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Our Journey from the Expatriate Life in Mexico to Central Florida

Category: Active adult communities

By Stephen Anderson
When we first bought our home in Mexico, nine years ago, it was a pretty good decision. Real estate prices were lower than in the US, the Lake Chapala area was known for some of the world’s finest weather, the cost of living was substantially lower, and it was safe.

Unfortunately, even before the recent outbreaks of kidnaps, murder, and extortion in this area by the drug cartels, my wife and I had decided to return to the US. Having to deal with all the corruption, the crooked government officials, the unethical business practices, and the courts that do nothing against crimes perpetrated against foreigners made life here intolerable. Add to that the influx of Americans and Canadians that caused prices to rise dramatically on real estate and everyday cost of living. Our conclusion was, as many of our friends have that escaped this area, that one can live in the US for about the same money as it takes to live in Mexico.

Certain things will be higher cost in the US. Medical costs are certainly the primary one. We will no longer be able to afford a maid or get bi-weekly massages. Real estate taxes are higher but, with homes in Mexico more expensive than the US’s depressed real estate market, we figure it will take about 30 years in higher taxes before they balance out, and we will be long gone by then. All the other expenses run pretty much the same, more or less. Of course, the weather will always be better in Chapala but that does not outweigh all the other issues.

Our Reentry Plans
So, for the last three years, we have been reading everything we could on retiring in the US. We used as our primary source as it has been filled with very valuable information, not only on areas, but also great advice on things like checking out the financial stability of communities. Armed with all this data, we started weighing various options and finally decided on Florida. Unlike a recent article, we neither love it nor hate it, but decided it was best for us. So, what prompted this decision?

After much deliberation, we chose central Florida near Leesburg for a number of factors. The weather is more temperate than along the coast with its heat and humidity and less cold than further north. We have many friends and relatives in this area, some of whom left Mexico and now love Florida. Orlando’s entertainment and cultural activities are very attractive. And, there is a plethora of 55+ active communities to choose from, something we decided we really wanted.

Our determining factors were:
many activities that would suit our particular lifestyle, individual homes with Concrete Block and Stucco (cbs) construction, affordable monthly homeowner’s fees, has to allow pets, preferably an indoor pool, financial stability, how residents liked it there, the cost of homes, and taxes. Places like The Villages or Top of the World were eliminated as they were like individual cities, which may well be perfect for some, but we wanted something with more of a community feel and no more than 1500 homes. After many, many hours on the internet doing research, as well as working with a local realtor, we narrowed it down to five communities.

The Legwork
All of them had pretty good websites that provided a lot of information. When we needed more, like copies of their recent association meetings, assessments, financials, etc., we wrote to them and each sent the requested documents in a timely manner. Our next step was to drive to Florida and to look at, as well as investigate, each community. We started out by driving through each one on our own and looking at the condition of the homes, yards, and common areas followed by looking at the amenities. Legacy was eliminated entirely as being too new with no trees and little to offer in either amenities or activities. One was moved lower down the list as being larger than what we desired. So, that left three. From there, we stopped at each rec center to see what activities were listed on the bulletin boards and monthly event calendars, and to talk to residents. Each raved about their respective places.

Then it was time to meet our realtor, who then took us to the three communities we had narrowed our search down to. Those were Highland Lakes, Pennbrooke Fairways, and Royal Highlands. We also visited Plantation at Leesburg, the community eliminated earlier because we felt it was too large. We ended up looking at a sprinkling of homes – some we both really liked and a few seemed worth considering. After doing so we were down to two communities: both with golf courses (we do not play), one with two outdoor pools and one with an indoor and outdoor pool (which had higher priced homes). (See section at end with comments about each community).

When we had gone out on our own, before meeting our real estate agent, Sarah and I went to the more expensive of the two communities and visited the recreation building to see how many people were in attendance at the scheduled activities. Both places had lots of people attending. The office staff gave us the new monthly calendar of events that had just come out, as well as a lot of good information on all aspects of daily life along with costs.

