Retire Overseas

Make Your Own Reality

Standing in line in Target last weekend, our cart overflowing with super-discounted stuff we’d decided we couldn’t live without and had to buy to carry back to Panama with us, Lief asked me the question that we can’t help but return to from time to time:

“Why do we choose to continue living overseas? Wouldn’t it be easier and maybe even cheaper to move back to the United States?” he wondered.

Some things would be more affordable, yes. (Thus the Target shopping spree.) Important items in our budget, though, would become dramatically most costly, especially health care and health insurance. And, certainly, returned Stateside, we wouldn’t be able to afford little luxuries like full-time help around the house.

The real point, though, is that, after more than 13 years living outside the States, we’ve learned not only that we can control our cost of living, within parameters, anywhere we decide we want to live…but also, more important, that cost of living isn’t the best reason to think about moving to another country in the first place.

Here in the States where we’re enjoying the holidays this year, cocktail party conversation and the ever-present news are all about health insurance reform, tax legislation, and the new all-body scanning procedures at airports.

These are important issues, sure, but they don’t have to rule your life. This is a great big world bursting with opportunity. I’ve been making that claim to readers for more than 25 years, but I think I’ve come to appreciate it fully only recently.

You can see the world as a struggle against increased health insurance expense and fear over what the next nutcase might decide to do from his perch in coach. Or you can shift your perspective.

CNN, et al., give you one view of the world, all about exploding debt ratios, rising unemployment, spiraling health-care costs, and financial bailouts for states on the verge of bankruptcy (some counts name 20 U.S. states on their way to filing for Chapter 9 relief).

Beyond the media view of our world, though, is another one, where every turn brings not worry and fear but discovery and adventure.

That’s the world Lief and I have chosen to become part of. Sure, we’re tempted by cheap sundries and discounted bed linens every now and then and do, from time to time, reconsider life “back home.” But, the truth is, we have no plan to return to the States.

We’ve learned that there’s a world beyond financial meltdowns and wars on terror. And this other world is way more fun.

Kathleen Peddicord

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