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Should be Required Reading Before Retiring Abroad
on December 22, 2009
Golson's book should be required reading for anyone considering retiring to a foreign country.
Essentially, the book is divided into three sections. The first deals with all the thorny issues (Why you might/might not consider moving, medical, housing, costs, and most importantly, your personal temperament) that should be taken into consideration if you are planning on becoming an ex-pat. The second and third sections are an in-depth look at the details of living in selected foreign countries. Section two deals with Latin American countries such as Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua and so forth. The third section is devoted to Europe with old stand-bys like France and Italy, but includes places one might not have considered such as Croatia.
In the two sections dealing with individual countries the details are not just the usual "let me describe the county, climate and people" treatment. An author who actually has lived in/is living in that country writes about each country. Therefore, each author is able to speak knowledgeably concerning culture, customs, living standards, government and bureaucracy, housing, cost of living, etc.
After the reader is lead through the facts of what they can expect in a specific country, they are then given an intimate view into actual life there through interviews with ex-pats currently living in country. These interviews are candid, giving the reader not only insight into the country, but into the psyche of Americans being interviewed. Golson does not attempt to censor his interviewees. What he does do is give numerous viewpoints from people who have varying perspectives/outlooks on their lives, their reasons for retiring abroad, their likes/dislikes about their "home," the people, culture, customs, and how they are managing in their new country, to name a few. In other words, these are personal "opinions," and should be taken as such. Learn to accept that if a person wants to rile against life, politics, or the number of dogs and cats in the U.S or another country, that it is "just their opinion." Forget being offended and move on because Golson has done what many writers of books concerning living in a foreign country have failed to do...giving the reader several unvarnished views, represented by a balance between good, bad and sometimes ambivalence. For instance, one couple he interviewed in Italy is struggling financially, but consider their life there as, "a dream come true." While another woman, from a couple who were also interviewed about Italy, will have the reader scratching their head wondering how anyone could be so naive as to think because she is of Italian descent, she would just naturally fit into a foreign country that speaks a different language, has a totally different culture, customs and history. Is it any wonder she is disillusioned and disparaging?
Having once lived for several years in Europe, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever considered retiring/moving/taking an extended stay outside the United States. If nothing else, it will get the reader to begin considering all aspects of a life in a foreign country, not just the picture-perfect-ones presented in most books dealing with living abroad.