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Would you live in Europe?

I sometimes read with envy those of you who have packed up and moved somewhere overseas, living somewhere with a view of the Mediterranean coast with no snow in the forecast…ever. Maybe there is snow but living the dream in Paris, or how about a villa in Tuscany. But I wonder how many of us would really move. Personally, I have trouble seeing beyond a 30-60-day trip once I’m retired. I’m a creature of habit; I like my food, my TV shows, and my sports teams, not to mention my kids and future grandkids. Adjusting my creature habits temporarily for travel is one thing, but permanently? I can’t see it. Throwing out the logistical arguments such as money, do you dream of a permanent move, or are visits to Europe more your style?

Posted by
20833 posts

I could fantasize living in Europe but grandchildren, granddogs, minor medical concerns, etc., just says it is not practical. We considered two or three months but that has some draw back. Maybe if we had retired at 60 but approaching 80 suggests that it is probably not our best idea. Stick to travel when can.

Posted by
1480 posts

No, because my wife wouldn't. Too many family members that she wouldn't want to be separated from for extended periods, which we already did living in Germany for 8 years. She paid her dues.

At this point in my life I'm with Allan on this one.

Now, renting a house for a month sounds appealing.

Posted by
67 posts

I am on the fence on this, but I think I could live somewhere for 1-2 years. I would pick Italy or Portugal, because I love the people and food in both. I'm not sure if I would want to stay longer than 2 years because we're not getting any younger (possible future health issues) and possible future grandchildren. It is something I daydream about, but I have not taken any serious steps to do this.

Posted by
3342 posts

I think the only place I have wanted to live (so far) is Italy. But then the practical side kicks in. Just trying to buy a house would most likely do me in....all that paperwork, graft, slowness,...it doesn't have a good reputation. I guess I could rent and move around, but I haven't rented since...well, the last time we lived out of country...on the military bill in the US 30 years ago. My kids don't live in my town and are so busy that we don't see each other often even now. Maybe once I retire, but as a working woman of a certain age, those weekend jaunts to Toronto are rather fatiguing as it is over 4 hours each way whether driving or on the train. I expect they would be quite happy to come visit me in Tuscany or I'll budget in trips home.

Also, I have no idea of the reception of an older independent, introverted single woman who doesn't speak the language (yet) and doesn't have the 'history' that would start conversations and relationships in the neighbourhoods. I don't even have Italian roots. Loneliness could be the result.

I am realistic enough to know that the rosy glasses could fall off quickly and pretty soon as an aging person, familiar medical care, family and personal 'things' will draw me back to Canada. Even trying it for a year or two means needing to unload stuff, store it, rent our or sell the house and then you are dealing with houses in 2 locations. I would also have to reinvent some of my creative hobbies to something that didn't require the space quilting requires ;-) (I know, paints or pencil crayons)
I still dream about it - watching 'Escape to The Country' doesn't help - whether Italy or parts unknown - but actually happening; I think are slim.

I'll stick to my plan of escaping Ottawa winters for 2 - 4 months as long as my health holds out - or I can afford the insurance.

Posted by
6390 posts

I would in retirement (that's a few decades away for me) since all my family lives there. I could also see myself retiring someplace else too like Mexico or Ecuador or wherever I can stretch my funds and know the language. It really depends what's going on in my life then, way too early to tell. I don't have as many constraints as others - no kids or grandkids and only one parent living in the US. But I can comfortably rule out buying a 1 Euro "shell" in Italy to fix up, that's for sure! That's a fun project maybe now or 10 years ago, but not when I'm old(er).

Posted by
6163 posts

Absolutely! In a heartbeat (as someone else stated). All I need is the funds and I'm ready to go. My kids are 50+ and I have no grandchildren. Sure I'd miss my sibs, cousins, and friends but I wouldn't move there if I didn't have the resources to fly back to the US a couple of times a year.

Posted by
2660 posts

Absolutely. We lived in Germany for 3 years and would love to go back for a few more years. Not for the rest of our lives, but certainly for a few. Our kids are grown and love to travel, so I know we would have visits from them. We speak enough if the language to get by, and that would improve over time. And we would rent rather than buy a house or apartment.

Posted by
3415 posts

My husband likes to think that he'd love to move to Scotland. But I really don't think he would. he's too comfortable and set in his ways. Plus our kids and grandkids..... But he periodically starts to talk about it.

