Escape to Medellin
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All posts by Cartess Ross

Adjusting to Life in Medellin

Adjusting to Life in Medellin Can Be Difficult if You Don’t Do This!

So … we’ve been living as locals in Medellin Colombia for nearly 5 months now. And already, I’m missing friends back home.

One of the mistakes we made when we first got here was making friends with other gringos and expats passing through. The thing about those expats passing through is that you will make a great connection with some, and before long, they’re leaving. Not good for you if you’re trying to establish more permanent roots.

All of the transients leaving will make your life more miserable because you start missing everybody and you start to get even more homesick.

I made a video about this previously, but one of our YouTube subscribers (naxis5000) made a great comment and offered the following advice:

“Having lived in a number of countries and locations, this is what you need to do:

  1. Avoid temporary people like the plague. This is a big subject on its own.
  2. Avoid making friends with other expats…at least until you are certain they are there long term. Even then, limit the time you spend with them.
  3. Join clubs/societies that locals go to. You will get the best of where ever you live if you have local friends giving you knowledge etc. This could be a martial art, hiking clubs, yoga, whatever. Do something you enjoy but with local people.
    I did this with salsa dancing when I did not speak a word of the language and now have really great and reliable friends from doing that 10 years ago. You know your there when you start being invited to weddings and christenings.
  4. Bury yourself in the language (TV, reading all in the local language). You can work in whatever language you need to. At some point things will begin to click.
  5. Take lessons in the language, but not in groups or you will end up with only English speaking expats (see 2) around you.
  6. Avoid having quests too often until you have a great life with local friends and can speak enough of the language to get by socially.

Do this and you will be happier at the end of your first 6 months. Otherwise, people tend to reach a peak of unhappiness at about 5-8 months where either they change or they need to leave.”

After being here for nearly 5-months, I’m just starting to realize the importance of all the points made above. If you’re looking to stay here permanently, the advice above will help you.

Many people leave within 6-12 months because they can’t adapt. You gotta make local friends and setup a routine as you did back at home. Otherwise, you’ll go crazy after the fun and excitement wears off.

Please share your thoughts or experiences below...

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Retiring to Medellin

After Losing His Entire Life Savings, This Guy is Living the Good Life in Medellin on a $1,400 Social Security Check!

Retiring to Medellin

Surviving on a $1,400 monthly social security in the United States wasn’t looking good for Ned. So he did the unthinkable.

He decided to look abroad to see where he might be able to stretch that $1,400 so that he could actually upgrade his quality of life … And then he found this beautiful gem.

Medellin is a great place to restart and get your life back together. After working hard and saving money for most of his life, he lost it all to a fraudulent investment scam (ponzi scheme).

Left with only a $1,400 monthly social security check, he knew he couldn’t survive on that income in the United States. He needed to find a loophole that would let him live and have more on less.

Watch the story as Ned breakdown how his move from the United States actually upgraded his lifestyle …

  • Ned has his own penthouse suite
  • Has a housekeeper that comes by once a week to clean his 3-level penthouse ($13 bucks)
  • Goes out to lunch/dinner a few times each month
  • Has dinner parties with friends
  • Goes to the movies (and watches them in English)
  • Has a gym membership and goes a few times each week
  • Fills his refrigerator with more for far less than in the U.S.
  • Can take $2 taxi rides to the mall if he doesn’t feel like walking
  • Can take cheap flights to beautiful beaches (for like $75 bucks)

Click the play button to watch the video below:

What do you think about this interview? I hope you’ve found it helpful.

If you have questions you’d like me to ask Ned during our next round of interviews, post them in the comments box below.

Would you like to get on the phone and consult with Ned? Click HERE:

Got questions about Medellin? Post your comments and/or questions in the comments box below!

Please share this page to help spread the word about this amazing country!

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Moving to Colombia

Help!!! My Husband Wants to Relocate to Colombia. I’m Kind of Scared!

People generally freakout when you tell them you’re visiting or moving to Colombia. You’d be shocked at the responses we got when telling folks we were going to be living in Medellin!

