It is still difficult to believe we are here.
Only one small hurdle stands between us and our (read “my”) 5-year plan to retire and live in Europe. I am grateful to have a significant other who is willing to indulge me my dream. We have gathered and submitted all the paperwork for the residence visa (which was a long-term project in itself). The only remaining hurdle is to actually get the visa in our hands.
Then, the “getting there” will have been accomplished and a whole new set of challenges will begin. Not the least of which will be learning a new language, cultivating a community of friends and assimilating to a new and largely foreign culture.
Getting here has been a long and difficult journey. But it feels as though my entire life has led me to this moment.
The seed was planted when I was fortunate enough to spend most of my formative years (under the age of 11) living in Europe… four years in London and four in Iceland. these experiences gave me a glimpse into European culture, values and a world view apart from many of my peers.
The desire to ultimately get back to Europe and live long term was like a spark in me that had always been there. I thought that by taking extended trips to Europe, I would satisfy my craving. The fire was only stoked to a full roar. Vacations to Europe quickly turned into extended trips to really get the feel of a place. I began listening to expat podcasts… stories of people who had left behind traditional careers and moved abroad to live happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives often far less expensive than their lives back home in Australia, Canada, UK or the US.
And then one day it hit me. I can do this.
Instead of letting my over-analytical, fearful-of-the-unknown brain take-over and hijack my life… instead of focusing on all the reasons why we could NOT retire and live abroad, I decided to focus on all the reasons we could or should.
So, I set a plan. What are the things that needed to happen to make this a reality? Among those things were financial security, an adventurous spirit and a willingness to try, fail, learn and try again. It helped greatly that I have always been:
- fiscally conservative
- held a long-term view of life
- doggedly strong-willed and determined when I set my mind to something, and
- have an optimistic general outlook, but a defensive planning strategy
Standing on the verge of such a life-changing event is a bit unnerving, but also completely exhilarating. For as far as I know we have come. This is just the beginning. I know there will be significant and unforeseen challenges ahead, but I am up for the adventure.
Life was meant to be lived. And I, for one, am going to live it on my terms.
In the coming weeks, I should have more time to devote to writing here. If you are interested in the logistics of how I made this happen, just hit Follow and enter your email address. If you have questions, I am happy to do my best to answer them. If you have family or friends who you think would be inspired by these stories, please share the blog.
Until then, thanks for reading!