Posted by
6390 posts

@BigMike - no, not really...it's just that the retirement age will probably be 70+ when it's time for me, it keeps inching up...😂
There is no such thing as pensions for my cohort unless you work in a government setting (local, state or federal), and even those have blended retirement plans that have a 401k "like" component to them

Posted by
262 posts

We would. For us it would most likely be Italy, Germany, Scotland or Ireland. Or, the big island Hawaii (I know not Europe) My BIL just retired to Ecuador claiming that the cost of living is cheap. The drawbacks are the distance and the cost to get there for family and friends. Like others, I would miss the grandkids and I guess our children also. So perhaps a year or 2 at the most. The cost is something that would need overcoming. We would prefer to stay out of the bigger cities which may or may not help with the cost.

Posted by
2865 posts

If it wasn’t for my granddaughter and figuring out what to do with the house, I wouldn’t mind living overseas again for a few years, but not permanently.

Posted by
761 posts

We would ….. but our two Bernese Mountain Dogs keep us grounded. I figured it would cost us about $11,000 one way to move them. If they were younger I might consider it. For me it would France. We even checked into New Zealand. Maybe in 4 years.

Posted by
4496 posts

We love traveling and visiting the World. Europe is great and we have visited 3/4 of the countries in Europe.

Also, we lived in Germany for four years, working for the US Army. We loved living there. We had the benefits of the American Community with the inexpensive Commissary (groceries) and PX (shopping) as well as living in Germany.

Living in Europe now, would be different. We would be totally on the economy with everything more expensive.

Also, we would be away from our children and grandchildren. Further, I would miss the College Football as well as the other things that I love about living in the USA. We live on coastal Georgia near the beach and our winters are very mild. We pay low taxes and live is good.

We can still fly to Europe, or Asia, South America, Australia, or Africa like we are doing now. No, we don't want to live in Europe.

Posted by
109 posts

Would love it. But now that our first grandchild has arrived I can't imagine being gone more then 2 months at a time. You blink and they are walking. Definitely Italy would be our choice. Love the food, people and beauty of the land. And my husband is Italian.

Posted by
444 posts

Like Donna I would except for the dog, in our case the Coonhound. There is no way he would survive any sort of trans-Atlantic trip. Folks in the cabin would probably hear him howling from the cargo bay. Or he'd be the escaped dog running around the runways disrupting flights for 4 hours.

Posted by
336 posts

For me, I don't think it would be realistic to move permanently, but I'd like to spend at least 2 months per year in one country or another. My first choice would be Italy, but I'm interested in several other countries, too. I'm retiring later this year, and hope to put this plan in place by 2022! Fun question to consider and read everyone's answers....

Posted by
5709 posts

I would miss the grandkids and I guess our children also.

Hahahaha, yes, every offspring knows he/she is second-best once grandkids are on the scene !!!

Posted by
5 posts

From 2002 to 2010 we diligently strived to set a plan to purchase a home in the area of Valencia, Spain with the intent of obtaining a residency (via 500 euro purchase program). Then "life happened" and our circumstances changed along with setting aside the goal of purchasing a home in Spain. We are the better for exploring the opportunities and peeled so many layers of new learning on how to enjoy visiting Europe. Today we are satisfied with 30 day visits and love being agile with destination planning. Our next objective is to achieve 90 day visits with a blend of destinations lasting 30 to 45 days before changing the location. A couple of tips for consideration:
1) we seek to subscribe to newspapers, blogs and other forms of media for the destinations we desire to visit. There is a wealth of information to be gleamed by reading locale media.
2) we carry few clothes with us and make purchases at second hand shops (which we learned about from local media) in order to meet our needs. At the end of the trip we donate 90% of our purchases back for others to benefit.
3) Well known tourist destinations represent the tip of the ice berg for experiencing travel so we invest in striving to listen to recommendations of locales for what they value for being worth the visit.
Safe travels!

Posted by
1157 posts

If I'm throwing out the logistics, certainly! We frequently talk about this fantasy, although DH is more stuck on moving to Grand Cayman. He's done shoveling. I say since its a fantasy anyway, we will also have a place in France and a place in Italy and rotate between the three.

We don't have children to hold us here. Actually there's almost nothing to hold us here.