Anyhow… I received the following e-mail from one of our subscribers and wanted to share this with you. It shows the fears and concerns people really have about moving to Colombia.

Good afternoon, I know you now live your life in Colombia with you family. I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions about that move. What made you make that move with your family? What steps helped you make that decision? I’m asking these question b/c my husband is from Colombia and wants to relocate us (our family of 4) there.

But as an american living here my whole life of course I’m kind of scared. Is there anyway you can convince me that it would be the right decision for us. I have two children 12y and 6y. i would really appreciate the help. thanks in advance.”

In response to her comment, I decided to post a video so everyone could benefit … I imagine many others share the same concerns. Watch the video below:

I hope you’ve found this useful

But one of the best responses I liked came from Sara … One of our YouTube subscribers. Take a look at the comment she wrote below.

Living and traveling abroad truly opens your mind and frees you from the constraints of the American “dream”. It can also free your time as you mentioned.

When our family moved to W. Africa I decided to finish off my doctoral studies that I had stopped a few years prior due to my busy schedule and hectic lifestyle.

I literally had so much free time and was far less stressed than I had ever been in the U.S. I have been able to focus with a much higher level of clarity and understanding than before. You don’t realize how much you hustle in the U.S. until you come out.

It’s almost as if you don’t know what to do with yourself once you have the freedom that life in other countries oftentimes affords. Maybe she can even visit for a month or so before making the move. It can help her get a feel for what it’s like if she is having doubts and fears.

Because Columbia may not be for her but getting out of her comfort zone can give her new perspective and possibly open her up to living someone else. Also, I feel you about staying in Columbia for a while with your family.

It’s great to have a “home base” while traveling abroad. You can always travel periodically from your location while still having the stability and comfort of having your own home. This is what our family does. We generally travel abroad about twice a year for 2-4 week stints.

It breaks the monotony and gives us a chance to explore other countries, yet we still have a sense of security knowing that we have a “home” to come back to.

– Sara

Feel free to share your comments and/or questions below in the comments box. When I know more about what you’d like to know, I’ll make the effort to get an answer from someone who knows.


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Taboo Topics to Avoid in Medellin

Avoid This Taboo Topic While Visiting Medellin Colombia

Pablo Escobar is a very sensitive topic here in Medellin, and I’ve heard stories where taxi and Uber drivers put passengers out of their cars due to the sensitivity of this topic.

I’ve heard firsthand accounts of the horrors families had to deal with during Pablo’s reign of terror on this country. They’ve shared stories of seeing body parts scattered all over the streets after a bombing. They’ve shared stories of loved ones taken away and never seen again.

When you come to Medellin, be mindful of this topic … The people you’re talking to likely lost someone very dear to them…

Watch the video below to get the full story…

Got questions about Medellin? Post your comments and/or questions in the comments box below!

Please share this page to help spread the word about this amazing country!

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Hot Sun

Beware of This One Thing Before Renting or Buying a Condo in Medellin

Hot Sun

Prior to moving to Medellin Colombia, I’ve never lived in a condo before. So far, I’ve lived in two condos since being here. The first was a beautiful condo in the Conquistadores neighborhood of Luareles … And the other is where I’m currently at now in La Frontera, which is in-between El Poblado and Envigado.

The benefit to renting is that it allows you to get familiar with a neighborhood, along with the amenities and benefits of the area. Things like nearby grocery stores, restaurants, parks, etc…

But I never considered this issue prior to moving into my new place in La Frontera… Watch the video below to get a full breakdown of what I’m talking about:

Feel free to share your comments below … To see what our YouTube subscribers thought of this video, see comments here

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Medellin Skyline

OMG … Get $253 Rent in Medellin


Medellin Skyline

Well … This example actually shows a place in Envigado, but the strategy is the same for any place in and around Medellin, Colombia.

Take a look at the video below to discover how you can save a fortune using the method outlined in the video below … Click the play button to watch:

Please share and leave your comments below

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Comuna 13

Violence and Crime in Colombia?

