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Jim Santos - Author

As long as I can remember, books have always been at the core of my life. Through a rough childhood in an epically dysfunctional family, they were my solace, my joy, and often my escape. I was reading the adventures of Dick and Jane (and the irrepressible Spot) on my own by the time I was three. By third grade I had gone through all of the works of Jules Verne, and did a fifth grade book report on Tolstoy's War and Peace (my teacher confessed to me that she had never read it).

I also tried to write as soon as I could string enough letters together to make words. Sappy diaries, awful short stories, incredibly atrocious poetry - even really, really, bad song lyrics.

Didn't matter, I was writing.

It was a long time before I found proper outlets for this urge to put pen to paper. In my late thirties, I wrote ad copy during my stint as a part-time radio jock in Charles Town, West Virginia. I also wrote a few editorials for the local newspaper, The Spirit of Jefferson, which were lucid enough that they hired me to write a neighborhood column.

As I moved into the world of computers, networks, and the internet, I began writing technical papers. Troubleshooting guides, Installation procedures, and other such scintillating works. My work with a local ISP led to a teaching gig at a local community college, where I taught computer and networking certification courses. More technical docs, lesson plans, and I even designed a course book for Installing and Configuring Apache Web Server.

This continued as I segued into a career as a network technician working in the US Senate - more troubleshooting guides, more installation docs, and even a few how-to videos.

During the dark days following the loss of my first wife Carolyn to cancer, I wrote almost daily trying to make sense of it all.

But I didn't really begin writing things that the general public might actually want to read until I was 55, when Rita and I moved to Salinas, Ecuador.

It started with a submission to International Living about a little Ecuadorian boy showing us his new puppy at a local restaurant, which they promptly turned down. However, the editor did like the style, and asked me if I would write a profile piece about ourselves and why we chose Salinas. I did, they bought it, and that was enough to get the ball rolling.

I submitted periodically for another year or so, when at 57 I realized due to our reduced cost of living, I didn't really need to keep working for the Senate. I took the leap, and IL decided to offer me a retained position as the "Ecuador Coastal Correspondent". Since I would only write about things I had really experienced, this led to more travel - first up and down the coast, then into the Andes of Ecuador, and eventually to Peru, Uruguay, and Argentina. More articles for IL, an article request from The Wall Street Journal, and exposure in The Huffington Post followed.

After over 200 published works, I finally decided to take the plunge, and write something of my own. My first publication was an incredibly poorly timed book based on our trip to the Galápagos Islands in August of 2019. You can read a sample or even purchase below that work, The Galápagos Islands: On Your Own and On a Budget.



It was a great book, well researched, useful information, wonderful color photos, and fun to read. The only problem was that within a few days of publication, travel to the Galápagos was shutdown due to COVID-19. Worse, as of July of 2021, although tourism has resumed to the Islands, they are still requiring all visitors to have a guide with them at all times. Even in the free public areas I so carefully listed in the book.

In short, the whole concept of "on your own" was blown.

Oh well. Que será, será. Maybe things will open up again in the future.


After years of writing about the expat life, giving talks at conferences, meeting potential expats, and listening to their questions and concerns, I knew that there were a lot of misconceptions about living abroad. Not only that, some of the information out there was incomplete at best and blatantly wrong at worst.

I wanted to write a book that would take a look at some of the more common myths and fears about expat life, and look at them through the lens of my six years of experience. I did not want to sugar-coat anything - in fact, I stated right up front that this was not intended to be a how-to expat book, or even a why-to book. I wanted to give my honest opinions based on real-life examples and let the reader decide if it would work in their lives.

The only problem was that about half of the material would be taken from articles I had written for IL, who still had full rights to the work. Worse, it was from my original submissions, so not all of it actually made it into the publications. This made it almost impossible to cite what was what, and threatened to complicate or even stop the whole shebang.

Fortunately, when I reached out to International's Living they were incredibly generous. The publisher herself gave me permission to use the material, merely in exchange for including an acknowledgement to IL for allowing it. Even more incredible, she also was willing to waive any editorial control over the finished work! This was huge, since I explained I would be going after some of the Sacred Cows of the international retirement genre.

The result was a funny, entertaining, and ultimately very useful look at what it is really like to live overseas. This has been my most popular work to date, with a 4.8 rating in Amazon. It is available as an e-book, paperback, and now a hardcover edition as well. Here is the link to preview/purchase Living Abroad: Challenging the Myths of Expat Life.



I have a couple of book projects in the works now, but I recently took some time to publish some smaller works in Series on Amazon. These are in the form of e-books only, and range from short stories at $0.99 each, longer works for $1.99, and so on.

The first of those series is Short Takes! , a collection of short stories taken from real-life events. I'll be adding more, but for now they include a story about an old body playing a young man's sport, a prank gone wrong at the US Senate, struggles with stage fright, and a story of the love and loss of a household pet.

There is also the series Travels With Jim and Rita. There you can find summaries of some of the places that Rita and I have visited. These are not meant as travel guides, rather they are glimpses into what it is like to explore in new lands. I have also release an e-book as part of this series that covers the Inca Trail Hike itself, complete with many color photos.

It is titled cleverly enough Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu , and costs only $2.99.

Lastly, I have started to release some of my work as audiobooks, available on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible. For a full list of currently available titles, check out Jim's Audiobooks.


Hope that you enjoyed this, and I look forward to your feedback if you choose to read any of my work. As always, happy to answer any questions, any time.

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