyone knew everyone else… and help was always at hand.
Luckily, despite its 2.5 million population, Medellín didn’t disappoint. The locals here, as Darren puts it, are “small-town-friendly.” And, as the couple planned their relocation, they had countless offers of help.
The year-round spring temperatures and their welcoming neighbors won the Howarters over. Wendy left her full-time career as an attorney behind and has taken up travel writing (including for Live and Invest Overseas!). Darren trades on the stock market. They’re officially “retired” but continue to bring in an income… on their own schedule.
The best part of the day, they both say, is coming together every evening on their balcony to watch the sunset—or a distant storm—over a glass of wine.
Of course, we’ve so many other experts and expats to hear from over these three action-packed days this week. Lief and our Colombia team will walk attendees through everything they need to know to, including how to:
- Make the big move to Colombia (from residency and visa options… to bringing in pets… and finding a home to rent or buy)…
- Settle in with ease (getting connected, paying bills, opening a bank account, learning Spanish, finding quality medical and dental care, and more)…
- Take advantage of the current window of opportunity to invest in this country while the U.S. dollar is super strong and Colombia’s prospects are big… we’ll look at diverse investment opportunities from buy-to-rent condos to organic farming and timber options…
I’ll be your eyes and ears on the ground here in lovely Medellín all week.
I have to run now to get back to the meetings, but I’ll have more for you from the scene tomorrow.
Speak with you then…