Comuna 13

An quite amazing transformation has taken place in Colombia, and statistics are showing that crime in this South American country is way down.

As you may (or may not) know, a 52-year old civil war has recently come to an end. I found a great piece aired by 60 minutes that you might find helpful. I think this will help open up the door for more people to come explore this beautiful country.

Play the video below:

Feel free to leave your comments/questions below in the comments box.

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Can I watch NetFlix in Medellin Colombia

Can I Watch Netflix in Medellin?

On Demand Movies in Colombia

What about Hulu, Amazon On Demand, DIRECTV or AppleTV … can I watch those in Colombia? I’ve got some good news, and some not sooo good news …

Play the video below to find out the details:

NetFlix definitely works in Colombia
 … The apartment we’re renting came with Smart TVs in all of the bedrooms and living room. The first thing the kids checked for was NetFlix. They loaded up our login details and boom … It worked!

Does AppleTV work in Medellin, Colombia?

I failed to bring up AppleTV in the video. We brought our AppleTV with us from the United States. I’m not sure if they sell them here. But it works flawlessly here as well.

We’ve used it daily in the first apartment in Laureles. Since moving to La Frontera neighborhood, we haven’t unpacked it … But I will as soon as I finish writing up this post, lol.

When using your Apple TV, just make sure to go into your settings and update your location and other settings.

What About Amazon On Demand and DIRECTV?

Well … One of the T.V.s  in the condo has the Amazon On Demand app on it and we were able to login successfully and pick up on our favorite shows (the ones that haven’t made it too NetFlix yet). So yes … Amazon On Demand works just fine.

DIRECTV – Everywhere I go, I see their satellite dishes on buildings. I don’t have personal experience with the service, but I’ve spoken to quite a few sports fans here that have said they’re able to watch all of their favorite shows and sports packages (including U.S. football and basketball).

I did see a few NFL games broadcasting when I ate at a few of the local bars and restaurants.

Hulu on the other hand does not work here. You’ll need an U.S. based I.P. address to make it work. Fortunately, there is a workaround. You can purchase and download a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that lets you connect to a secure U.S. based IP address.

Once you’re on the VPN, you can watch Hulu on your laptop (and then connect it to your T.V.). If you typically watch your shows on a smart phone, then you can add the software to your phone and watch your shows from your phone as well.

Sometimes when trying to login to my bank, I have an issue because the security features from the bank won’t allow me to login directly because they recognize the foreign I.P. address I’m connecting from. So having a secure VPN has saved my butt many times.

The VPN service I use is through a company called Private Internet Access. The service is awesome and it’s very easy unlike the others to setup. It costs $39.95 per year and I can use it on up to 5 devices too (laptop, cell phones, tablets, etc..)

If you access the internet through public wifi hotspots, shared internet routers, which is the case if you’re renting condos here in Medellin, then your data, files and privacy may be at risk. Having a VPN allows you to connect through a service that utilizes high grade encryption.

Now that I’ve used this type of service, I don’t think I’ll ever get on public wi-fi without it. You can use it anywhere in the world and you don’t notice a decrease in speed. I just feel better knowing my data and passwords I type into my computer are encrypted while I’m on a public network … Especially when I’m out on my phone … I have very private and sensitive data stored there.

If you found this post helpful, please share with your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter, and InstaGram.

*Disclosure: Links in my posts may include recommendations to services I use. In many of these instances, I earn a commission. I just want to be upfront and make you aware of that. I realize many of you are looking for advice and I’ll do my best to ensure I’m recommending the best options available.

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Doctor Making House Call in Medellin

YES!!! Doctors in Medellin Still Make House Calls

The quality of life in Medellin gets better day by day … As of this post, we’ve only been in Medellin Colombia for about 75 days. We’re still in love with this amazing city, and even after nearly 8 weeks, something new continues to happen that makes us fall in love even more.