Unfortunately our budget would never allow such a move so I must content myself with a few weeks most years.

Edit to add - we have one aspect sorted. DH is a citizen of Portugal.

Posted by
107 posts

I buy Lotto tickets just in the hopes of winning enough to buy a house as part of Portugal’s golden visa program. My kids are still school age, so in my day dreams, they come too. Then, in a heartbeat. Because of the visa program, Portugal/Lisbon would be our most likely destination. But, if money were not an issue, I’d love Ireland. I did a study abroad there in college and am in love to this day. Would also happily settle in Rome. Who am I kidding? I would most happily settle in most places in Europe.

Posted by
811 posts

In a minute...and first choice would be Padova.

And, I'm sure my kids/grandkids would be happy to have a place to stay when they visit :-)

Posted by
33 posts

My wife and I took our bucket list trip in 2019. Three-plus weeks in Oslo, Berlin, Black Forest and a Viking River Cruise on the Danube. Unfortunately we came back to New Jersey and while I love my home state I fell in love with Germany. We could easily become accustomed to life in Berlin or Freiburg. Planning on returning - even just for a few weeks - in 2023. Thanks for the OP and a chance to dream a little!

Posted by
3785 posts

I’ve considered it many times, but just briefly, as there have always been too many complications thus far. Both Nice and Lyon, France are highly desirable, for several reasons.

But the main requirements, wherever I am, is that our cats can be with us, and skiing is pretty accessible.

Posted by
31137 posts

I've thought about living in Europe a couple of times and wondered what that would be like. Italy would probably be my first choice. However I quickly came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be realistic or a good choice for me, for a number of reasons.....

  • I'd be totally alone in a foreign country, thousands of kM from family and friends and most importantly from my grandchildren. I can't imagine not being able to see them on a regular basis.
  • I'm not fully fluent in the language so getting through the bureaucracy to obtain a resident permit, buy or rent a house, set up utilities, etc. would be extremely difficult.
  • Medical insurance for someone my age would likely be expensive, so it would be cheaper and easier to stay here, close to my usual doctors, dentists and other health professionals. Now that I'm older and some health problems are starting to be an issue, this is an important consideration.
  • Some government benefits that I'm getting now may not be available if living overseas.
  • I'd have to establish a new "business presence" in the foreign country, with bank accounts for deposit of my pension cheques, etc.
  • I would likely have to divest myself of any possessions here, including my house and vehicle. One of my former colleagues moved to Mexico after retirement and that was the procedure he had to follow.

This would probably be somewhat easy for some people to do, but circumstances can vary considerably. I've learned from my travels over the years that two months is about my limit. At that point I'm ready to come home and back to the familiar surroundings that I enjoy, such as my own bed, usual surroundings, hobbies, TV shows & other entertainment, family and friends, etc. Travel and seeing other countries and cultures is wonderful, but for me there's no place like home.

Posted by
1699 posts

I moved to England - sight unseen - and lived there twice, for about 3 years total. I really loved it and especially loved traveling from there. But i knew I would never stay. When I made the decision to return to the US, I was ready to "get back to normal."

Now I think about living in Italy. I speak the language. I have family there. And I can obtain citizenship. I'm confident that I would love it for a few years. And then I'd be ready to "get back to normal."

And I do like where I live.

So I think my ideal will be to go back and forth and enjoy the best of both.

Posted by
4175 posts

I am British, but when the Brexit vote happened, we did look into relocating somewhere in the Schengen zone, so that we wouldn’t be limited to a 90 in 180 day stay, but we haven’t. One reason was elderly parents. The other main reason is that the tax system is much more favourable to us in the U.K. than in many other parts of Europe.

We wouldn’t want to move somewhere and be pesky foreigners that expect everybody to speak English. That’s just rude. We have a school level grip of French, but no other languages, save for saying hello and ordering coffee etc in several languages. A school friend who is fluent in French has moved to rural France - she said the red tape to get anything official done is a nightmare. She chose France over Italy due to the red tape!

The weather in most of Europe isn’t great between December and late February, so we have considered a holiday home in the Canary Islands where the weather is better - Fuerteventura, but Brexit has put a stop to any such ideas.

Portugal would be my country of choice in mainland Europe, due to its food, people and climate, but the language and its heavy regional variations is difficult to pick up.

