Paradise: Where gringos dream of retiring. Paradise is where we beat the rat race and build that dream home along the seaside. Warm beaches and exotic fruits fill our days and the sound of waves lulls us to sleep. The skies or so blue in the day and full of stars in the night leaving us both in awe of their beauty and wondering why we didn’t move to paradise sooner.
Close your eyes and imagine paradise. Or you can google image search paradise. Both will leave you with images of palm trees, sandy beaches, waterfalls, and exotic terrain. Now imagine yourself there.
Do we sell the comforts of our American life to pursue that dream? That dream of stopping all the busy-ness while the rest of the world says it’s too risky. What is life for if we don’t live life a little risky. If you fail miserably at least you will be in paradise. Besides, there’s nothing quite like a swim in the warm ocean water
What are the steps to actually living out this dream. This is a good place to start:
Where is paradise on Earth for you? It could be in Mexico or it could be in France. What are the costs of living there? Ask and answer as many questions as you can in this stage. It is your treasure map to a golden paradise. And here’s the hard part- be honest about your limitation and expectations. You don’t want somewhere hot and realize you hate the heat. So if you have to have a cooler month, know that. If you need a big city close so you can get some necessities- know that too. If you don’t like certain bugs- research that. I live in the frozen tundra but I hate the cold. Why?? Because I hate bug more than I hate the cold. I will live here forever because I see a spider maybe twice a year. And even that’s too much. So respect your limitations and be honest in this phase. It will really help!
Take a trip or two. This will give you a taste of what it is like to actually live in your dream destination. This will be your living research phase. I would plan on staying for more than a week if you can- you really want to get a good feel of it. Don’t bring anything with you that you wouldn’t have when you live there, and try your hardest not to be a traveler! Sit in the house (or hotel) and see how you do. Only eat the food at the markets. Go to the places only locals go, if you can. Live there for a week or more and see how you do!!
If you have decided that you really like paradise and can’t stop thinking about it then it might be time to sell. If that one place you loved is still nagging at your heart and soul- sell everything and make the move. It will be hard to let go of those wood toys that the kids played with before they grew up, and to leave the house where your music was the pitter patter of feet. But you’re about to embark on a new journey now and it’s going to give you new memories. A new house where the grand-kids can accidently bang a dent in the wall- and you leave it there for the memory, the mark that they were there. All these things will come again. The grand-kids and kids will find new things to enjoy when they visit- you’ll love their snorkeling gear just like those wooden toys, and those adorable little lady bug swimsuits. The smell of coconut lotion as you lather those kids up in sunscreen will feed your soul. So don’t worry.
Now this is the part where you will likely wonder what the heck you’ve done. So let’s go through the phases of moving to a completely new country for a bit so you’re ready!
Phase 1. “Oh my gosh pinch me how is this my life and it’s perfect and I’m so happy!!!”
This is the honeymoon phase. Everything is awesome and nothing will bug you. Even when your toilet overflows or a hurricane comes through- you’ll soak the power of the storm up and enjoy every second. Nothing will suck, ever.
Phase 2. “Crap.”
This one comes really quickly and usually as a surprise. It might be that plate of nachos you ordered that don’t taste like back home and now you’re all a mess. Or maybe your entry door is fragile and not like your beautiful iron entry door back home that helps you feel safe and warm at night. It could be a spider in your bed…or even just a rude person. Either way- you now feel the weight of what you have done and you’re sure your life is over and that you’ve done the stupidest thing ever known to all the EVERS. Regret is everywhere.
Phase 3. “Have an issue need a tissue.”
You’re going to cry a lot in this phase. And look at pictures of home and friends and family. You’re going to long for that rice bowl that you can only get back in the states and you’re praying for a cup of good coffee. You’ll sleep, cry, sleep, cry, sleep cry.
Phase 4. Acceptance.
After you’ve cried all the tears- you’ll start to get busy and enjoy things again. This time you’re cautiously enjoying it…because that last fall hurt. But eventually you get back into a groove and the homesickness goes away. Life becomes happy again…so now it’s time to:
Now it’s time to be that Gringo in Paradise. Relax and enjoy this stage. Many people are still in the dreaming stage and never make it this far. Now is the time to build new memories and soak it all up. You did it. And don’t worry- once the honeymoon phase wears off and you have that, “oh no” moment…that too will pass. Stick with it and enjoy every single little things. If you need a break from your fabulous life- vacation back home and see friends and family. You’ll truly be happy to fly back to your paradise!
Safe travels in Paradise!