Making the move from a small town in central Illinois and retiring on the edge of a jungle in a rural province in the Philippines with my Filipino wife was a radical and life-changing experience to say the least. After almost thirty years with telecommunications giant AT&T and at the age of fifty-seven, I decided it was time for a change in my life. I knew I could not live on my retirement investments in the United States without getting another part-time job, and knew my wife would have to continue operating her home day care if we did not make some changes; I so was fed up with the rat race!
Make some changes we did! We have eight people living in a home my wife Melinda had built for her family about ten years ago, so no house payment to worry about. No car payments since we travel by the local jeepneys (World War II converted jeeps) or tricycles (motorcycles with covered sidecars) or take a pontoon boat to the nearby Iloilo City when we want to travel to the big city to shop. We live on a monthly income of 500 U.S. dollars and support eight people on that. This budget includes our broadband internet connection, our maid, our laundry lady's salary, electric, water, and food (which is our biggest expense with eight people, four adults and four children.)
We sleep under mosquito nets to keep off the mosquitoes, of course, and to keep the lizard dropping off our bed, since we have small lizards that like to quickly slither across our walls and ceilings at night. Taking baths with cold buckets of water poured over my head took some getting used to, but our new CR (Comfort Room/Bathroom) will be done soon, and we are getting a small heated water tank for the shower and a flush toliet. Every day is an adventure; the Filipino people are very friendly, helpful, respectful, and always smiling. It's a good life. Are there some major adjustments to be made in this expat life? You bet! Tons of changes! My Sainted Patient Wife has to listen to me grumble from time to time and is trying to get me to eat more local foods (and I grumble about that), but if a fifty-seven year old, set-in-his-ways guy from Illinois can adjust, I guarantee anyone can. Life is not boring anymore, that is for sure. And the rat race? Don't miss it one bit!