My brother moved to Western Australia 15 years ago. There was obviously no language barrier and the climate is much better than here, but it’s not for me from what I have seen of it. The landscape is too monotonous and the cost of living is high compared to the U.K.

Posted by
119 posts

We go back and forth on this topic. I lived in Germany for a year, my husband a total of 5 before he retired from the Army. Our current concern is our (almost) 2 year old. He adores his grandparents and I would hate to take him away from them. While they both are retired, my dad has a terrible fear of flying so I doubt they’d visit. We have talked of packing our house up and traveling for a year or two or trying for a GS job but again, his grandparents aren’t getting any younger. My fondest memories growing up were with my Mamaw, Papaw and Nonnina, I want the same for him.
Amanda

Posted by
3858 posts

I'd love to do 6 and 6 - 6 mos home and 6 mos in Europe - somewhere warm over the cool months (Nov-Apr). We have no kids, only my mom left and as long as I had a safe way to get my dog back and forth - but I love my province and country as well and couldn't see leaving it forever.

We are so lucky at 55 (hubs) and 47 (me) that we are retired - might be something I look into in a few years.

Posted by
4898 posts

For us, it is just the stuff of fantasy. As others have mentioned, too many connections (kids, grandkids, my wife's parents are getting up there in age), and to be honest, thankful I have those connections, not to mentions hobbies I am picking up again now that I am retired, that do not travel well.

We have certainly talked of looking into extended trips, a couple months in a location, doing that 2-3 times a year would, for us, be enough.

Posted by
1473 posts

I love where I live and the only reason I can think of to make a permanent move would be for the weather. Those thoughts come on occasions like a couple of weeks ago when we got a 40cm (16") dump of snow. But even then, when I list my priorities I suspect the only foreign country that really appeals to me would be the U.S. I'm in love with Southern California, but as Maria had mentioned in her comment that wherever you go it may not take long for the rose coloured glasses to come off; I can't imagine a daily commute there, plus home costs, plus taxes. My life is good, and 30-60 day trips to other lands seems about perfect.

Posted by
420 posts

I did live in Europe for 13 years and still spend 4-6 months there now. Very prescient commentary on this thread. It was hard to adjust, the rose colored glasses had to come off because it wasn’t leisure anymore. Had to go to work, pay bills, put out the trash, buy groceries all under the eyes of curious but understanding locals. Family issues in America had to be dealt with and that was a big drawback being in Europe.

As a family we were out of America for up to 3 years w/o any visits back. I knew other Americans that were unhappy with their lot in life in Europe but for my family and I, we were “home”. Both my adult children claim a city over in Europe as a “hometown” even now.

We own a property now in France. Our neighbors after a long period welcome us with open arms and we participate in much of village life to a great degree. It’s still work and adjustment but the rewards are wonderful,

Meanwhile I still live and work part time in America and enjoy it. I am lucky beyond belief living in two worlds. So yes I moved to Europe but continue now living in a twilight between two “worlds”.

Great thread with lots of thoughtful perspectives.

Posted by
878 posts

I have lived in France but it was a year-long position. I wish I could find a way to do so again,

Posted by
2669 posts

We’ve talked about this a lot over the years and think we’d be very comfortable living in several European countries. We were also fortunate to live in Germany for 7 months a long time ago and have a basic level of German. The main thing that keeps us from making this move is our family here and our desire to be with them. We are content to spend a month or two in Europe every year and always come back to them.

Posted by
5370 posts

Yes. But its too late - life gets in the way. If I knew then what I know now, I would have made it a goal when I was young and single.

Posted by
2134 posts

As a life-long Anglophile I could absolutely see myself living in England--not necessarily London as there are other areas that appeal--right now I need to be here for my parents, but as I am child-free I would at some point no longer have anything keeping me in the US.

Posted by
4159 posts

I already do.

13+ years in Vienna
1 year in France

As of today, I might consider returning to the US.