That evening we crashed the scheduled dance as potential prospects and were welcomed to join the members. A live band was playing and we learned this was a weekly event, always with live music, and there were actually two dance groups that held dances within the community. Many of the 50 or so people in attendance came over and talked to us and invited us to their tables. We certainly felt welcome and comfortable.

However, $20,000 or so more for a comparable home was nothing to sneeze at so the next morning it was back to the other community. One scheduled activity had been cancelled, another had about four people in attendance, and the big pool party had about a dozen people there. No one could give us a newer schedule of events than January and it was now May. While a beautiful community with very attractive prices on homes, it was just not right for us as the activities were our main consideration.

Suddenly, homes are selling
Here is the surprising part. I had selected homes in each of the five communities to look at, about 25 altogether, in a price range we were hoping for. These included listings as well as for sale by owners. Almost all had sold in the two weeks between the time we looked them up on-line and we arrived in Florida. Some were new listings and some had been on the market for 500 or more days. The realtor told us it had been years since they saw such a spurt in the market.

The final result was we found a home in Royal Highlands. We paid a higher price than we would have paid a month ago, but at still a lower price than in the Lake Chapala area of Mexico. And, with there being little difference in the cost of living, having the safety, a better lifestyle, and all the conveniences that do not exist in Mexico, makes us thrilled and excited to be returning to the good old USA.

Notes about the communities we visited
Legacy at Leesburg was the first one we eliminated. No trees, a small pool and community center, and we did not hit it off with the rec building office. Great prices on houses though.

Plantation at Leesburgwas just too large for us with 3 rec areas, thousands of homes, etc. There were 3 full time activities directors of which we met one, who was really nice as well as helpful.

Highland Lakes was in consideration although the oldest of the communities. Had a nice rec building, indoor and outdoor pool, beautiful trees, lakes. Not too many cbs homes, mostly frame, and all the affordable cbs homes had sold right before we got there.

Pennbrooke Fairways was the runner up and sits next to a new part of The Villages. Nice trees, golf course, 2 outdoor pools, large rec building, really nice people that we met. However, they list a mess of activities on their website but had no indication of them actually happening. We fell in love with one home there at a great price but the community was just not right. For someone that wants to be near everything the Villages has to offer but not be in The Villages itself, this place would be ideal.

We finally settled on Royal Highlands because of all the activities, a lot of people were actually participating in them, indoor and outdoor pools, a lot of cbs homes, the golf course and restaurant, a nice office staff, and so on.

All the communities were actually great and would be perfect for someone, depending on what lifestyle and price range they were looking for. Royal Highlands seemed best for us but the others were all contenders at one time or the other.

I cannot speak highly enough of Nicky Martz who specializes in 55+ active communities in the central Florida area. She spent a lot of time sending us information before we got to Florida, kept us in our price range, only showed us the types of homes that would meet our needs, knew each of the communities, and took her fiduciary relationship to us very seriously. Since we returned to Mexico she continued to go way beyond the call both before and after the closing. Ask for Nicky at, 407-252-2596. Here is a list of more Florida 55+ and active communities.

For further reference:
If you liked this article you should also see the articles by Jay Michaels, “Hop on the Williamsburg Tourbus“, plus “Sandy’s Active Adult Community Adventures“.
Mexican Retirement Gone Bad

About Stephen Anderson
Stephen is the author of “Retiring In Mexico: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”, available for sale online at and other channels.

Available on Amazon and Kindle:
(print) Retiring In Mexico: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
(Kindle) Retiring In Mexico: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Comments. We always love your comments and suggestions. Please submit them below.

Posted by Admin on June 9th, 2012


  1. Your article has been a great help to us concerning Mexico. We like Mexico, we visit and vacation there, our two children were born there, and we worked extensively with the Mexican legal system in adopting both our girls (my attorney did almost all the work). But your article and your very clear picture of the few pro’s and the many very serious negatives has made my decision as “easy as pie”! Mexico is off the table. I like to rely on my own research. But your experiences in Mexico rings so true, and are stated so clearly that no more research Is needed.
    We are going to retire in AZ, likely somewhere in the east valley. While Your information on Florida locations won’t help us, your method of research will work any where!

