In my first on topic post, I would like to talk about what we call here at home Living Local. This means when you are visiting a country for more than a couple days to live as the locals do. This is the best way to get a good understanding of their culture and their country. Bruce over at American in Davao blog discussed this very topic just the other day. That discussion led me to think about this further and how it relates to people that have not spent significant time in the Philippines and have “made up their minds” to move there.
People often think that they are resilient and can take anything, but if you have not spent time in a 3rd world country for a extended period(s) , you really may not know what you would be missing by moving there. I purpose that one self examines their life and thinks about what they can live with and without. From my experience it takes weeks to really see what you miss from home. In my 17 years in the telecommunications industry, jaunting around the globe, I have spent months at a time in 3rd world countries and you really get to see what the country and people are all about. Most of these trips I lived local, in rented apartments/houses and drove myself around. (Hotels and Taxis get very expensive when your staying somewhere for 60 days (even in 3rd world countries)) I almost always had chaperons, assigned by the company, to be there if I need anything. I became good friends with most of them and spent my free time while in the country out with them and their friends and families. I still have several friends that we keep up with today overseas that we have met thru business.
Staying in a hotel and riding around the city in taxis, is NO WHERE NEAR, “Living Local”, not matter how long you spend there.
Just a few examples (as it pertains to the PI):
In the hotel you are most likely not experience brown outs. These happen all over the country quite frequently, most establishments tourists frequent run on generators.
When you are using taxis you get on your phone or look around at the sites or talk to friends and pay no attention to the silly driving habits of the locals and the extreme traffic.
When your eating in restaurants that cater to westerners you can’t really appreciate how simple the locals “menu” is.
Simple things in a 1st world society become down right hard and frustrating in cultures that have limited infrastructure and large bureaucracies that are often corrupt. You all know the exercise in patience the DMV is in the states, just imagine what its like to renew your visa or drivers license in a 3rd world country.
This post is in now way meant to discourage any of you from following your dreams and chasing the “Dream Retirement”, only to possibly open your eyes to new ideas that you may have not thought of before. Mostly to give you all something to consider as your time come closer to retirement.