Day 1 In Medellín: “Kathleen, You Didn’t Do This Place Justice!”
Latin America Correspondent Lee Harrison, in Medellín this week to co-host our Live and Invest in Colombia Conference with Lief Simon, is what you might call a Serial Expat. Lee took early retirement from his successful engineering career at the age of 49.
As he explained it to the group assembled in Medellín this morning, “I didn’t have enough of a pension or enough retirement savings to live on for the rest of my life in the States, certainly not living the level of lifestyle my wife and I had been enjoying in New York up until that point. So I started looking around for options. My eyes were opened to the ‘retire overseas’ option by a book on retiring to Costa Rica that I happened upon in a bookstore one day.
“At that point in our lives,” Lee continued for the group, “my wife Julie and I wanted a big change, an adventure. We craved culture shock, the bigger the better. So while Costa Rica was the first country I considered as an overseas retirement option, it wasn’t the one we chose for the start of our overseas retirement adventures. Julie and I chose Ecuador, where we embraced a very different and almost unbelievably affordable lifestyle.
“We enjoyed Ecuador, but, once we’d made that first move, we couldn’t help but notice other options that also seemed very appealing. What could be better than Ecuador, we asked ourselves while enjoying our new life there, first in Cuenca, then in Vilcabamba. Then we discovered that, well, other places just might be better in some ways.
“So, from Ecuador, we moved to Uruguay, where we divided our time between Montevideo and Punta del Este, on the coast. What could be better than that life, split between a pleasant city and one of the world’s most beautiful stretches of coastline?
“Then we discovered Itamaracá, Brazil, where we lived right on the beach. Could we top that?
“I’m here today to tell you that, yes, again, we’ve found something better: Medellín.”
“Medellín is more First World than Ecuador. It has the same diverse natural beauty as Ecuador but (and this has become important to us) less corruption.
“Medellín is less expensive than Uruguay. It has a pleasant, comfortable climate year-round with no winter. And it’s much closer to the United States than Uruguay.
“And Medellín has better weather than Brazil, plus no mosquitos.
“Medellín is not too hot and not too cold. It’s accessible to the States. You can drink the water. Real estate prices are low, and the market in general is rife with opportunity.
“Here in Medellín, our attention has been focused on El Poblado, which, as far as we can tell, is the best of the best. Frankly, this area of Medellín doesn’t compare to anything, certainly not to anywhere else I know in Latin America, and I’ve been traveling all over this region, covering this beat, for 14 years. El Poblado is green and lush without any Third World poverty. It offers a luxury high-end lifestyle that doesn’t cost like a luxury high-end lifestyle. Frankly, at this point in our lives, I feel like we deserve what this place has to offer.
“When we moved to Ecuador, we were looking for adventure, and we embraced how different life was in that country. Now, more than 14 years later and more than 14 years older, we’re looking for something else, something more comfortable. We’ve found it here, in Medellín.
“Given what you’re buying, this place is an almost unbelievable bargain. The living doesn’t compare anywhere else, not at any price…”