    Thank you for taking the time to share your valuable experiences with those of us traveling the same road! 😆

    by David Coughlin — June 10, 2012

  2. We spent 4 wonderful years in Uruguay. We did not have problems with the criminal ellements or police corruption. A local watched us repair a distressed farm and buildings and made us an “offer we couldn’t refuse”
    based on our investment. We searched the US and decided on a community on
    the Easr coast (Fort Pierce). Great locals, some friends from Uruguay, easy access to airports, reasonable housing prices and civic involvement.

    by Harold Levy — June 13, 2012

  3. I read this article with much interest since my wife and I just moved from AZ to FL, and we just bought a home in Highland Lakes. We chose this area of Florida for mostly the same reasons, and the fact that my wife’s sister lives in the Plantatation.

    Like the author, we looked at Legacy, Royal Highlands, and The Plantation at Leesburg. We are staying with friends in The Villages until we can get into our house. And also like the author, we find The Villages just too big and busy, but a lot of activities. After living in the Phoenix area for 15+ years, we wanted something smaller.

    Anyway, a well-written, informative article, and after exploring this area myself, I agree with the analysis.

    by Dave — June 13, 2012

  4. :lol:This was great. It provided great suggestions on how to move forward with this very important decision. Would love to know if they are happy with their choice.

    by Margaret Wood — June 13, 2012

  5. Thanks for this great article. I looked around the Leesburg area myself this past March and saw houses in each of these communities. Having this couple tells up their personal experience in each community was very helpful. I went on line when I got home to see if I could find out the HOA rules, as I dont need one that is super restrictive. I have pets and in certain areas in Florida , they are very much down on pets. Plantation at Leesburg had a cuople of nice houses I could afford.but the HOA wanted my cats on a lease!! No, that would not work for me. Other restrictions were more than I was willing to give in to. I also wanted an indoor pool with the outdoor and some organized activities so I can meet other people, beyond my ususal This was a very insightful article.I will be going back to relook.

    by marlene S — June 13, 2012

  6. Great article. Our priorities are a little different. Please get in touch.

    by Dave Hebert — June 13, 2012

  7. Excellent article. your well balanced approach was a great counter balance to International Living’s “too positive” message.
    We enjoy the adventure of going to Mexico to visit and then return home to Virginia.
    We also love spending time at the Villages in Central Florida in the Early Spring for a month or two.
    We had considered spending time in the Lake Chapala, MX region until we read your article. We will visit safer areas of Mexico. We will be in Los Cabos, MX for a wedding this month and will enjoy Mexico and then return home.
    Thank you again for a very valuable article.

    by Dennis Ackerman — June 13, 2012

  8. I certainly appreciate everything you shared regarding FL. I hope to retire in 2 years and, like you, want an area with lots of active people and things to do. Problem is, I don’t want a golf community, and I’m single, so I want to have a proper fit. Hope I have the same luck you did !

    by Lynda Arehart — June 13, 2012

  9. Great to hear from someone who has been there. I concluded, before your article, that Mexico has too many negatives. Crime, corrupt government, unstable currency to mention a few.

    I have narrowed my primary interests in Equador, Panama and Belize. All three seem to be more friendly, stable situations.

    by J. Al Frazier — June 13, 2012

  10. Interesting article… Thanks for the information; we are looking for very similar type community. Royal Highlands, Plantation, and King’s Ridge are on our list. If anyone has more information, please let us know!

    by Marilyn Gazzette — June 13, 2012

  11. I would agree with you on two counts. Retiring in Latin America is not cheap and not a bed of roses. Central Florida is a pretty good choice for a place to retire if you’re looking for good weather and affordable costs. We looked at central America on several trips after we were already settled in retirement in central Florida and could not seeing a relocation to central America a wise choice. We did not want to become members of an expat community which cuts you off from reality. We chose to live in a condominium with 79 units, gated, heated pool, tennis court, covered parking with lake view and is part of a small city of 35,000 people offering lots of things to do, shopping and dining close by and a reasonable well defined cost of living. We did not choose to live in an isolated living environment such as the developments you describe as part of your search. Those kind of places just seem to club like for us. We do not want to feel restricted to the offerings of the enclave and do not want our friends only from the neighborhood community where we live. There is so much more living in a small city than being isolated to the activities at the club house in a gated community. We would encourage everyone to also look at retirement options other than a development.

