The Big Move: Where To Go And Why

When you are thinking of where to settle down in this increasingly small planet of ours, you might wonder what criteria to consider. Do you want someplace modern, cheap, healthy, current on cultural events, active, social, or ripe with opportunity?

A rear view of the Peoples Palace, Podjistan

The big move – where to go and why?

I know a place where a lot of travellers would chose – Paris. They had one reason for visiting there and it was a reason that shaped his life in some powerful ways. The main reason was food.

So, if you’re a food freak, Paris was the place to be.

I’m not a foodie. Paris would be a fabulous place to live for the ambient culture, the Parisian lifestyle, the wine, bread and cheese afternoons, and the great museums. But I would prefer Rome, Venice or Naples, frankly. Paris is so … you know, overdone.

Instead of choosing a place on a whim, however, let’s look at a few basic criteria and come up with some reasonable options.

1.Retirement 
Retirement is about living the good life, but it’s also about landing somewhere near great healthcare options and where the cost of living is reasonable. The site International Living, for these reasons and more, recommends the “quaint … vibrant” South American country Ecuador, which, thanks to government policies, has cheap rates for seniors who want to attend movies or sporting events.

Jonny Blair in Quito's old town

Ecuadorian Music in Old Town Quito

In addition, real estate in Ecuador is among the best values anywhere in the world, the magazine says. And retirees from the United States frequently want to travel to see their loved ones, which makes it very appealing to learn that plane fares, when the itinerary originates in Ecuador, are 65 percent discounted for senior citizens.

2.Healthcare
That said, International Living recommends Malaysia and Costa Rica as having some of the best and cheapest healthcare options for their residents.

Malaysia has “excellent, low-cost healthcare, and some of the best trained surgeons, dentists and specialist in the world,” with quality that compares well, even better, than most Western countries, says the magazine. Most of them have been trained in the United States or Britain. “All of them speak English,” says the write up.

Admiring the somewhat dreamlike sunset in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Admiring the somewhat dreamlike sunset in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Costa Rica, in contrast, has top notch care, in part because it abolished its army in 1948 and put the money towards two things that retirees might appreciate: Education and healthcare.

Now, the country has an enviable, government-run healthcare system that goes by the nickname Caja, paid for by a monthly 7 percent to 11 percent income tax. It covers “anything you need through a nationwide network of clinics and hospitals: Doctor’s visits, medical testing, prescriptions, major surgeries and hospitalization.”

3.Surprise Yourself 

“Life is an adventure. Don’t Stop Living”

Do you want a quick trip around the world? You could visit New York City and walk around the block, go backpacking in Podjistan, feed hyenas in Ethiopia and so on. Stay tuned to the endless travel stories on DontStopLiving.net, where I blog about my endless travels and adventures.

Malaysian leaf curry Batu Caves

Don’t Stop Living.

Sometimes you just need to reset the thinking process. You might find a wildly exotic locale is the prefect place for you. This busy, extensive Web site is full of strange and wonderful locations for you to consider.

4.What About The Weather?
I always liked San Francisco. It may be foggy some of the time, but the fog burns up and what’s left is a climate that never drops below 50 degrees and rarely rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Perfect. I would just take the thermostat out of my home if I could dial in weather like that.

But International Living, which was established in 1979 is, again, more traveled than I am. The magazine recommends Ecuador, Columbia and Mexico as the three top-score places on its climate category.

Agua Azul, underneath the main falls.

Agua Azul, Mexico – underneath the main falls.

You can probably guess that Ecuador, Columbia and Mexico means sun, more sun and more sun, but Ecuador offers a unique take on the subject: It is on the equator, but it is also 7,800 feet above sea level, which is a fair ways up. That puts the daily average temperature at 60 to 75 degrees and nighttime at 45 degrees – perfect for sleeping.

5.Foodies 
Another worldly magazine, National Geographic, recommends it’s Top 10 food cities and comes away with a wildly startling list, putting – hold onto your brisket, everybody – Louisville, Kentucky, at the top spot.

It turns out, this is based on one great entry (or entre), which is the open-faced turkey sandwich on Texas toast with bacon, tomatoes and a cream sauce. Give me a break.

Pot of Irish tea with my Ulster Fry!

Ulster Fry, Northern Ireland

No. 2 on their list is Chennai, India. Disillusioned already, it turns out this is based on “Chicken 65,” which “is to India’s restaurants what buffalo wings are in the United States.”

OK, so much for magazine research. The best food in the world, midnight snacks included, are in Paris, France, end of discussion. You might also travel to some surprising cooking talents residing in New York City, Boston and, of course, New Orleans, but you cannot escape the historical truths, at least from a global perspective. That still points to Paris, Florence, Italy, Barcelona and Bangkok. Toss in Charlotte, North Carolina for some southern-styling that is hard to beat.

Alright, So You Still Have To Get There

Call the airlines. Pack your clothes. Call Mayflower if you need help with cross country moving. Pack up the home. Grab the spouse and head out the door.

It is that simple if you like simplicity. However, moving also requires a bit of in-depth research that goes beyond nice weather and truffles for lunch. You need to check out monetary exchange rates, legal documents required if you want to stay for a long visit.

The basic list is to save some money before you move overseas, check on documents required, look into shipping versus storing or holding a massive garage sale, settle financial accounts and tuck away any loose ends that could haunt you later.

Check the stove twice to make sure it’s tuned off … and you are on your way. Head out into the sunset to go backpacking and don’t look back.

Safe travels!

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