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Phone the neighbors, wake the kids, time for a major announcement! There's a new podcast called, “Travels With Jim and Rita", with yours truly as the host.
I know, just what a troubled country needs right now, yet another podcast.
But this one is different! Because … well, because I’m hosting it, I guess. And one of the few podcasts where you won’t have to listen to Ye.
This has been a few years coming, so here’s the background. Way back in the halcyon days of February 2020, I was approached by IL to host a podcast called “New Rules for Retirement”. I agreed, and we put together seven pretty decent episodes – just in time to have COVID-19 shut down international travel. The project was still born, dropped before any episodes could be released, and moved to a back burner. Way, way, back.
The time was not wasted, however, as I wrote and published several books and short stories, produced two audiobooks for others and seven of my own work, and managed to maintain some contact with the folks at International Living by doing voiceover work for some of their internet ads and videos.
Fast forward to the fall of 2022, when I decided to see if I could have a table at the “Fast-Track Your Retirement Bootcamp” that IL held in Atlanta in October. I thought I might be able to sell some copies of a few of my books, particularly “
Living Abroad: Challenging the Myths of Expat Life”. After all, I would be surrounded by my target audience.
Much to my surprise and delight, IL was not only receptive to the idea, they offered the space in the Exhibit Hall in exchange for agreeing to answer any questions attendees may have about Ecuador. I would have to pay for the hotel stay and travel, but still, a great opportunity.
I had no illusions I would sell enough books to cover the expenses. After all, in addition to travel and accommodations, meals, advertising banner, business cards, and credit card processing equipment, I would also have to purchase in advance (at “Author’s copy prices”, which basically covers Amazon’s printing costs) the books I would be selling.
Nevertheless, it was a great experience. I got a lot of positive feedback from conference goers who bought copies, and while I didn’t break the NYTimes Best Sellers list, I did have a few days where “Living Abroad” hit #1 in its category on Amazon.
More importantly, I had time to chat with a few editors from International Living, including those involved in digital marketing and social media. Turns out the IL was preparing to take the magazine completely online, as well as adding new digital features including (wait for it) a podcast.
I picked up a couple of new voice-over jobs, and was asked if I would be interested in hosting the weekly podcast,
"The International Living Podcast". I accepted, and within a few weeks we had laid out the framework of the show, and lined up the first few interviews.
While one of the purposes of the podcast is to expand on articles published in
International Living magazine, not all episodes are about the classic “retire for less” motif. For example, one episode looks at becoming a “digital nomad”- working from home is great, but why not work from a Caribbean beach or as you tour Europe? Another introduces the upscale option of buying a condo on a globe-circling cruise ship. I’ve had a lot of fun doing the interviews, and the podcast had 57 episodes, over 250,000 downloads and was in the top 1% of all podcasts by the end of 2024!
So naturally, in 2024 International Living decided to put it on hold.

Meanwhile, Rita and I had made a rather radical decision - to try and sell our home and car, invest the money in secure high-interest savings accounts, and set out to roam the world for two or three years.
Are we crazy? Did COVID affect our brains? Possibly.

You can follow along real time by following our new podcast, "
Travels With Jim and Rita". Rather intriguing is also the possibility of banking money outside the US. For example, Uruguay has some accounts currently paying a fixed rate of 7 or even 8% for one-year commitments. So, much to our surprise and delight, we were finding that we can potentially travel the world and actually earn money while we do it.

Meanwhile, we can keep an eye on the US real estate market and time our future re-entry to coincide with the next downturn in prices, or just keep traveling as long as we're physically able. Our plan would be to spend at least nine months each year abroad and come to the US in the summer to visit our kids and nine grandchildren while they're out of school.

 Plans are in motion, and you can find "Travels With Jim and Rita"by clicking on the link, or with a quick search on any of the major podcast platforms. The show is absolutely free, and as they say in the business, “Be sure to Like and Subscribe!”

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