    by David M. Lane — June 13, 2012

  12. I read with interest your article but found it amazing you had such negative feelings about my adopted country. I have lived in Cabo San Lucas, Baja Sur, Mexico for 42 years. I raised a daughter here who attended primary school in Cabo San Lucas and then went on to secondary in La Paz and Prep in Ensenada and Guadalajara. She ended up meeting her future husband in Guadalajara and has now been married to him for years and has a son and two grandchildren living in Guadalajara.
    I have divided my time between Cabo San Lucas and Guadalajara, being in Guadalajara more when my late husband was in an excellent rest home until his passing. During the past forty plus years there have been ups and downs as there is wherever you might live. It is my experience that people who have trouble adapting to life in Mexico, are people who expect to bring the U.S. to Mexico and also do not remember they are a guest of the country.
    Mexico is a warm and welcoming country to folks who are looking for a way of life that has been lost in the United States. I have remained in Mexico because of the wonderful people, the family values, and a strict sense of morality. I go back to the U.S. a few times a year to visit friends and relatives. I always look forward to the trip but after a couple of weeks my heart begins to yearn for the colors and sounds of this wonderful country.
    I am not sure where the information about housing prices in Mexico being higher than the depressed market in the U.S. It is said that when the U.S. sneezes, Mexico gets a cold. We are affected directly with economic conditions in the U.S. There are presently many very affordable options for retirement in Cabo. Medical care is affordable and excellent. Schools are usually more advanced than the same year in the U.S. And many are bi lingual. Mexico has service people to pump your gas, carry your packages or luggage (and smile while doing it). Don’t turn your back on retirement in Mexico. Viva Mexico!

    by Barbara Cooperman — June 13, 2012

  13. @Barbara Cooperman. If you have information on retirement housing in Mexico that is reasonably priced that would be interesting to many readers of this blog. I have yet to find in Mexico or anywhere in Central America good retirement housing in the $50-75,000 range with very servicable kitchens and baths, large master bedrooms, a water view with air conditioned living area in the 1200 – 1500 square area in that price range. As people age their needs change. In Latin America handicapped accessible sidewalks, easy stairs and ramps are for the most part not available yet. Airports with reasonably priced flights to everywhere are important too. This is where central Florida including Winter Haven FL where we now live makes a great deal of sense as opposed to places out of the country a thousand miles away. In the housing I describe here in central Florida you can live easily in terms of housing cost including taxes, insurance, water, cable TV and electric including air conditioning if you place is paid for in the range of 5,000 to 6,000 per year. That’s about $500.00/month. Where in Latin America can you do that and have lots of things to do to boot? If you know of such places we would all live to have information on them! Just my obersation as a retired person of ten years.

    by David M. Lane — June 14, 2012

  14. I am not sure that Cabo can be considered as representative of the majority of Mexico.

    by Mad Monk — June 14, 2012

  15. Mad Monk, I agree. Cabo is a nice place, but I don’t believe it is at all representative of the rest of Mexico. TONS of expats there. Lots of very high end resorts. I don’t believe good housing would be affordable either.

