Debbie and her husband made a life-changing decision: they chose to leave the United States and retire in Nicaragua. Quite  adventure! I asked Debbie how it came about:

Volcano Maderas in the background (photo credit: Debbie Goehring)

My husband and I delivered over 500 lbs. of school supplies to an impoverished school in Nicaragua in 2003. Because of that one little act, our lives were changed forever. We had searched the world for over 15 years looking for a retirement spot that would meet our individual needs. People have always come first, and our quest was over when we met the generous, vivacious, and passionate nicaragüenses.

In 2004, we returned to Ometepe Island, rented a small beach shack in a local community and delved into the mysterious world of cultural immersion. Our grand experiment for a year, which I call ‘pretirement’, answered most of our questions about living abroad.

We returned to the States with the goal to become debt free, take early retirement from our teaching jobs, and move permanently back to Ometepe Island. We had hoped to accomplish our goals in three years, instead it took five years.

I was curious to know how easy (or difficult) it was for them to adapt to a new home in a foreign culture.

Adaptation…ahh…the story of our lives on Ometepe Island. We are challenged daily…the motto I have is “Expect the unexpected.” Without an opportunity to ‘pretire’ for a year on the island, I doubt that we would have been so successful in our adaptations. We returned to the states knowing exactly what we needed and wanted to make a comfortable nest on a small, primitive island, in the middle of an enormous lake, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America.

If I were to list the top three things all expats need to adapt to a multitude of changes they would be: 1. Learn the language of your host country 2. Take a month or possibly a year, to see if this country truly meets your needs before buying a house or land.  3. Be patient, get to know your neighbors, and always live without expectations.

It’s a learning process, take it slow. 🙂

Debbie writes about their experiences and travels, the local culture, retiring abroad and a lot more on her blog Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua. Her posts are clear, informative and well researched. Are you curious to know about the cost of living on Omatepe Island? About Nicaraguan history? Or what daily life is like over there? Then head over to Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua to find the answers and   comprehensive resource list.

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About the author

Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.