Where do aspiring expats turn for authoritative advice on the expat lifestyle? Wall Street, of course! Could there possibly be a group of people more likely to embrace the allure of the open road than sub-par mortgage specialists and hedge-fund managers?
The English and the French point to history with the tip of a spear. One conflict measured a hundred years, but after that the French and Brits became allies and in central France, agriculture ruled. People planted seeds. People tended the fields. People harvested the crops. People hauled the harvest to market.
Then came the industrial revolution. People moved to the cities. The population of central France was halved in 150 years. Houses were left behind. With a strong pound sterling and all those empty houses, the time for another British invasion ripened.
That time is now.
We have very little on our calendar, but the Saffron Fair (Foire de Safran) in nearby Preuilly-sur-Claise was an absolute must. I love making paella, and saffron is required. I always thought the spice was Spanish, due to the paella thing, but it turns out it flourishes in all kinds of places, including the rich agricultural ground around our French neighborhood. Every day I learn more about how ignorant I am.
TO: Expat Almanac readers
SUBJECT: Not Too Proud to Beg
Did Tom ever tell you that he is the man who brought the public radio “beg” to the West Coast? It was working so well for a public station in New York that he initiated his own “Buck-a-Watt” campaign at KLCC in Eugene, Oregon, in 1974. They needed 10,000 dollars for a 10,000-watt transmitter and got it three days ahead of schedule (in Eugene the boisterous celebrations are renown). Now we all look upon public radio solicitation is a plague, but the cause is a good one.
“You ought to write a book!” Professional writers, if lucky, hear that many times in their lives. But we’ve never heard it as often as we do now. The Expat Almanac does not have millions of fans, but the ones we have are loyal and loving. We blush and try to keep our egos in check, but thank you, dear readers. Making the blog into a book is really a good idea.
People tell us they have been entertained by the blog, and we believe that people need all the entertainment they can get; it’s not optional in adult life. People tell us that our optimism is inspiring, and the world needs more optimists. People tell us that we’ve opened a bit of the world to them, and anything that contributes to better global understanding is great by us.
Often, people tell us they want to do the same thing. We’re happy to share what we’ve learned, and we encourage adventurous spirits on the edge of decision to pull the trigger. We made some mistakes, and the book will tell all. We did some things right, and we’ll brag about those. We feel that the Senior Year Abroad is an idea that is about to blossom as more and more of us retire healthy and raring to go.
People tell us they’ve read every word, but do they remember every word? Even I did not remember a lot of the entries when it came time to review them for the book. We wanted to leave out the dull stuff, organize the dramatic elements of Tom’s hospitalization, and add some new material. Also, we will cut out all the parts where we repeat ourselves. Where we repeat ourselves.
Blogs are great, but ephemeral, they’re a little hard to pass around. We want to have a book that can be of use to people, that can be enjoyed and shared. We travel with Kindles, but we still love the power of paper. Gift it, turn corners down, underline it. So not only will you be able to get the Expat Almanac for Kindle (free for blog readers like you—we’ll tell you how), and you’ll be able to get it on paper, too.
So, we’re working at it. The first draft is done and we’re editing now. We figure we’ll be launching about May 15th. We so appreciate your support, and everything you’ve contributed so far. The time and money we’ve put into it is well worth the delight we feel when we get positive comments and also great private notes. It’s going to be so much fun to spread the joy.
There are all sorts of houses in Puerto Vallarta, from dirt-poor shacks to glamorous, sprawling sea-view mansions. We are all curious about how people live, especially the wealthy. What would life be like with a lot of rooms and a big staff and a perfect kitchen?
I’ve never stopped to think about it, but now that I do, I find it surprising that for people who travel as much as we do, we hardly ever talk about money. We didn’t meet each other until we were in our sixties, so we each brought our own finances to the relationship. As time went on we never merged our finances, electing instead to establish a joint bank account to which we contributed whenever it got low. The joint account pays for rent, food, and other common expenses. Other than that, we each have our own checking and investment accounts to do with as we please. The other night, during our customary cocktail at sunset, we just happened to mention our individual savings accounts: They have grown considerably since we began our travels. Continue reading
That’s not a typo. The saddle in question is Buzz’s saddle. Buzz is my (electric) bike. You sit on bike saddles, not in them. And Buzz is in Portland — which is as close as we come to having a home. So you see, I’m back in (and on) the saddle again, both figuratively and literally.
I’ve been thinking about what that means to me.