Posted by
1751 posts

When I first married my husband in 1981 he was a merchant marine and lived in then Yugoslavia. I lived with him and his parents in a fifth floor walk up in Rijeka. We talked then about staying and living there but it wasn’t feasible. He would be out on the ship for a minimum of 6 weeks (container ship) at a time, and sometimes only home for 3-5 days. His uncle was a sea captain and his aunt told me it was a very lonely life. I would not have been able to get a job very easily, if at all. I was learning the language but to read and write, especially the Cyrillic alphabet, would have taken a lot longer, if ever. After about 8 months his father got a transfer back to NY so home we went. And in 1981 very, very few people spoke English, of any age. Everyone learned Italian - Croatians, German - Slovenians, or Russian - Serbs. I have not regretted our choice. I was fortunate to have sailed with him for a 2 week trip and he changed jobs when we arrived in NY. We still have that same fifth floor walk up, by the beach, and hopefully will be able to enjoy it a month or two, twice a year. My husband has dual citizenship and we will research my getting a visa. Also, we too would miss our children, grandchildren, family - I have 7 siblings with their families - friends, routine, my house, etc. Heck, I live only 18 blocks from where I grew up. If I can’t even leave my neighborhood, how could I leave my country.

Posted by
2099 posts

It certainly has enormous appeal. I used to fantasize about it in my 50s when my husband worked for a Swedish and then a German company. Of course it would have been very difficult for me to leave my kids and job, but it was fun to think about. Now that I have granddaughters that live in my hometown - NOT A CHANCE!

Posted by
6477 posts

No, I have enough freedom now to visit Europe in leisure currently about a month maximum. There is no place like the local culture at home in my neighborhood near the University of Chicago. I would not want to have to watch my local sports teams live at an odd hour.

Posted by
4898 posts

I find some of the responses from those who have, or still do live in Europe as American Citizens (or ex-pats in general of whatever Country). There are threads of, as with living anywhere, that the grass is indeed not always greener.

Having moved around as a child (military brat) I am grateful for the experiences, but also recall many drawbacks, maybe why my view of pulling up and relocating is maybe based in harsh reality. It is important, to those considering it, to realize that living in an area is not like visiting. The constant stimulation of travelling soon dulls to the day to day toll of everyday existence. Certainly there are moments and experiences, but all is not sunny "Under the Tuscan Sun".

Posted by
425 posts

I think there are many locations I could be happy living in Europe.
The south of France, The Italian Coast, many places in Germany and my favorite City in the world, London (to most folks in the US England is part of Europe sorry to those from GB that think differently)
But I have a few issues.
I don’t speak a foreign language and I don’t think that you should liver permanently in an area and expect someone to accommodate your language. It is possible that if I immersed into the language I could learn it. I did that with A month in Germany as a kid and was doing pretty well at the end but lost it after years of not speaking it. But I know I have a very hard time trying to learn a language in a classroom setting.
The other issue is financial. I would want to live in one of these dream type things that I can’t afford. And if I could afford it (say hitting one of those huge lotteries we have going right now). Then I am not sure if I would want to liver there. I could just buy a vacation place or rent one and fly over at the drop of a hat paying walk up first class rates.
Culturally I think I could very easily adapt to a more European style of dinning and living. Some of my favorite moments on my trips are the times when I just sat back and faded into the environment.
I had one dinner in Avignon, we just picked a place that looked interesting. We seamed yo be the only tourists. We had a relaxing dinner (nothing fancy as I can’t recall what we ate), but we sat in among the locals who were watching a soccer match that seamed to mean something to them. A few folks around us picked up that we were tourists (speaking English) so the charted a bit with us in English. But mostly about local stuff, the game weather etc with only a few polite questions about the US. It w as very nice and very relaxing. I could grow to love that way of living.
I work for an Italian designer a lot (he is from Italy but has been in the US for 50 years or more) and they have a more relaxed view. With someone bringing in food (often home cooked) at lunchtime or stopping early to have Wine to celebrate something... And they value family very highly.
it is very different from the typical American raised designers that are go go go. Business buisness business mind set.

So I think I would like living in Europe if I could But I am afraid that financially it is a pipe dream for me.

That being said if an opening shows up for a designer in London paying enough to actually LIVE in London and I would jump at it.
Oddly enough I have worked on a number of buildings in Europe but I have never set foot in any of them....

That being said you can often find locations pretty much anywhere in the world that would be nice to live. I can show you some views in Michigan that are amazing. So it is just finding the place you love that you can afford.

Posted by
24386 posts

to most folks in the US England is part of Europe sorry to those from GB that think differently)

That is because it is. Like Canada is part of North America with its cousin to the south.

