My Top 5 Coffee Shops of Magdalena, Colombia

Staying in the Latino Upper Westside section of Manhattan with my Uncle Charlie, I learned about the importance of properly made Latin American coffee. He practiced a meticulous coffee making process using a coffee sock. I carried one with me while traveling Central and South America. It’s feather light and does the job. Needless to say, traveling through Central and South America has been a coffee heaven for me!

Lovely Lisbon Unlimited

Lovely Lisbon Unlimited
Lisbon Metro charges €1.45 per trip, which is a bit closer to 1st world/U.S. metro prices. I tend to cover a lot of ground on a daily basis so getting around in a timely fashion is important to me. Lisbon’s monthly unlimited card pays for itself in around 10 days taking two trips per day. I use metro services up to 6 times per day. Lisbon Metro ticket machines only give out top up cards, day passes and weekly passes which can add up if you are navigating Lisbon for over 2 weeks.

Living Outside of the Box

Living Outside of the Box

Since leaving the United States January 2nd, 2014, I’m up to 14 countries of community research. I’ve learned so many ways to benefit (yes benefit) from living on the U.S. dollar. I was just talking to my son last night and telling him that I still live on under $800/per month in Lisbon ...

Vegan Shepherds Pie (for the vegan or the frugal)

Vegan Shepherds Pie (for the vegan or the frugal)

Certain countries tend to have minimal supplies available in which to live the lifestyles we're accustomed to. Other countries have more lifestyle options than we can imagine at an awfully inflated price. I've found myself experimenting in the kitchen with what was available to create meals that I love. This dish compensates between the two situations while igniting your tastebuds and satisfying your health and hunger. 

It's Just a Bunch of Chickens

Photo Credit: Lisa May, Hopkins Belize 2016

Photo Credit: Lisa May, Hopkins Belize 2016

You know that moment when you get preoccupied with your projects, then become startled by a noise in the room or someone rustling behind you? My mom use to be that person rustling behind me every so often. After I would jump around, startled, she would say, “It’s just us chickens,” with a playful smile. Then she would give me a hug.

Traveling 9 or so countries through Central and South America, I hear many rustling sounds that make me alert and looking around, for howler monkeys, big lizards and water bugs. In most cases, it’s just a shadow of a bird flying by or of a palm tree branch waving in the wind.

Palm trees rustling all day.

In Belize I sometimes hear news about mounting robberies that scare the expat residents. Most are just pick pocketing incidents. They call the robberies crime here, which puts fear into the air that is socially infectious. In NYC, where I’m from, crime equals severe violence and denigration. My awareness becomes heightened when people around me speak of “high crime.”

I like to work outside on the veranda. The first time I heard rustling in the neighbor’s yard I thought for sure, with the crime everyone keeps talking about, that there were vicious thieves in the bushes watching my every move and preparing to pounce. I couldn’t work like that, so I grabbed the metal pipe I keep by my bed and went out to face my fears.

I had the spirit of Maggie Jones in me.

I had the spirit of Maggie Jones in me.

I peered into the neighbor’s bushes from a safe distance only to find that the noises were just a bunch of chickens scratching the ground looking for snacks. The chickens were more afraid of me even after I put down the pipe. Relieved, and seeing the humor of this scene, I could almost see the face of my young mom in those bushes smiling and saying to me, “It’s just us chickens.”

We all carry the human need to connect with each other and feel a sense of belonging. Fear is one facilitator, which does that. If 2 people share the same fear, not only can they form a bond, but fear intensifies their connection with passion deepening the fear. The problem with fear, in my experience, is that it’s based mostly in fantasy. Fear is a life altering distraction and encourages disconnection from the world where we seek to experience more connections. I’d taken the concept of pick pocketing and turned it into violent crimes against women while trying to get some work done outside in the daylight.

Fears keep you boxed in and alone.

Fears keep you boxed in and alone.

One of my worst fears were brought to light in a bunch of chickens who ran away as soon as they saw me through the bushes. Facing my fears instead of giving into them by locking myself in the house showed me that life is what we make it up to be in our minds. It also brought to light a new connection with my mom who’s oblivious to my moment with the chickens because she lives in another part of the continent. I finished my work that day in comfort, rooted in a stronger sense of myself.

Pitching Oprah Winfrey

Pitching Oprah Winfrey

After completing the London Real Business Accelerator Program, I became hungry to initiate a major change in our current society. After reading the widespread reports of disparaging behavior by high-profile people, I decided to create a docu-style reality TV series centered on changing the learned culture of social offenders.

ASK LISA MAY: Home & Land Ownership vs Home with Land Rental in Panama

Good morning Lisa May,

I watched with great interest the video with the couple in Mexico and while the video was very well done. The people stated that they paid a small sum ($140k+/-) for their unit [3br, 2ba, 2 floor, 3600 sq. foot, cliff side beach home]. There are so many that find this sum impossible to reach. My condos are available to most everyone at $79k with monthly condo fees of only $125. What I am seeing now is a lesser interest in buying and more interest in renting.

With this in mind, I have now designed an even less costly mobile unit of 576 sq. ft in Panama for less than a $1500 sale. The land upon which the unit sits is rented from me with a minimum term of 3 years and is currently only $175 per month including land taxes, grounds maintenance, security and the use of the public areas and more. The contract will allow using the unit as a rental. Land rental was common before the 1900's allowing regular people to get a place at a more affordable cost. This changed starting in the mid 60's up till today. People have been, for lack of better words, brainwashed into believing they need "ownership". 

