Here we are, preparing to leave Maui, Hawaii and spend a year in Central America. Why are we doing this and how did this situation come about? Here's the short version:
Tina and I had been talking about and researching potential early retirement destinations, outside the U.S., for a while. There are a number of reasons we were looking at foreign countries as our target locations. Among them:
Many areas have a much lower cost of living (and almost anyplace has a lower cost of living than Hawaii...). That becomes a very significant factor when you are looking at a potentially long retirement.
We wanted to experience life in another country and culture
We were looking for an adventure
Shortly after we closed our business at the end of 2013, some good friends told us they were looking for a house to rent for 6-9 months, while they were waiting for a house to be built. We came up with the idea of renting them our house, so we could go explore potential retirement destinations for 6-9 months. As it turned out, they found another house to rent (closer to their building site), so that plan went away.
Our on-going research had honed in on several countries in Central America. We found several companies that offer "relocation tours," designed for people who are considering moving to one of the countries, primarily for retirement.
We tentatively planned to take one of these tours, for Costa Rica, sometime in the fall.
My Best Friend, who lives in Pittsburgh, PA, notified us that his upcoming wedding would be held on Aug 23rd. We were absolutely going to be there.
We checked the schedule for the once-a-month Costa Rica relocation tour and found the tour for August just happened to be the week following the wedding in Pittsburgh. Great timing!
I checked out airfares and found that we could save over $1200 by booking a 3-legged trip (vs. two separate trips): Maui -> Pittsburgh -> Costa Rica -> Maui. Bonus!
I booked our airfare and Tina booked the Costa Rica tour.
Just a few days later, our friends (the ones having the house built), contacted us to say the plans for the home building hadn't worked out and they were looking for a house to rent for a year, while they figured things out. They wanted to know if we were still interested in spending time exploring Central America. They had to move out of the current house they were renting when? August, of course. When were we leaving for the wedding and Costa Rica tour? Also August!
Long story a little shorter, we started putting together plans and this time everything fell into place. It was simply meant to be.
This meant we were hitting the "fast forward" button on our plans and would have only a little over a month to get ready for a one-year exploration trip. There is a LOT to do but we're very excited at the opportunity that has been presented to us.
We don't believe this many things falling perfectly into place is just a coincidence. We believe God is opening a door that just wasn't ready to be opened back in January. Looking back, we can clearly see why. But that's another story...
We invite you to come along on our adventure. It will be anything but boring.