Expats In Medellin, Colombia

Five Steps From “What If” To “!”

“Have you ever said, ‘If’…’Someday’…’Wouldn’t it be nice?’…’Later’…’After’…’After the kids have graduated college…after we’ve saved more money…after we’re able to sell the house’…

“We said those things for years,” explained Medellin expat Nancy Kiernan. “For years my husband and I talked about the idea of doing something new and different, of moving to a new country where we could create a whole new life.

“Then, finally, we mentioned the idea to our daughter,” Nancy continued. “Our daughter responded with, ‘You guys aren’t ever going to do that. Not really.’

“She was so confident in her position that it stopped us. What did she know that we didn’t, we wondered. So we asked her.

“‘You’re never going to do this,’ she told us, ‘because you haven’t decided you’re going to do it. You’re talking about how maybe someday you’ll make a move, if, if, if…but you haven’t decided that you’re going to do this no matter what. I know you guys. That means you’re not really going to do it.’

“Don’t you hate when your kids are smarter than you are? In this case, our daughter was. She saw the flaw in our plan. It was theoretical. We hadn’t committed to it. With that realization, we knew what we had to do. We had to commit. We had to agree that we were no longer thinking about moving to another country but that we were moving to another country, no matter what.

“I see that now as the first step in this process. Now that we’ve made the move, I see five steps in total, as follows:

  • Step #1: Decide
  • Step #2: Research
  • Step #3: Plan (with contingencies, because nothing is going to go as you plan)
  • Step #4: Test (put your boots on the ground)
  • Step #5: Plunge

“Steps 2 and 3 depend on understanding what you want. You have to make a list. What do you want your new life to look like? What’s important to you?

“We made our list, and it led us to think that four countries in particular might be what we were looking for–Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Uruguay.

“We proceeded to Step #4 by planning an extended trip that would allow us to spend time in each of those four countries. We started in Ecuador, where we realized something pretty quick. That country wasn’t for us. It was more Third World than we wanted. However, on that trip to Ecuador, we met Live and Invest Overseas’ Correspondent Lee Harrison. We told him our plan, explained what we were looking for, and Lee made a recommendation. Go look at Colombia, he told us, specifically Medellin.

“So we adjusted our plan and, rather than moving on to Panama, Costa Rica, or Uruguay…we hopped a plane to Medellin. We intended to stay two weeks but ended up staying for two months. In those two months, we fell in love. This city was everything we were looking for. We rented an apartment for a year…and here we are, about eight months into our first year in a place we love more every day.”

What, exactly, is so great about this place? After Nancy, naturalist and tour guide Andres Munera took the stage to introduce everyone in the room to the natural and agricultural beauty of Medellin and the surrounding countryside. Slide after slide of birds, flowers, waterfalls, and lush green mountainsides, all less than three hours from downtown Medellin.

Meantime, here in downtown Medellin, we’re enjoying all the best of city living. “This place is a real city,” one attendee remarked to me during the coffee break yesterday. “I didn’t expect this. This is like being in Europe…”

Kathleen Peddicord

Continue Reading: Employment Opportunities In Panama

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