    by Linda — June 14, 2012

  16. I would like to thank all of you for the nice comments about my article. But, I would like to explain a couple of things. Mexico has a lot to offer and many people love it here. We ourselves have a Mexican son-in-law and a gorgeous Mexican granddaughter, that now live in the US, so we have no animosity towards most of the people. But, Mexico has no laws to protect the consumer on real estate, construction, or in practically every other aspect of life here and being ripped-off in one form or another, or being forced to pay huge bribes to try and get any justice, is just an everyday occurrence, especially if you are more involved with the community than most, like we were. Unlike International Living that only raves about each area they write about because they get a huge percentage of the commissions when someone buys a home, etc. from one of their recommended realtors, my book discusses all aspects of life in Mexico, openly and honestly, and provides valuable information on ways to protect oneself that would really apply to most Latin American countries: lessons we learned the hard way. As for Cabo, it is rich man’s territory and certainly not indicative of most of Mexico. We ate at Edith’s where dinner for two cost us $100 without any wine or alcoholic drinks and breakfast at The Office ran us $25. And, everyone has different desires out of retirement. For some, like Sarah and I, a small active retirement community, back in the US with everything our wonderful country has to offer, is what we now desire. For others, it is being in a city and not confined to the enclaves of the community, although there is nothing to stop one from doing things outside the subdivision. The bottom line is that only you can figure out the lifestyle you want, the areas you want to consider, and then do a lot of research before making a final decision. Thank you all again.

    by Stephen Anderson — June 15, 2012

  17. Ruth Shirley, attacking other members and calling them nuts is not productive. We’re all here to share our opinions in a safe and reasonable environment. You are welcome to your opinion as is Stephen Anderson. Based on the tone of your post, I know which opinion I will pay attention to.

    Editors note: thank you Linda, couldn’t have said it better. We decided to delete that comment because it violates our terms of service – you can’t attack other members.

    by Linda — June 15, 2012

  18. Linda…well said!

    by Staceyjill — June 15, 2012

  19. Yeah, I was going to say something too, but used my time-proven Monk’s wisdom (LOL) to not do so. You know … something about burning books, etc. 😉 I may not agree with some of you on these blogs, but I sure as heck value and respect your opinions, advice, and questions. Keep it up. It makes the “journey” much more enjoyable and rewarding.

    by Mad Monk — June 16, 2012

  20. I was sad to see that one reader here was persuaded to skip Mexico after reading the article, but then again, anyone that easily discouraged may not be up to the challenges of moving to Mexico.

    I’m moving to the Yucatan Peninsula, which is a great value compared to the rest of Mexico. Moving abroad take a little courage, and you have to enjoy the challenge, but I’ve met many new friends who are having the “time of their lives” … so if you have any thought at all that you may be up to the challenge, don’t let anyone steer you to someplace bland just because it’s “safe.”

    by Lee — June 22, 2012

  21. To Stephen Anderson – Thank you for your input. I have nothing against the Mexican people as I have married I to Mexican blood. However, my brother retired (15 mos total) and moved to Mexico at the beginning of his retirement. Everyone warned him not to go to Mexico because of the high crime (beheadings on highways, etc). Long story short my brother was murdered last November in Mexico by a Mexican he knew and befriended. He gave him money for his sick little girl to take to the hospital, and paid him to do thi gs around his condo. He followed my brother when he moved to a different area of Mexico to rob him. My brother was stabbed seven times, bound hands and feet and gagged. heinous murder for 300 and a laptop plus wallet. hence, I will never again step foot on Mexican soil, However I do praise the Mexican police for following all of the leads the people gave them and the murderer and his accomplice (miinor) are in prison today. Unfortunately that won’t bring my brother back. There are many murders of U.S. citizens in Mexico. Drug cartels are horrible and there are corrupt police but there are many good and honest ones to. I feel sorry for the citizens of Mexico who have to deal with all of the violence in their country. Why would any american want to live there when there are so many other choices?

    by Debbye — June 23, 2012

  22. By the way there are wonderful people living in Mexico – my brothers neighbors, the lady and her boyfriend we hired to clean out and sell his furniture, traveling (flying his pet to us) Kelly with the American Consulate. There is just too much violence. I have wondered where to retire in the states and have been looking. Currently in the Pacific Northwest with great summers. Yes it gets cold in the winter but I am retired and don’t have to go out on bad days. put a log on the fire, turn up the heat and look at the beautiful snow falling. Or I can leave for 2 months, six months or however long I want to. I really do hate humidity and 113 degree heat.