QUESTION: How do I offer this great deal at a great price all the while having the people feel comfortable? You have chatted with so many people and actually work in the area of the "retiree movement" that I am hoping you can shed some light.

Cheers,

Perfect Panama Condos


Dear Perfect Panama Condos,

Your information sounds good but I'm always leery about land rentals. Focusing on the logic, yes, it’s cheaper to lease land with home ownership. The laws change, however, when one moves from the area that they know. The culture changes. Your summarized history of lease rental is interesting, however this information comes from you, the land owner. History also shows poor people being taken advantage of since the world began and continues on now as an epidemic. That is no brainwash. 

For example, their have been instances in Belize where new comers are sold homes only to find out, after their renovations, that the land belongs to someone else and that someone else takes all leaving the home owners with no home and no savings. The U.S. is about to blow another financial bubble most likely right after these horrendous elections leaving people scared and desperate. Your potential clients need to trust that they have a sure thing. Don’t get me wrong, I think what you have here is a good idea worth fleshing out. What your potential clients need is peace of mind in knowledge that they can acquire themselves from accredited sources. 

I’ve gotten lots of feedback in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize that Panama has gotten too expensive for low income expat living. I agree. What I found surprising is that expats in Belize left to live in Panama for less and came back to Belize broke. That says a lot because Belize is a pretty pricey place to live as well. So with this growing sense among expats or those considering leaving the country, your arrangement is welcoming but seems a little too good to be true. It’s an idea that has not been tested.

Many of my expat friends in Mexico own homes and think nothing of land rental, feeling very secure. There are others, however, who own mobile homes with land rental but are terrified to renovate or AirBnb/rent out their homes for fear of land rental hikes or changes in rental policy feeling forced to leave, unable to afford moving the home. I even have a friend who refuses to buy in Washington, D.C. because it’s land rental only. 

A good way to address your marketing here is to document your proper due diligence and apply your concepts to the current global economic situation. People are legitimately scared to lose all of their money. Resolve their fears by backing up with your credentials (why they should trust you), Panamanian legislation and real estate law. Offering knowledge on good bi-lingual real estate lawyers used in the Panamanian expat communities might be a good start.

Food for thought.

Best.

 

Lisa May

Founder & Host of Expat Real

LisaMay@expatrealtv.com

www.expatrealtv.com

He Was Pretty, Fearless and the Sole Designer of His Life Map.

He walked the walk and talked the talk. 

He walked the walk and talked the talk. 

He was the epitome of fearlessness, passion and humanity. He held big dreams at a young age and became the worlds most famous boxer of all time; he walked the walk and talked the talk. Muhammad Ali was born in a world where he, his family and the African American [Black] community were told by their own country that they were naturally ugly, weak, stupid and subservient. In making the decision to move abroad, my closest circle of family and friends told me that I was not properly educated, I would risk attack as a pretty single American traveler, I wouldn't make it without knowing the language and more of the same. As negative as that sounds, Ali dealt with worse.

He would've been arrested or killed just for drinking from the water fountains marked, "White". Although Muhammad Ali believed in civil rights, he did not take a traditional role in the fight for civil rights. Ali just never subscribed to the rules of bigotry. He decided that he was a man of value and continuously designed his life around what he loved to do and how he perceived himself. He was the Greatest. Period. Social judgement was not accepted in his mind. In redesigning my life as an Expat, I had far less barriers to overcome than Clay did in redesigning his life as Ali. 

He was screaming into the camera, “I’m Pretty! I'm a baaad man!”

He was screaming into the camera, “I’m Pretty! I'm a baaad man!”

I remember watching him on tv once in an old clip when I was 5 years old. He was screaming into the camera, “I’m Pretty~” over and over again, "I'm pretty like a girl! Imma baaad man!". I was nervous for him. I really thought that something bad would happen to him because he publicly admitted that he was black, attractive and boxing's "savior". We have that fear of the absolute in all of us, "What will they do if I [insert amazing thing to do for yourself here]." However, if you go through that fear you will find relief in knowledge on the other side. 

Alas, Muhammad Ali said all of those things repeatedly and yet led a full and prosperous life. He hit a few bumps in the road but that never stopped him from living exactly the life that he designed for himself. He fought around the world when U.S. promoters wouldn’t promote him. He found ways of earning money using his talent of public speaking when the U.S. revoked his license to fight. He never stopped living his designed lifestyle and most likely achieved more than he’d imagined. 

This spirit of Ali is in all of us who dream of a different, more fulfilling life. We only need to harness it to explore our happiness.

These days U.S. salaries are at an all time low and the cost of living is rising at a massive rate. Are you rushing home from work everyday just to get a good night's rest for work early the next day? Many are downsizing to micro apartments or moving over 2 hours outside of the major areas and using mass transit to survive. What if you could take all of that budgeting and ingenuity and find a way to *upsize* your quality of life? You'd be no different than a boy named Cassius Clay who redesigned his life into Muhammad Ali. 

 

Living abroad for less is ATTAINABLE.

It's never too late to redesign your life. CLICK on Expat Real Starter Kit anywhere in this blog to learn my tips and tricks!

Instead of hunkering down and hoping that things will get better in the future, I will show you my inner secrets on how to upgrade your life for less with the Expat Real Starter Kit. I’ll reveal how to find cheap travel, make friends in English-speaking communities and harness the confidence of Ali to move abroad, because in your life, YOU are the greatest!

To receive your Expat Real Starter Kit just click the link below. This one is on me so no payment information is needed. My passion for high quality living runs deep and it's important to me that you know what your options are.

Find out my secrets of living abroad for less with your Expat Real Starter Kit!

See you across the border! 

XOX!

Lisa May