It had always been my dream to retire early and live out my golden years in a tranquil paradise.
And after years of hard work and careful financial planning, I finally reached the point where I could make that dream a reality.
I had a decent nest egg, no significant debts, and my health was still in good shape. It was time to pull the trigger and enjoy the next chapter of my life.
- Quality of Life: South America had always been a region that fascinated me. The warm climate, diverse cultures, and breathtaking landscapes called out to me. I imagined myself living a relaxed and enjoyable life surrounded by lush forests, pristine beaches, and vibrant cities.
- Cost of Living: One of the major factors that convinced me to retire in South America was the significantly lower cost of living. My savings would stretch much further there, and I could afford a comfortable lifestyle without constantly worrying about finances.
- Adventure and Exploration: I relished the idea of embarking on new adventures and exploring a part of the world I had only seen in travel documentaries. From the Amazon rainforest to the Andes mountains, South America offered endless opportunities for exploration.
- Distance from Family: The decision to move to South America would mean being thousands of miles away from my children and grandchildren. Our visits would become infrequent and quite costly, both in terms of time and money.
- Language Barrier: I had some basic knowledge of Spanish, but not enough to carry on meaningful conversations or handle complex situations. The language barrier was a significant hurdle I needed to overcome.
- Healthcare Concerns: South America, while beautiful, did not always have the same level of healthcare infrastructure as I was used to. This raised concerns about medical care in case of emergencies.
I made the announcement to my family and friends, and it was met with a mixed bag of reactions. Some were excited for me, seeing it as an opportunity to live out my dreams and have a new adventure.
Others, especially my children and a few close friends, were taken aback and concerned about my decision.
- Independence: My children acknowledged my independence and admired my courage to venture into the unknown. They recognized that I had worked hard my whole life and deserved to enjoy my retirement as I saw fit.
- Family Visits: Some of my children were intrigued by the idea of having a new vacation spot to visit, and the prospect of a vacation in a beautiful South American location was appealing to them.
- Distance: This was the biggest concern for my children. They worried that my absence would deprive them and my grandchildren of my presence in their lives. They also questioned my ability to provide support in case of emergencies.
- Change: Change can be unsettling, and some of my children were concerned about the cultural and lifestyle adjustments I would have to make in a new country.
- Adventure: Many of my friends saw my decision as the ultimate adventure, something they secretly longed for themselves. They encouraged me to seize the moment and live my dream.
- Inspiration: A few friends mentioned how my decision had inspired them to rethink their own retirement plans and consider more unconventional options.
- Isolation: A couple of close friends were worried about my isolation in a foreign country, fearing that I might become lonely without the support network I had built over the years.
- Language Barrier: My friends who had traveled extensively in South America cautioned me about the language barrier, emphasizing the importance of mastering Spanish for my safety and well-being.
I set out on my journey, leaving behind the familiar and embarking on this new adventure.
I encountered countless challenges and surprises along the way, some of which tested my patience and resolve.
One of the most significant hurdles I faced was the language barrier. While I had taken some Spanish lessons before departing, I quickly realized that my conversational abilities were quite limited.
Simple interactions like ordering food or asking for directions became a daily struggle. I enrolled in a local language school, but progress was slow.
Healthcare in South America proved to be a mixed bag. While the region had advanced medical facilities in major cities, I was residing in a more rural area.
Access to quality healthcare wasn’t as straightforward as I was used to, and I had to plan for longer trips to larger cities in case of medical emergencies.
The isolation I faced was another challenge. I missed the regular interactions with my family and friends, and the lack of a support network in my new home left me feeling somewhat isolated.
Making new friends in a foreign land proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated.
I experienced culture shock as I adjusted to the local customs and way of life.
Some aspects of the South American lifestyle were drastically different from what I was used to, and adapting to these changes took time.
Reflecting on My Decision
As I settled into my new life in South America, I couldn’t help but reflect on the decision I had made.
I questioned whether I had been too selfish in pursuing my dream, potentially leaving my family and friends feeling abandoned and worried about me.
Am I the Asshole?
So, am I the asshole for retiring and moving to South America? It’s a tough question.
On one hand, I feel that I deserve to live out my dreams and experience the adventure of a new life in a beautiful part of the world.
On the other hand, I understand the concerns of my family and friends who worry about my well-being and the distance that now separates us.
The answer likely lies somewhere in the middle. It’s essential to strike a balance between pursuing our own dreams and maintaining connections with the people we care about.
It’s clear that my decision has had both positive and negative impacts, and the ultimate judgment may depend on how I navigate these challenges and continue to support and stay connected with my loved ones.