    by Debbye — June 23, 2012

  23. The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful and often gets high marks for a place to retire. They also get lots of rain and dampness. I do not see how the area can be recommended for full time retirement living with that climate. Older people often have arthritis. If they don’t have it when they retire they get it as they age. Dampness and long rainy season agrivate that condition. Keep that in mind.

    by David M. Lane — June 24, 2012

  24. David,

    I would be cautious about generalizing about the Pacific Northwest climate. Actually as you move to the middle of Washington and Oregon the climate changes and by the time you are in the eastern part of the state you are almost in a desert. A bit colder than Mexico but almost as dry. You might be pleasantly surprised by climate in say, Medford or Walla Walla.

    Thanks for your many valuable comments! John

    by John Brady — June 24, 2012

  25. David – John is correct. Most of the rain and the dampness in Oregon and Washington is along the coast. There is desert land in Washington riddled with lava rocks. The scenery is definitely different – vast large spaces of land not to mention the beautiful mountains (my grandchildren were here from Florida last week and actually frolicked in the snow on Snoqualmie mountain pass). It gets very hot and dry during the summer in the central part of Washington and I must say we love the beaches and ocean on the Oregon coast. We go there frequently. One really needs to travel and check out the different states for retirement. Too bad we all can’t stay in each place for a year to see the four seasons and if it is a good “fit” for us.

    by Debbye — June 24, 2012

  26. David – I would like to add that Washington gets snow in the winter – even in the desert. We can have harsh cold winters so it might not be ideal for someone with arthritis that cannot tolerate the cold winters. for them I would suggest possibly Arizona (south) the north has four seasons or Texas where it is really dry and hot.

    by Debbye — June 24, 2012

  27. May I add that there are pockets where the climate is different than the general area. In my reading of Washington, Whidbey Island north of Seattle gets only about half of the precipitation as Seattle. And yes, to be able to live every where a year would have be interesting to say the least. Larry

    by Larry P — June 25, 2012

  28. Debbye & Larry P: OK, why not sell one’s home, place any profit into e.g. laddered CDs (etc) and travel to different areas for 3, 6, 12 months to see what it is like. Use the maturing CDs to live on (along with Soc Sec if possible) and retaining one’s pension/savings/401 for later (if possible). Get a base, draw a circle on map of say 100 miles in which to ck out retirement homes, apartments, etc. Move on when ready (even after one month if defintely NOT what one likes) and try another area, with knowledge that one needs to see a place in its “bad” and “good” seasons. Ck out hospitals, doctors, etc. (read local papers, talk to people). If one grocery shops vs. eating in restaurants, one can live modestly and see the area. We are very interested in Pacific Norethwest. For us, snowbirding could be possible with sons in SF & LA. However, just one idea. We are spending some of my retirment incentive $s to do 17 days in Rockies in VRBO (Frisco, CO). We cook meals (healthy!) and there is a FREE bus/shuttle here that goes through much of the county so one can park the auto! And, 90+ miles of PAVED cycling paths … HEAVEN! Oh, and it’s in the ROCKIES … those hills that make our loved Appalachians look a little well puny in comparison. If we do visit WA for any length of time, we want to see the Canadian Rockies, which area said to even best the CO Rockies in (places at least). What was that saying … think outside the box. 😉

    by Mad Monk — June 28, 2012

  29. Mad Monk – my spouse and I are planning to do what you suggested. We will purchase another R.V. and tour the country staying as long as we desire in each place with the ability to cook and prepare healthier meals not to mention how much cheaply this can be done and save on hotel costs. If you assume you are going to pay $100 per night – give or take – for a hotel room that would cost 3,000 dollars per month just for a room each night. There are cheaper R.V’s on the market for those that cannot afford to go “all out”. We have owned a trailer, Class C and a Class A. It is so nice not to have to make hotel reservations and be there by a certain time. One can “dry dock” in an R.V. and does not have to pay for a camp site. They are fully self contained. Another plus is you do not have to worry about bed bugs and use your own restroom facilities. It is not for everyone but is a leisurely way to travel. I do not know how I would decide where to retire without staying in each specific area to find out if it fits our needs. By the way, you should check out the Cascade mountain range in the northwest – it really makes the east coast mountains look like “hills” as do the Rockies!

