This Summer, Istanbul…Macedonia…And Beyond
Lief and my travel schedule is dictated by our son Jackson’s school calendar. Jack had his final exam of the year Friday afternoon…which means this weekend we take off for two months on the road.
First stop, Istanbul.
Lief and I traveled to this city for the first time during our honeymoon years ago. We returned for a quick visit last summer, when we decided this is a place we’d like to know better. In the 12 months since, Turkey and Istanbul have become higher-profile. “The biggest opportunity we’ve seen in the last 50 years”…”a white-hot real estate market exploding with profits”…”an investor’s utopia”…etc., read marketing brochures.
Our focus, of course, will be real estate. We’ve planned meetings with the hope of trying to vet the current property scene in Istanbul. This market bottomed out mid-2009. Since then, some reports show that values have appreciated 75% and continue up. Right now, the average per-square-meter cost for an apartment in Istanbul’s city center, according to the reconnaissance I’ve got, is about 5,000 Turkish lira (or US$2,300/US$2,400). That’s not super cheap, but if it proves the reality for best-of-city locations, it’s a bargain in Euro-terms. Lief and I will report back to confirm.
And, if values, properties, and locations are as they’ve been represented, we may also consider buying one of this city’s waterfront apartments ourselves. For us, this is as much a personal decision as an investment, given our honeymoon connection and our instinctive appreciation for Istanbul’s history, geographic location, and Continental-chic lifestyle. We’ve learned through long experience that buys that meet both personal and investment criteria are the most successful long-term…one reason Istanbul is at the top of our list currently.
From Istanbul we plan a quick stopover in Macedonia. This is a tiny country at a dramatic turning point in its history. We like little countries working hard to make a place for themselves on the world stage, so we’re going to take a look at what Macedonia is up to.
Later in July we’ll be in Nicaragua (to vet current property offerings and to finalize plans for the Live and Invest in Nicaragua Adventure we’ve added to this year’s events calendar) and in the Cayman Islands (to vet new banking, tax, and structures resources).
The first two weeks of August we’ll be in Belize with our kids. Our agenda for this leg is kayaking, canoeing, hiking, river-tubing, horseback riding, and spelunking. We hope to be as unplugged as is possible for a family to be these days. Two weeks without X-Box, Netflix, Skype, or Facebook sounds like just what the doctor ordered to this mom.
We’ll finish the summer in Nashville, where Lief and I will be co-hosting our Fourth Annual Retire Overseas Conference Aug. 29–31. We’re two months out from the event and have more than 200 attendees registered. They and we will be joined by more than four-dozen speakers, correspondents, expats, and friends from around the world for three days of discussion and discovery. I’m very much looking forward to it. Never been to Music City before.
I’m also looking forward to the eight weeks between then and now. I won’t be MIA the whole time, but Lief and I are hoping to be offline for a couple of extended periods. Specifically, the coming two weeks in Istanbul and the first two weeks of August in Cayo, Belize.
Don’t get too excited. You’re not off the hook entirely. I’ve enlisted reinforcements.
Starting tomorrow and continuing through mid-July, you’ll hear each day not from me but longtime friend and fellow editor Lynn Mulvihill…whose efforts will be supported by correspondents Paul Terhorst, Wendy Justice, Lee Harrison, Rob Cary, Jocelyn Carnegie, Lucy Culpepper, and others who’ve offered to help hold down the fort while Lief and I try to be disconnected.
We will be in touch from the road in Istanbul and Macedonia from time to time. Look for us back in your inbox reliably again the week of July 14.
Meantime, enjoy your summer…and, if you haven’t yet, make your plans now to join us in Nashville. This is going to be the biggest and most important retire overseas event of the year and a whole lot of fun, to boot. Hope to see you there.