Friday, 25 October 2013

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing… Mike Lince (Part 1)

In the first of an upcoming series outlining his retired expat adventures, our latest guest blogger, Mike Lince sums up the experience of moving to a new country every six months.

Retired and Moving to a New Country Every Six Months 

I took a page out of my father’s playbook when I decided to retire early. At the age of 61, I also decided my time would be better spent traveling than working. I told my wife, Florence, “I want to travel like you did before we met.”  She said, “Then get a passport!”  And so I did.

Sailing along the Dalmatian Coast on a replica galleon near Dubrovnik, Croatia
Once my passport arrived in the mail, Florence asked me, “Where do you want to go first?”  That was easy.  I had always dreamed of seeing the mountains of Patagonia, so she began putting together the vacation of a lifetime.  It took three months to plan, and we ended up with a four month trip through five countries in Latin America:  Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. The objective was to decide in which country we would prefer to live on my $1,500/month income, and all of these countries were affordable.

Harvesting cacao near Bocas del Toro, Panama
Argentina was not under serious consideration as a living destination. We just wanted to take advantage of the spectacular scenery, and we were not disappointed. From Iguazu Falls in the north to Ushuaia in the south and all of Patagonia and the interior in between, Argentina was stunning in its beauty. 

Igazu Falls from the Argentina side
Even though we found something special in each country we visited, we loved Chile the most.  It was so diverse going from one end of the country to the other that we found many special places we loved – isolated coves along the coast, crystal clear lakes and rivers in the south, eerily desolate but captivating beauty in the Atacama Desert in the north, and towering mountains just about everywhere we looked. I am glad we took six weeks to drive the length of the country and to experience most of Chile. 

Mike at Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile
After our dream vacation we decided to move to Boquete, Panama. Geography played a part in our decision. We anticipated regular trips back to the United States to visit family, and so Panama won out over Chile as our new home. We accomplished our move by downsizing. We sold our house, both cars, and whatever would not fit into a couple of suitcases.  What our families did not want we donated. 

Temples along the Avenue of the Dead - Teotihuacan, Mexico
The notion of living in a different country every six months just kind of happened. We decided a unique way to see the world affordably was to find a base in a new country every six months from which we could venture out to explore.  So we purchased The 6 Monthers web domain and that is how we now live.  
The iconic El Mano sculpture on the beach in Punta del Este, Uruguay
Our current home is in Perth, Scotland, and we plan to move to Alicante, Spain, in January. We have tentatively mapped out the next ten years of countries where we want to live (see our website).  We think in about ten years we will be ready to move back to the United States and settle down… maybe.

About the Author

Mike and Florence met on an Alaska cruise in 2005 and they have been together ever since.  Mike retired in 2011, and that is when their traveling began. They have spent over a year in Latin America.  They have taken a Caribbean cruise, a Mediterranean cruise, and most recently they worked for a month as travel journalists in Croatia.  You can follow their travels on Mike’s blog, Applecore, and view photos on The 6 Monthers.

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