    by Debbye — June 29, 2012

  30. Debbye – Agree! That remains an option (so many of them!) for us. We actually did a road trip around whole USA in a small RV in 1983. I was between jobs and decided time to see USA (and attend a computer comference in S. CA). From MD headed S, then west to S. CA, into Baja, then N up Pacific Coast to WA, then east. Three months: me, wife, two infant sons (1.5 and 3 yrs), dog, cat in a small Winnebago Le Sharo! One gets to know one’s family REALLY well! We are trying to make it to the large RV show in Harrisburg/Hershey PA this fall to check out the new ones (maybe hybrids for fuel costs, etc.). We love to cycle and see people “camped” in their RVs near/beside biking trails. Love same freedom you mention of just pulling over and stopping (bedding, utensils, bed-bugs are also on our minds). That is exactly the way we traveled in 1983. Couple days completely self-contained, then a camp ground. One can live and travel VERY economically. The up-front cost of the RV is our concern. I am definitely not a mechanic so any repairs will be costly, fuel costs, and fact that the vehicle is basically a write-off as soon as it comes of the lot. Also, want an economical small car to drive when in an area for a while. Gas stations used to have dump sites. Haven’t seen ANY on this trip (that I noticed) … but that was 30 years ago! 😉 Best wishes.

    by Mad Monk — June 30, 2012

  31. mad Monk – Aah Hershey – I lived there when I was little. It was great – I was there two years ago and it has changed drastically. Not much seemed the same as it used to be. Good luck on your RV hunt. May I suggest you stay away from anything manufactured by R-Vision. Our class A was nothing but a headache. Couldn’t use it the first two years because it was being rebuilt in a shop 350 miles from home. Then problem after problem. Always having to fix something for several hundred dollars not to mention the thousands we lost by getting rid of it! Windshield almost blew out while traveling admit never was fixed correctly. Glad it is gone. RVer’s are the nicest people you would ever want to meet we have found. Everyone on the same page. May I suggest purchasing a copy of The Next Exit they have a website at The book lists every service at every exit on the Interstate including food, gas, campgrounds, dump sites. We really enjoy the book when traveling. Also some gas stations have dump sites (we only found so far in Florida) but we did find some campgrounds that will let you go in and dump for a small fee even if you are not staying there. We have also found the dump sites in rest areas and you can refill with non-drinkable water. This is great for the blackwater. We always drink bottled water and cook with it as well. Please post about the new hybrids and what you find out! yes, you can spend a lot for fuel as you know, but when you want to stay in a place for awhile to check the area out it is nothing compared to straight driving which is nothing compared to hotel costs. Good Luck

    by Debbye — June 30, 2012

  32. I have enjoyed reading all the comments here. My husband and I ‘retired’ to SW Florida when we sold our business in ’99. What I didn’t consider was moving 2,500+ miles away from all family and long time friends. While we were both still in good health, we would travel back to the west coast 2-3 times a year. Now, my husband has very serious medical issues, and we NEED to return to SoCal to be near our families, and have their emotional support.
    I don’t think people consider this point enough. The other thing we found in past years was that, even though we would send everyone free plane tickets, and they would stay with us for free and we would buy all of their meals, it STILL was hard to get them to come here. They all were in various stages of their own lives: some in college, some raising children, etc., but all the adults worked full time, all the kids were in year-round sports, and even if they could spare an entire week, they would lose 2 of those days to traveling back and forth! WE were the ones who moved away, not them, and as long as we were healthy enough to travel, it was up to us to return ‘home’ and visit everyone….

    by Mary — July 27, 2012

  33. Right on re. Stephen Anderson statement about International Living making commissions on their recommendations
    where to live, etc They have agents all over the world. Unfortunately they have ripped off a lot people with their
    newsletters, where to retire articles in magazines, newspapers etc.

    Stormy – july, 2015

    by stormy coleman — July 6, 2015

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