“Kathleen, I have a suggestion/request for you. I’ve been living around the world for three years now. I have visited a number of places your team has reported on through the years. Nha Trang, Vietnam, and Mexico have been winning locations—modern lifestyles on affordable budgets—US$800 to US$900 per month for a couple. Yeah!
“With regards to your upcoming Retire Overseas Index, I would love to see something that comments on the quality of the plumbing in each location. Guatemala, Antigua in particular, is the reason for this request. I am a very tolerant person, as my husband will testify. However, the fact that I was unable to put toilet paper (TP) into the toilets in Guatemala and instead had to collect it in a trash bin next to the toilet really, really grossed me out. For me, this is the level of development that I do not wish to go below. I need to be able to flush TP and not have the plumbing get clogged up. Since you recommend certain countries in Central America and Asia, I think it might be relevant to warn your readers if a place’s plumbing is just not able to pass the TP test.
“I realize you may not have time to add this TP rating in this year’s report, but perhaps it can be considered for 2015. Maybe you just need to add a line that mentions all of the locations that fail this rating since I’m sure that most of the places you report on must have plumbing decent enough to handle TP.
“Thanks for all of the reporting and stoking of the Live Overseas fires.”
–Dorothy R., United States
I love this comment because it makes maybe the most important point to be made when planning for a move to a new country…which is this:
You need to be honest with yourself.
Start by making two lists, one of the things that do you not want to live without…and the other of things you absolutely will not tolerate. Make the lists as long as you want and then prioritize them. Identify two or three things you must have and two or three things that would make you miserable.
Then stick to your lists. Don’t compromise on those handful of deal-breaker items, no matter how small or silly they seem (to you or anyone else).
I think I’ll adopt Dorothy’s “TP” test as part of my own make-or-break lists.
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