The UK, Ireland and Iceland are all part of the continent of Europe. The UK is not in the EU, which is a subset of Europe.

Posted by
2593 posts

When younger, I used to think about what it would be like to live overseas, but when push came to shove, I had too many reasons to stay in this country. It is my country and I feel I'm needed here, but a little less today (phew). LOL. I am very much a New Englander, have large hobbies, children/grandchildren and my dearest friends. So, no, I don't see it unless I become very old and my daughter returns to the UK with her husband. At some point in the future, I've given my daughter permission to make me live where ever it is easiest for her. That being said, if my daughter and son in law move back to the UK, I think a pied-à-terre would be nice.

At this point, I'd rather explore various places than live in just one more place in the world.

Posted by
425 posts

Yes I know it is physically part of Europe, but I also know that more then once someone has had an issue with that.

Posted by
1699 posts

At this point, I'd rather explore various places than live in just one more place in the world.

Wray, you've hit exactly on one of my hesitancies. I know that when I travel, I fall in love with (nearly) every place and immediately want to live there. And then I arrive in the next place and I want to live there. Just as you said, I want to continue to explore.

And then I dream about how much easier that would be without the 11 hour (from the US West Coast) flight! It was so nice, when I lived in England, to arrive in Paris or Florence or Athens in the time it would take to get to LA or Denver or Chicago. Of course, I could move to the East Coast to shorten that up a bit.

Posted by
1473 posts

I fall in love with (nearly) every place and immediately want to live
there.

I know how you feel;

On my visit to Rome in 2014, "Wow, I'd love to live here, it can't get better than this."

On my visit to Venice in 2017, "Wow, I'd love to live here, it can't get better than this."

On my visit to London in 2018, "Wow, I'd love to live here, it can't get better than this."

On my visit to Nice in 2019, "Wow, I'd love to live here, it can't get better than this."

Posted by
794 posts

After daydreaming about moving to Italy for a number of years, and diligently learning the language, I got serious about it when some family issues put me into early retirement and I needed a big change of scenery. My husband was game, my daughter applied to European master's programs, and away we went. And here we are. We snuck out of Calgary in one of the only few weeks in 2020 when it was actually possible to travel. Not the very best timing, but we are surprisingly happy. We love our town and our house, which is a good thing since we can't go far afield. We are having some cosmetic house renos done, by only two people who come into the house. We all wear masks and keep our distance. There are enough food stores in town to keep us supplied. Sure, it's a bit limiting that the restaurants are closed and we can't leave Abruzzo. People in town are friendly but of course can't invite us home to get acquainted in these times. But that will change.

Why move far afield? Well, I wanted new challenges, something new to do in retirement. Turns out Italian language classes don't really teach the vocabulary for buying winter tires or new kitchens, but Google Translate helps me out every day. Figuring out how to do things in a new country and a new language is very stimulating and a lot of fun. I don't have the same schedule to keep as when I was working and raising kids, so if the post office is closed when I go, I just try again the next day.

This was always my retirement dream - not to travel from sight to sight, but to really settle into a different way of living. It is my dream, but my husband is very happy here too. He takes the dog out for long walks daily and tags along when I have a new challenge to master. I lived abroad as a child for a few years due to my parents' adventures, then sent my daughter abroad for a gap year, and couldn't wait to do it for myself.

Is it forever? We have no current end date in mind. We sold the house, assuming there would always be houses available when/if we return, and bought a house we really love in a small mountain town in Abruzzo. I don't want to manage life in two countries at once; Canada will still be there if we change our minds when we are older. We brought our favourite things with us (too many) and keep in touch by FaceTime and WhatsApp with family and friends.

(I do have a friend who took her sewing machine and a whole wall of quilting fabric with her when she moved to Germany. They came back seven years later when grandchildren arrived, but really enjoyed their adventures and their hobbies during that time.)

