The Truth About Moving or Retiring Abroad: Part II

Special Feature: Part two of our series discussing all things retiring or moving abroad. Answers are courtesy of Anywhere’s very own CEO Zach Smith!

Moving Abroad Image: A mature couple packs a suitcase in their room.
Pack your bags! You’re heading off to your next adventure—in life.

In Part I of our series, we prepped you for your big move by telling you what you should not do whilst spending your golden years abroad, or heading overseas for a new career. The drawbacks or considerations of moving abroad are serious, and not always fun to think about, but they are important. Now that you’ve done your due diligence and set yourself up for success, let’s move on to what you’ve really been waiting for—the benefits of retiring or moving abroad! Topping the list of common perks are:

  • Enjoying a lower cost of living.
  • Having an improved quality of life, or work/life balance.
  • Checking off your bucket list by fulfilling a lifetime dream.
  • Truly starting a new chapter in your life.
Moving Abroad Image: A mature silver haired couple unpacks boxes in their home.
Once you unpack your essentials, it will be time to settle into a new routine.

One quick tip before we get to the good stuff… Moving abroad is an opportunity to start a new life in every sense—including when it comes to what to pack. If you thought it was annoying to move across town or across the country, imagine relocating around the world. Though you will no doubt do your research and assess how much you want to take with you, keep in mind that when it comes to essentials, there is very little you will be unable to find in your new home. International shipping is incredibly expensive, so choose wisely. Items of irreplaceable sentimental value might be worth it. The dishes you got from Ikea would probably be better off in the flat of a young graduate or a secondhand store. Also, Ikea is almost everywhere now, so…

Whatever your reasons for moving abroad—whether it be retirement, a career opportunity, or simply needing a change of pace, Anywhere CEO Zach Smith offers his expertise on why you’ll enjoy your new life in a new country.

What are the best reasons to retire overseas?

Moving Abroad Image: A weathered wall has a doorway cut into it, leading to a blue sea and sky.
Life after retiring and moving abroad goes on. Where will it lead you?

The best reasons to retire overseas are curiosity and the willingness to try something new. Most people don’t live in multiple places or multiple cultures, so it is a leap of faith to do so later in life. However, at least going through the process to decide whether or not it’s right for you is courageous, and there is a payoff. The opportunity to reinvent oneself should not be underestimated.

Running from anything should not be a reason to retire overseas. That’s not really what it’s about. Retiring overseas is about wanting more out of life. It’s about the curiosity of what is out there next on this journey, and refusing to let the journey look like a dead-end. Instead, imagine life is a series of doors—there is always another door to walk through. The journey of life is long when you remain curious about what’s out there and want to pursue new adventures. This has the ability to keep you young, invigorated, and excited about what’s next.

What new things can you try? How about these “5 Exciting Costa Rica Activities That Make A Great Story“…

What is the thing I’ll be happily surprised about the most by retiring or moving abroad?

Moving Abroad Image: A guitar sits on a hammock.
Take naps in hammocks and rediscover old interests…

The thing that you will be most happily surprised about when retiring or moving abroad is understanding that there are a lot of ways to organize your daily life. Most of the time, people get into a rhythm that they inherit from their parents, their community, their job, or their coworkers. All of a sudden, when that is gone, there is an opportunity to reinvent your day and organize it based on your interests, or on what is happening in the new location in which you’re living. That is a rebirth process that I think people might find refreshing.

As an example, once you move abroad, your day might revolve around morning exercise because it is a time of day when it is cooler outside. So, you might find yourself getting up earlier and taking advantage of that cool, fresh air, and really enjoying that part of your day. [This might be] followed by going to a little market and buying fresh produce. [If you enjoy working with or helping others and would like to be involved in your new community], there might be some volunteer opportunities at a primary school or a local community center, or there might be a language practice activity for a couple of hours.

Moving Abroad Image: A mature couple with silver hair sit and read in their garden.
…or make simple pleasures a part of your new routine.

In a tropical zone, the middle of the day is quite hot, especially if you are near the beach where there is no elevation. If that’s the case, you might find yourself taking a nap in the middle of the day, and then organizing the rest of your day’s activities for after the weather has cooled off a little bit. Who would have thought that you would decide to take naps for two or three hours a day? That is something that you get to reinvent when you move abroad—how you want to spend your day.

I think retirement is all about making choices about how you would want to live your life now that you have some freedom. You have a new cultural backdrop and you have all this time. It is very important to really reflect and experiment with what routine feels good for you.

What are the best places to live in the world?

Moving Abroad Image: A picturesque home on the Mediterranean seaside.
The Mediterranean is a popular destination, but it may not be for you—and that’s okay.

In general, the best places to live are anywhere you can find fresh food; areas where there is relative peace; regions where there is an emphasis on education, and a place where people want to be a productive member of society. You can look at different cultures through that lens, and then start to identify parts of the world that are attractive.

The Mediterranean, traditionally, has a very good reputation as far as lifestyle and pace of life. There are parts of Mexico and Central America that come to mind. These places are also relatively peaceful. I haven’t been everywhere so it is hard for me to comment about places [that might be great, but that] I haven’t been to.

In general, if you want to live abroad, you must pick somewhere that aligns with your values. It is usually cloudy for half of the year in Germany but this country is really organized, and there is a great infrastructure. So for some people, living in Germany offers a perfect lifestyle. [Then again, for other people] a ‘best place to live’ can be an island of Belize where you wake up in the morning and go snorkeling every day…

Don’t forget to consider accessibility, now and for the future. A travel agent can help you do a dry run…

What do I need to know about international pet shipping, international pet travel, international pet transport? Anything about bringing my pet…

Moving Abroad Image: A dog sits on a sandy beach—eyes closed and a slight smile.
Don’t leave anyone behind. Do your research and you will be able to bring your furry friends with you when you move abroad.

As far as I know, the airlines are quite accommodating when it comes to pet travel. Every country has slightly different rules on transporting pets. Some might have a quarantine regulation while others are more lenient in that regard. [However, even though] each country has their own rules, you will not be the first person to transport a pet to an international location. There is a system in place and it’s a matter of getting the facts on the location you are going to. [With a little research, you shouldn’t have an issue bringing your furry family member with you.]

Part III

Moving Abroad Image: Colorful boats sit in vibrant blue water along a sandy shore.
In part three, we’re setting sail for the beautiful shores of Belize.

Now that you know Fido and Fluffy can come along for your big adventure, it’s time to explore what it might be like to actually live in a popular foreign destination—Belize! The soft sands and crystal clear waters of Belize make it a tropical hotspot for tourists. Imagine how envious everyone will be when they find out you’re living there full-time. Retired or not, truly fitting into Belizean life requires more than flip-flops and sunglasses. Get ready to learn crucial information such as:

  • The etiquette and customs of Belize.
  • Some of Belize’s best restaurants.
  • The languages that are spoken in Belize.

and more. Read all about this beach locale, and start thinking about whether or not it will suit you in Part III. “How will I do that when I have nothing else to compare it to?” you say. Don’t worry, in Part IV, we’ll be taking a look at Panama

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