Can You Retire in Paradise?

Retire Abroad? Have you ever thought of just packing up and moving to paradise, wherever that may be? Of course you have! We all have! At some point in most people’s lives (usually later in life) priorities shift and visions of a better quality of life begin to emerge. And when these thoughts begin to dominate, the focus shifts to retirement. In our minds at least, we all eventually have some perfect destination picked out when we retire. While you may vision some fictitious lush tropical island somewhere, the simple fact is: You want to get there but just can’t do it or live anywhere for free.The good life has always been associated with the Golden Years, or that time of life after retirement from active work. The two most important aspects that pertain to living the good life are becoming harder to find, at least in the Western World – affordable places that are warm and where the cost of living is low.

For many, the idea of retiring to their dream paradise will always be nothing more than a collection of passive thoughts. Just another dream. Helen Keller once said “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision.”

For me - Just what the Dr. Ordered!
For me , it’s just what the Dr. Ordered!

For generations, the world over has always witnessed the immigrant retiree as an adventurer – an occasional settler looking for something new, something better, or just an easier way of life. Recently this trend has gained tremendous momentum, and for wider variety of reasons. Whether it be a home country in decline, or a developing countries expanded opportunities, there are more draws to living abroad today as ever.

All other reasons aside, one of the biggest reasons more people are looking at moving abroad to live is because the world has become much smaller…and because they can! Expanded modern transportation systems and new technologies have made moving half way around the world feel almost like moving to a neighborhood across town. Through technology, the idea of being able to bring part of one’s culture with them and having the ability to communicate freely with loved ones back home are important aspects in making a decision to move such great distances. For example, these days you can enjoy your Starbucks coffee while Skype’ing with loved ones from almost any corner of the world.  Western businesses and influences across the globe have made the world a more familiar place, regardless of where your travels take you.

Living abroad today can be rewarding and very fulfilling experience. For those who do a little advance planning, it can make all the difference – and will find it to be totally achievable. These days in the U.S., many people are working much later and well into what should be their Golden Years, when they should be relaxing and enjoying life to its fullest. Retire and “live like a “king” is the way some people envision (or dream it). Can you picture your life filled with friendly caring people, palm trees, blue lagoons, beautiful beaches and warm tropical weather – all without paying an arm and a leg for it?  How about 40% less!  Well, it’s very attainable to anyone who has the determination to look in the right places, and it’s not so third world anymore!

Have you ever thought about the Philippines?

Sulpan Cave, San Jorge, Samar
Sulpan Cave, San Jorge, Samar

Samar Island in the Philippines is the location where my wife and I have chosen to settle in our early retirement. While there are many other places where you can achieve the same low-cost objective, our advantage is that the Philippines is my wife’s home country. Here, English is widely spoken and my dollar goes much farther while still offering me many familiar western conveniences like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Shakey’s, Ace Hardware, Western Union, 7-11, Taco Bell, Anytime Fitness, Home Depot, Dairy Queen, Midas, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken and many other well know chain store operators. And let’s not forget Dunkin Donuts!  A caring culture with caring people and modern conveniences…all at a discount. (Disclaimer: Not all these western franchise operators are located in all areas.)

Riding the White Water
Riding the White Water


Within these pages, I explain the why’s, how’s, and when’s that all relate to My Enchantment and the decision to relocate to and live on Samar Island. On this website I also chronicle the planning, execution, and our eventual arrival to Samar province. The third largest Island in the Philippine archipelago, Samar offers an abundance of unspoiled natural beauty, beaches, waterfalls and caves, diving, snorkeling, and many other outdoor activities. There are as many choices of places to live today as there are different reasons for choosing a certain location.  Desired locations will be different for everyone. But if you are looking for something a little more exotic and serene and less congested, then you should consider putting Samar Island on your list of places to visit. Or, if you already live in the Philippines, plan a trek on over to the Eastern Visayas.  It’s easier to get here than you think – by air from Manila, Ferry from Cebu, or by bus or road transport from most any other direction.

My Future Includes Many Naps!
My Future Includes Many Naps!

If you are serious about looking at the Philippines as a retirement destination, there is much you should know. The first thing you should do is completely research your idea. There is a lot to know…from getting here to dating and marriage…customs, cultures, traveling throughout the islands to buying real estate*.

Whether you are looking to simply survive or to retire comfortably, there are plenty of first hand resources and publications available online that provide some great advice and guidance. There are many Philippine blogs available online that can provide answers to many frequently asked questions. The Philippines is unlike any other country and there can be many details that will make a huge difference in the success of your life in Paradise.Online – It’s the best place to start.

*(At this time, foreigners are restricted from ownership of land or homes in the Philippines, unless purchased in the spouses name. Foreigners can however own condominiums.)