EDIT: I just want to add that the difficulties have really not been overwhelmingly difficult. We found the right house/right town/honest realtor without any trouble - we had worked through about half of my internet-derived short list when this one appeared during our in-person house search and was clearly right for all of us. The visa and residency stuff hasn't been hard to obtain, but I was well-prepared before starting the process. Finding a good doctor was easy. My Italian level is upper intermediate, so I understand most of what is said to me, people will repeat when I ask them to, and I can get my meaning across most of the time, not always with ease but well enough. IMO, it's just a matter of wanting it enough to do the prep. Also costs have been lower; the house cost 1/4 of what our Calgary house sold for, and it was a modern, good-sized house with no need for any structural work. (But who wants a baby blue kitchen, it had to go :)

Posted by
232 posts

In a heartbeat, although our idea is different from most peoples. We would love to be able to move to Iceland. We have been talking about it more and more, so who knows:) We are not worried about our kids, as they would come visit in a heartbeat too.

Posted by
4287 posts

I would consider it, at least part time. Stan and I did live in Poland for three years in the early 80s, and loved it. I will say, though, that living in a foreign culture and language is exhausting. My job provided an apartment and a salary, but we were on our own for everything else.

Nelly commented on vocabulary you don't learn in language classes. I can relate to that! Not only vocabulary, but where you go to find things. We loved our apartment, but the kitchen utensils consisted of a one-liter enamel pot, and a spoon. (Evidently the previous tenant cleaned the place out.) It took months to find dishes, cutlery, more pans, silverware, cups, teapot... And while I could say "plate" and "fork," it took some work to figure out what we needed, where to find it, and how to ask for it.

Shopping for food was also an adventure, especially since we were there during an economic crisis, when most foodstuffs were extremely limited. As in, walking into the local grocery store and finding shelves full of pickled pumpkin, and if you went early enough, bread. That's it. (True story.) And we were there when rationing of meats, sugar, and grains went into effect, if you could find them.

And I don't know how many shopping etiquette rules I broke. People in our neighborhood were very patient with me, but more than once I saw the clerks in our local store look at each other with a "here we go again" look when I walked in.

But it was a wonderful experience, and I'm glad we had that opportunity.

And now? We have recently found ourselves in an unusual situation: there's nothing holding us here. No kids, our parents are gone. Although we are in mourning now, the glimmer of light on the horizon is, as Stan said last night, if we're traveling this summer and want to stay gone another month, we can.

So moving part time to Europe is not out of the question. I speak better French, Italian, and Spanish now than I did Polish when we first moved there, so while life would still be challenging, it would be a little easier. And there's always Poland again...

Posted by
971 posts

Thank you Nelly for inspiration for this middle-aged person fantasizing about just what you describe

Posted by
820 posts

Permanent move? No. For a year or two? Yes.

Like others who lived outside the U.S. when younger, I lived in Japan (not military) for 8 years, 30 years ago. It wasn’t always easy but it truly was priceless. We had a good support system with a university employer and a church help with the hard things. But daily life was a challenge, a struggle sometimes, and also incredible. Ha! I still love those years (and my oldest two children were born there) but when we moved back to the U.S., I knew I wanted the feeling of a permanent place to call home and that hasn’t changed. At this stage of life, I have grown children, no grandchildren, only one elderly parent, and am in good health. So I could do it if I decided I wanted to.

What I already knew (having one child who spent 2 years in Japan and one who is now in her third year of international living) but what this pandemic has reinforced is that I can still maintain close contact with all of them - and my friends - via online resources. However for myself, I would be more likely to spend a lengthy amount of time seeing new and different places at a slower pace, as opposed to actually moving somewhere.

Posted by
1473 posts

We would love to be able to move to Iceland.

Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but whenever I dream of a big move, weather is always a significant motivator. I can't imagine a move to Iceland would be weather motivated, and the Pacific NW has beautiful scenery, so why Iceland?

Posted by
715 posts

When I first started traveling to Europe twenty years ago I was so in love with it I started planning moving there when I retired. By the time retirement got closer (about 5 years ago) I didn't really want to move (buy a house) anymore but was planning on renting places for a month or two at a time, a couple times a year (so no need for visa, etc.). Well I just retired (into a pandemic - so that I could travel more - not exactly working out for me yet). But now I'm not even planning trips where we rent for a month or so at a time. The two trips that got canceled in 2020 were both 'regular' trips where we move about every week/few days. And that's what I'm planning for at least the next several trips once we can start traveling again.

