My Wife Assured The Guy That What He’s Looking For Doesn’t Exist
“I disagree with you about Ecuador,” a friend told me last night over drinks.
He was referring to my general position, which is more to do with Quito, really, than Ecuador overall. Still, I wouldn’t qualify either Quito or Ecuador as a great place to spend time… and I say that based on experience spending time in both.
My friend and I agreed to disagree about Quito, admitting that we both recognize that every place has its unique set of pluses and minuses and therefore attracts different types of people.
High altitude aside (which, yes, one can acclimatize to), Quito has other negatives for me—including pollution in the main parts of the city and the fact that it is a big, sprawling, dirty place. That’s not interesting to me.
On the other hand, the city is very interesting to my friend. He loved the time he spent in Quito recently—enjoyed the people, the restaurants, the nightlife, etc.
After Quito, we moved on to discuss Medellín, Colombia, which we both like a lot, though not for the same reasons. We both appreciate the climate of this city, the people, and the variety of restaurants. He likes the nightlife… hanging out in the bars chatting up pretty Colombian women. I’m married, and, as my wife was present for the conversation, I assured both my friend and her that that kind of nightlife isn’t important to me.
In Medellín, I more appreciate the outdoor activities, especially every Sunday morning when they make one of the city’s main thoroughfares pedestrian-only so people can walk, bike, skate, and jog.
I also like how pretty and clean Medellín is.
Next, Panama City. Why in the world, my friend wanted to know, are you guys living in Panama City?
Our friend hates Panama City. He recognizes the investment potential of the market here and has invested in real estate in this city, but he doesn’t enjoy being physically present in it.
Why are we here? We’re in Panama to run a business, Kathleen and I explained to our friend. We didn’t choose Panama City for the lifestyle it offers. Panama City wouldn’t make my list of the world’s top 10 lifestyle choices. On the other hand, it’s #1 on my list of best places to do business.
Other parts of Panama offer very different lifestyle choices and can be more appealing places to spend time, especially if you’re in the market for a life at the beach.
Our beach choice in Panama is on the western coast of this country’s Azuero Peninsula. This is where you’ll find (for my money) the best beaches, the best views, and the best overall coastal lifestyle experience not only in Panama but anywhere in the hemisphere.
When we’re in Panama, Kathleen and I spend half our time in Panama City, working from our El Cangrejo office… and the other half out at Los Islotes (from where I write today).
Out here at Los Islotes, yes, sure, we’re working every day as usual. In fact, we work longer days than otherwise, because we’re keeping up with Live and Invest Overseas duties and deadlines while also managing Los Islotes development work on the ground.
But we don’t mind. When the work day ends, we head to the beach for a walk or sit on our balcony overlooking the ocean with rum cocktails. Hard to complain under the circumstances.
We’re all in on Panama, but it’s Paris that’s always been our long-term lifestyle choice… and that hasn’t changed.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been evolving our situation in Paris to incorporate our business agenda. Thanks to the growing number of consultants and writers now working for us from Europe, we’re able to make our time in Paris more productive than ever.
Nowhere competes with Panama City when it comes to running an internet business (like the one we’re running)… and, for us, nowhere competes with Paris when it comes to living well and enjoying life.
Our current situation, dividing our time between the two cities… with regular extended stays out here on the Azuero Sunset Coast… seems hard to beat.
I tried to explain this to my friend…
“So I guess the challenge,” he replied, “would be to find the place that is both a great place to do business and a zero-tax jurisdiction like Panama and also a great place to live like Paris.”
“Doesn’t exist,” my wife replied.
The Perfect Place Doesn't Exist
Which is why our ultimate plan has always been best described as nomadic. Spending time in several places each year is the only way to meet all our lifestyle and business agendas.
This is an increasingly common approach. Our friend from last night splits his time between Central America and Asia, spending half the year in different countries in each of these regions.
Another nomadic approach could be to follow the seasons. This wouldn’t work for my friend, as every place where he wants to spend time is within 5 degrees of latitude of all the others. My long-term plan is more latitude-diverse and includes not only Panama and France but also Colombia and Ireland.
Whatever your philosophical approach and however many countries you include in your rotation, the key to being able to enjoy this kind of nomadic lifestyle is establishing personal infrastructure in each place.
One advantage of being a nomad is that it can save you the time and trouble of having to establish legal residency in any of the countries where you choose to spend time. Breaking up your year over four countries, for example, probably means you won’t have to deal with residency issues in any one of them (as long as the countries aren’t part of a larger group, such as the “Schengen” countries in Europe).
Splitting time between two countries, on the other hand, could mean you need to obtain legal residency in both.
Then you have to consider housing options. Owning homes in four countries can get expensive; it’s also a big administrative pain in the neck that you may prefer to avoid. You could buy a place in one country and rent in the others.
One consulting client is working to organize her retirement to have a base in the United States (she currently lives in Europe) and then to spend up to six months a year in another country each winter, a different other country every year.
The bottom line is that globalizing your life doesn’t have to mean choosing a single particular country of focus. If you like the beach and your spouse likes the mountains, you could spend half the year in Belize and the other half in Medellín, for example. If you like to ski, you could ski year-round, following winter from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern one and back.
Planning is the key. As you work to identify locations for banking, asset protection, and other investment flags, don’t forget the lifestyle flag.
As my friend said last night, the options are so many and so great, why would anyone limit himself to living in just one place?