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Imagine ~ Intend ~ Create

Living Abroad: Happy Anniversary to Us!

Edd:  Wow, 14 years ago, on May 17, 2010, we got off the plane here in Cuenca to begin our expat life. As the Grateful Dead sang, “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

Cynthia:  Well, with who knows how many flights back to the States to visit family and friends, full-time globetrotting for 2½ years, and all the other travel we’ve done, we haven’t really lived here the entire time. But, yeah, it has been quite a journey.

E:  Maybe this expat anniversary feels more meaningful because we are actually back in Cuenca to celebrate it. I vividly remember my first encounter with the local culture shortly after we checked into the hotel all those years ago.

C:  Ha! Me too. We were pooped, and I mentioned how much I would love a cappuccino. You gallantly offered to go get one for us both.

E:  So I stride into a coffee shop nearby and in my best pathetic Spanish say, “Dos cappuccinos to go, por favor.” I pay, wait, and...

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Expat Life: Is Home Really Where the Heart Is?

Edd:  I just realized something. We rented this apartment in Cuenca a little over three months ago. That’s the longest we’ve been in one place for over 2½ years!

Cynthia:  You’re right, and most of our readers will probably find that revelation shocking. It was a bit strange at first to be reunited with our own things. When the movers started bringing the furniture in you asked, “Has our stuff grown? I feel like we’re seeing the grandchildren after we’ve been away for a while!”

E:  Our new home is smaller than where we previously lived, and at first we were concerned we had made a mistake. But we’ve managed to make it work.

C:  And you’ve been busy with your recent side hustle—selling a lot of things online that we either don’t have room for or no longer need.

E:  Indeed I have, and what an adventure it’s been. I went through a similar experience with Craigslist when we were...

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Expat Life: Where we've decided to live next

Edd:  Well, we’ve been traveling full time for the past 2½ years looking for the next place to call home.

Cynthia:  After 11 years in Cuenca that ended with months of COVID lockdowns, we were ready for a change and decided it was time to explore more of the world.

E:  We started in Mexico, and our first stop, Mérida, was outstanding. Beautiful colonial city, great amenities, less than an hour to the beach…

C:  But OMG the heat! Granted, we were there in May, the hottest month of the year. Honestly, with 100+ temps and oppressive humidity we thought we were going to perish. Would certainly consider a return visit in the winter but moving there? No thanks.

E:  Living at the beach isn’t really for us, so Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun were more about research for our subscribers than ourselves. Tulum? Ugh. Cancun? We were surprised how much we liked the actual city away from the hotel zone.

If a coastal destination was on...

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Retirement: The devil you know or the devil you don't

A recent survey shows that inflation is causing some older Americans to delay their retirement plans.

Inflation for February ballooned to 7.9%, a new 40-year high, and most consumers expect prices to continue to rise over the next 12 months.

Concerns about the future are compounded by recent stock market drops and the war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, other Americans are taking a different approach.

We ran into a longtime local friend named Paul last week. He owns a relocation service that helps people from the U.S. and Canada move their possessions to Ecuador. In fact, his company moved our belongings here over a decade ago.

When we inquired how business was going he replied,”Fantastic!”

We wanted to know if his customers were coming to Cuenca, leaving, or both.

He said, “They’re coming. They tell me with prices going up, the ugly politics, and now the war in Ukraine, there’s too much uncertainty. They’ve had enough and want a 'más tranquilo'...

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Retirement: The pandemic's almost over. Now what?

When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March of 2020, a common mantra was, “No worries. This thing will be over by summer!”

Well…

Two years later and a lot of us are finally starting to emerge from the quagmire of mandates and restrictions we’ve had to endure.

If you’ve been following our story, you know we have been sensible but not suppressed by the coronavirus. Disappointed that our planned family trip in April 2020 had to be canceled, when the U.S. lifted its ban on international travel four months later, we were on a plane headed north in September.

And last year while many were still hunkered down, we spent 2 ½ months touring Mexico. Between there and our travels in the States, we changed locations a total of 33 times!

When you’re on the wrong side of life’s bell curve like we are, time is your most precious asset. We had complied with shelter-in-place orders for the better part of a year in Ecuador....