Part of it is (as some one above said) every place I go I love so can't decide on any one country let alone one town/area to stay put it . I want to be everywhere. I've done 33 European trips, the last decade I've been able to spend almost two months a year - split into a two week and a 5-6 week trip (I had summers off). I'd like to extend that to two ( or even 3) trips of 5-6 weeks. And maybe spend at least a week or two in each place, but the 'staying put' idea of renting a place for a couple of months just doesn't appeal to me now that (once the pandemic is over) I am in a position to actually do it. And that's beside all the things everyone else has said about kids, dogs, liking your present home, insurance, etc.

Posted by
11739 posts

Live as in stay there until death? No.

Live as in max out the Schengen non-visa period each year? Quite possibly.

Stay in one place? Yes, and no. I bought an apartment in Budapest years ago. I think I will set up shop there then take trips elsewhere knowing I have a "home" to return to. Budapest is a Wizzair hub so for under $100 most of Europe is within two hours.

Posted by
232 posts

Allan--We do not care for warm weather places at all, and actually love the weather in Iceland. I was born and raised here in OR/
WA and do love it, but could easily go to Iceland as the scenery is beautiful, but also very different from here. We loved the people as well.

Posted by
425 posts

If money was no object I would live somewhere where it is relatively warm in the winter (sweatshirt weather) but that is close to mountains I could ski in.

Alternatively I would like to live in London (if I could afford it)

But a small house in a quite village someplace that looks like it is from the 1800s would be nice if I could work remotely... ideally with a nice view of some hills or something
But alas I didn’t hit lotto

Posted by
335 posts

I would definitely move to Europe! I love the fact that because they have such great public transportation, in Cities like Paris, you would not even need a car. Retiring to a City in Spain, or Portugal where it is much cheaper to live than in the USA- factor in the Food which is grown without chemicals, pesticides, or gmos- it seems to me a much healthier alternative! People in Europe still in many places live like we usedto in the USA many years ago- when we walked and biked and lived a much more active lifestyle- and they are more Family oriented in Europe as well! Ive been to Italy, Sicily, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, France, England, and love them all! Scotland, Wales, Ireland are all on my list as well- even tho I have not visited yet I am sure I will love them as well because everytime I visit Europe I feel “at home”! There is so much history, culture, art, and it is so easy to travel within the Schengen Region as well. I would def move back to The Country of my Birth💚, or anywhere in Europe!😍

Posted by
131 posts

I'm perhaps a different case, as I moved to France several years ago because of a work transfer. I'm semi-retired now, but still well under 65, so I'll be staying in France at least until Medicare kicks in. Perhaps longer.

I don't think it's well known that one can move to France and after a few months be eligible for health care coverage. If you have sufficient means to demonstrate to the authorities (resources equal to the minimum wage, or SMIC, equal in 2021 to 1,554.58 € per month, that's sufficient means). And if that money comes from a pension, social security, or a 401k or IRA, it's not taxed in France and you don't need to pay cotisations for the privilege of being covered by the French healthcare system.

When you consider the low cost of rent outside of high-cost areas, it makes for a pretty compelling situation from a financial perspective.

However, if you're very close to family and friends and cannot deal with the aggravation of putting up with the French people and their various idiosyncrasies (and trust me, they are legion), then short hops or vacations might be best.

Posted by
1473 posts

However, if you're very close to family and friends and cannot deal
with the aggravation of putting up with the French people and their
various idiosyncrasies (and trust me, they are legion), then short
hops or vacations might be best.

I'd love to hear more about the idiosyncrasies.

Posted by
17 posts

I would move in a heartbeat! I’ve wanted to live abroad basically my whole life and I don’t have anything really tying me to the States. My family is scattered all across the US (WI, NC, & TX while I’m in PA), so it’s not like I get to see them more than once a year if I’m lucky. The only thing holding me back is logistics. I’ve been researching ways to live abroad and it’s not easy, but I’m pretty determined to find a way

Posted by
1690 posts

No. Too old. Too many learning curves, too much work and we love this old house we’ve fixed up over the years to our own specs. Travel a few weeks or months out of the year is ample. I used to think retirement in England would be cool, wearing tweeds and ties and being treated graciously as old codgers in a culture I fantasized but that frankly was based on nothing more than a lifetime of old British movies and mysteries. More power to those who are willing. Stay safe all.

Posted by
1600 posts

I would love to, but only for a couple of years. Probably Ireland would be my first choice. I know after a while though, I would want to come back to the US.