About Me

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I finally made it to the adventure of a lifetime and now I'm a citizen of the World. Indy author, blogger, in love with being an author - Mom of two grown children and widow of the most wonderful man to ever live - Devon "Pete" Hall.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Let’s Talk Retirement

So, would I be on this path of world travel and seeking a permanent overseas home if I were not of retirement age? Definitely not. 

It’s not that I wouldn’t have the desire for the adventure of it all. I’ve always had that. It’s that I wouldn’t have the income I need to sustain myself, without working, if I wasn’t eligible for Social Security.  Besides the fact that in most of the countries in which I’m going to be traveling and considering residency, working in country is not allowed as a “pensionado”, I do not want to work any longer, at least not as an employee. 

While relying on Social Security is not a good retirement plan in the U.S., it is more than enough to get by on in many, many places around the world. According to some of the sites I’ve visited about retiring overseas, one of the most common misconceptions is that you cannot collect your Social Security outside of the United States. This is completely false. In fact, my Social Security intake agent was very excited for me when I told her what I was going to be doing. 

While many people have planned responsibly for their retirement, putting away appropriate sums of money over the years, there are those of us who did not and there are those of us that did but the recession, or medical bills, or family situations struck down all their plans.  I was personally staring at a glum future of working until I dropped and already feeling the strain on my body at a fairly young age of 63. 

I was so happy when a lucky conversation with a shuttle passenger opened my eyes to the fact that my Social Security actually WAS enough, just not in the United States. Once I realized there was a whole range of countries that are affordable, safe, with good health care and welcoming arms for expatriates from all over the world, I felt both relief and excitement. How wonderful is it that in my fall and winter years, I have options! And they include globe-trotting, a life-long fantasy that is about to come true. 

If any of this makes sense to you, I will be presenting information and resources in my next post for you to explore.  In the meantime, you may want to simply Google “retirement overseas” and follow your heart.

Monday, March 9, 2015

One Simple Sentence Freed Me

You may well wonder what could ever make me think I could live overseas and travel on my social security alone. When I tell people how simply it started they are always amazed. 

My fun retirement job up to this point has been as a shuttle driver for the number one Toyota dealership in the nation. It has given me great joy to ferry people around and get into short but often intense conversations with them. It was one of these talks that started the ball rolling for me. 

I was taking a Filipino man home from the dealership when he began to tell of the wonderful vacation he had just come back from, visiting his family in the Philippines for a month. He mentioned that the airfare was expensive but otherwise it barely cost him anything. I assumed he was talking about the low cost of staying with family, but a few seconds later he described his hotel and I realized there was more to it. I asked him why the trip was so inexpensive. 

“The exchange rate is 44 pesos to the dollar over there,” he replied. I was stunned and I feel sure my jaw dropped. This was the sentence that launched my lifestyle change.

“What?” I feebly replied. 

“Yes,” he continued, “you get a lot more for your dollar over there.” I really can’t recall what else we discussed because my mind was going a million miles a minute, except that he ended by saying that he planned on retiring in the Philippines where he could live like a king on his social security alone, even though he was purchasing real estate there at a steady pace as a financial investment.

I began to immerse myself in research on retiring to the Philippines as a possibility for myself, and as I did I found there were many other places in the world where the U.S. dollar went a very long way. In essence, a casual chat with a passenger led me to one of the most profound life changes I’ve ever experienced. 

In future postings, I'll tell you what I found out, country by country, and how I’ve gone about preparing for this transition. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey as much as I have and once I’m on my way, I’ll have much to show and tell.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Most Exciting Life Awaits

Today is a most exciting day. I've been waiting 7 months to be able to say this but I'm about to embark on an entirely new life as a expat traveler, searching the world for the perfect retirement spot, and finally doing the world traveling I've always dreamed about in the meantime.

I cannot express the great excitement I feel about this - the prospect of an incredible adventure. I've always been attracted to other cultures and ways of living and now I can immerse myself in a variety of places, peoples and customs. 

I will be writing frequently about how I came to this decision and what my process has been until the day I actually leave the United States with my passport in hand, awaiting the first customs person to stamp it. 

The bare bones of the plan are to first go to the Philippines, then Thailand, followed by Malaysia. In each of these places I expect to stay about 4 months. But I’m not tied to a schedule. Whatever happens happens. I’ll then make my way to Latin America – Ecuador and Panama, for sure. After that, I have no plan. I’m expecting to meet many other expats who I’m sure will have suggestions of places I must visit. Ultimately, I hope to find a home, a place in which I can both afford to retire and feel passionately about. 

I’ll be posting pictures and videos of my exploits once I’m on the road, but in the meantime, I will share with my readers what I’ve discovered in this process of several months.

All aboard?