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Living Abroad: What's Cuenca like a year later?

Edd:  Finding ourselves in Cuenca to start 2022 is the most unexpected thing we’ve done in quite some time.

Cynthia:  Two months ago we were talking about spending the winter months in South America, but going back to Ecuador wasn’t even on the radar. Yet here we are.

E:  When we left last March I couldn’t wait to get on the plane. We’d been in Cuenca for 11 years and I felt so ready to move on. Which makes my happiness to return incredibly surprising to me.

C:  I’m pleased to be here as well. Maybe your feelings are a variation of the old saying that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

E:  Yeah, quite possibly. It’s all too easy to take things like Cuenca’s ideal year-round climate for granted, isn’t it? The frigid temps we experienced in the States during the holidays were hard for us to handle.

C:  As was the brutal heat in parts of Mexico last year. Particularly in Mérida. When...

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Living Abroad: A Surprising Start to 2022

Edd:  Our followers will probably be surprised to learn where we are now.

Cynthia:  Well, so are we! Our plans were to say goodbye to cold weather after the holidays and head south to Peru or Colombia. But we learned both countries currently have restrictive policies in place regarding COVID-19.

E:  Right. And we didn’t want to go to the trouble and expense of traveling somewhere new without the freedom we enjoyed in Mexico.

C:  Plus, we discovered when we’re constantly on the move it’s difficult to focus on creating new content and products for our website.

E:  So we decided to spend the winter and get caught up on work projects in…our hometown of Cuenca, Ecuador!

C:  Finding ourselves back in the same neighborhood wasn’t the way we’d envisioned 2022 beginning. When our original plan didn’t work out, we quickly pivoted and decided going home for a few months makes the most sense.

E:  To be clear, Ecuador...

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Expat Life: Living the Dream

Edd:  Can’t even begin talking about Living the Dream, the title of the last book in our trilogy, without referencing the Thoreau quote that has guided us all these years.

Cynthia:  “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” That refrigerator magnet message has followed us everywhere.

E:  Last time I mentioned a Dan Fogelberg lyric: “Where do you go when you get to the end of your dreams?” In our case the answer is simple—create some new ones!

C:  Ever since I can remember our dream was to chase perfect weather around the globe. As we related in a previous blog, we found that special climate, or at least our version of it, in Cuenca. Now we’re embarking on the second part of our original vision.

E:  The Great Recession of 2008 unexpectedly knocked our life way off course. Consequently, those dreams got put on the shelf for a while. But we never, ever, forgot...

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Expat Life: Letting Go

Cynthia:  Last time we started talking about how our new adventure is repeating the stages described in the titles of our trilogy of books. Specifically that we’re once again taking a Leap of Faith.

Edd:  The second volume, Letting Go,” is my personal favorite. We could have called it “Cutting Loose.” My Gosh, it seems like we partied for two straight years!

C:  We arrived in Cuenca so broken from the financial strain we’d been under. The sheer joy of being released from that burden translated into a nonstop celebration of freedom.

E:  Totally unsustainable but what a blast while it lasted! We truly were leaving behind so much. Not only the money hardships. We were also saying goodbye to the stress and pressures of everyday life in American culture. The multitasking and over-scheduling. Traffic. Never feeling relaxed.

C:  What do you think we’re “letting go” of now?

E:  Well, our...

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Expat Life: We’re Reimagining OUR Retirement!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

For years we’ve been encouraging all of you to follow your dreams.

We’re extremely proud that Retirement Reimagined! has provided enrollees with the in-depth guidance and knowledge they need to make their desire to move abroad a reality.

Now, after 10+ years living in Ecuador, we’ve decided that it’s time to reimagine our own retirement.

Thoreau’s quote is on a refrigerator magnet that has been part of our lives for longer than we can remember. Turns out our dreams are about to lead us in many directions!

In celebration of our upcoming 50th anniversary, at the end of this month we’re going to “hit the road.” Or, more accurately, to spread our wings and take flight.

While maintaining our residence in Cuenca, we will divide our time between more frequent family visits and scouting trips to the countries we...

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