My Columbian Fantasy

I recently read an article about the low cost of living in Columbia. In some areas two people can live on $1,000 a month and still enjoy amenities and clean comfortable spaces. Rent could run you $300-$500 a month. Buying a house or apartment in some areas could cost you as little as $40,000. Tomatoes are $0.40 a pound. A three-course meal in a restaurant is about $20 a person. There is public health insurance based on your income.

The idea of running away sweetly sings me to sleep at night. I can’t actually run away. I love my kid and my dog. I love my DIY house. I like my neighbors and my work is challenging. I have wonderful friends and family. I would never abandon all the truly wonderful things about my life, but what fun it is to fantasize about what could happen if I had no reason to stay!

Why not do something radical? If I could drastically change my life tomorrow, I would book a flight to Columbia departing that day. I would tour the country for a week, talk with everyone I could and find the best cities. By the end of the week I would have purchased a building containing a loft apartment above a vacant bar and restaurant space.

I’ll sell my possessions and furnish the apartment very simply. There would clean lines and necessities only. No extra things to clean or take up space. My splurge each week would be a bouquet of fresh local flowers and a big basket of local fresh fruits. I would tell my dearest friends and family where I’ve gone. The second bedroom would always be open to them. I would be running away from some relationships and in those cases I wouldn’t bother leaving a forwarding address. It’s a fresh start I’m seeking anyway!

Now for that bar space. I always wanted to be a bartender. I’ll clean up the space and create a casual, slow paced bar. I imagine it would just be a Columbian version of Cheers. I would entertain the after-work beer crowd or ladies meeting for cocktails. My customers will be the local neighbors as they hop off buses and walk the rest of the way home. One day a week I would cook an extravagant three course dinner where everyone is seated and served at the same table in a great family-style experience.

The bar will provide for my Columbian living expenses. My house here in the states could be rented out to cover the cost of my life in the US. The commission job is all savings. After a few years of living a slow-paced lifestyle I will have saved enough money to retire at least 10 years early.

So according to my fantasy I live a slower-paced life, become a local in a new country, work less, fulfill my bar-tending dream and retire ten years early. I didn’t cover the details of obtaining citizenship or the dangers of living in a drug-war area. I would probably get bored two weeks in. I would like being anonymous and at the same time miss having close connections. The internet speed would probably annoy me. I would still binge watch Netflix and scold myself for time wasted. I bet Amazon would still play a big role in my daily happiness.

This fantasy supposes that everything will go as expected which is why it makes such a great fantasy. So maybe I can’t run away today; but the dream relaxes me and starts a new question. What fantasy can I make come true today?

Carrie Stephenson
Carrie Stephenson is an indirect tax specialist and audit firm manager. She combines her experience in the field of auditing with her interest in personal growth in order to serve as an “audit mom” for her team. Carrie is passionate about bringing fresh perspective and creativity to problem solving both at home and in the office.

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