While working away on my laptop, I noticed my 8 year old girl Charli, still had this nagging cough. Just seemed like it wouldn’t go away. It’s one of those things where you hear it differently on a particular day, and say to yourself, ‘ why is that cough still lurking around…’

So with that, I turned to the Internet to find a local clinic or hospital.  I still haven’t been here long enough to determine which hospital or clinic was closest too me, or which one was better. But one thing I can say for sure, there are a no shortages of hospitals or clinics here in Medellin.

As I started to search and search, I started to make myself sick by wondering ‘how in the world was I going to communicate with these folks at the hospital?’

My Spanish speaking skills are horrible. I break out in cold sweats when I’m forced to carry on long conversations where I have no idea what they’re talking about, and where they don’t have a clue as to what I’m saying.

About the only reliable thing I can say with extreme confidence is … ‘Mi español es muy malo’, which means ‘my Spanish is VERY bad’ (although my Spanish is getting better week by week).

Anyhow, as I continued my online search for doctors in Medellin, I started to come across a few facilities that indicated they had translators available.

But what blew me away was the listings of doctors that would come by your house … You know, good ‘old-fashioned’ house-calls.

We managed to get a hold of a local Colombian doctor that spoke English. My wife called and explained what was going on and we were hoping to get an appointment set over the next couple days, but when she said, “I can come by today”, we were shocked.

I went online and found great reviews about this young lady and decided to set the appointment. As of this writing, her fee to make a house call was $150.000.00 pesos (about $50 U.S. Dollars).

She came over and gave my daughter a full work-up.

Doctor Making House Call in Medellin

Haley Getting Her Check-up

After watching Charli get her work-up, I decided to get everyone checked out … Since she was already here, it only made sense for all of us to get checked out and put into her system.

She created a file for each of us and of course, my blood pressure was high, and I suspected my blood sugar was elevated (I haven’t quite followed a proper diet since being here).

She ordered a bunch of labs for me and some for my wife. On Tuesday, my wife and I will make a trip to the laboratory to get our labs done. It’s about a 3-4 mile ride up the road in Uber and will cost about $1.50 – $1.75 for the trip.

She told me each of the labs will run anywhere from about $5 – $7 bucks a piece (U.S. Dollars). In the U.S., I regularly paid $90-$150 for routine blood work every 6 months.

We absolutely fell in love with our doctor. She was amazing. Another plus about this doctor is her deep passion for nutrition and wellness. She feels there are a lot of natural ways to heal various ailments versus using medication as the primary line of defence.

I’ve been on blood pressure medicine for at least the last 15 years and I’m ready to get off the stuff. She feels very confident that she can help me eventually get off the meds.

In fact, she came back to our house the following day and took us to the ‘La Minorista’ market in Medellin. This market is like a HUGE warehouse where you can go in and get fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, teas, fish, and meats of all sorts.

The place is probably about the size of about 2-3 home depots put together, and some parts have 2 levels. From my understanding, this is the small market. The larger one is called ‘La Majorista’.

We spent several hours there and she and her husband took us around and showed us how to identify which fruits and vegetables to get. This was important because in many cases, we were purchasing food that had not fully ripen. So this was great.

Now tell me this… How many doctors in the United States would do this for their patients?

Not many…

When I go get my labs next week, I’ll make sure to update you all on how that experience goes … I’m very anxious to see this for myself.

In the interim, I made a quick video clip highlighting some of the information the doctor shared with me about the foods and chemicals used in those foods that could make you sick and even cause cancer.

Click the play button to watch (turn up your volume, I didn’t have my mic on).

If you found this video and/or content helpful, please share this with your family and friends… And please leave your comments down below.

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Selling Our Stuff

How We Ditched Everything We Owned and Made Our Way to Medellin

Been getting a surge of e-mails from people talking about how they’ve been spending 2-3 years planning their travel abroad. It seriously don’t take that long to get this all sorted out. For us, once we made the decision, we was out within a couple weeks.

We sold everything we owned (and what we couldn’t sell, we gave it away and threw the rest in a big 20-feet dumpster we rented.

Play the video below to get the full-story of how we pulled this off in record time:

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below:

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