These Things Comfort Me

Comfortable and Familiar


These are the items of which you could say "These things comfort me". Not one would, of itself, be decisive in deciding to which country you might retire. Cumulatively they might tip the balance between one country and another. Certainly the political system might be responsible for or able to change some of these items. Most are not major concerns in the obtaining or retention of power.


It is within the powers of the government to decide which should be the national language. In many ex-colonial territories the language of the former colonial power is adopted as the national language. There are good reasons for this. Colonial borders were drawn for the convenience of the ruling power. Frequently s river was decided upon as a national border regardless of the fact that the same tribe lived on both banks. Thus a local language was used in both countries. This happened where the Luapula River divided Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Belgian Congo). Belgium has its own multilingual problems with both Dutch (Flemish) and French being national languages in Belgium. In the African colony it was French which became dominant. In Zambia English was adopted as the national language at independence. The reasons for these decisions is clear when it is known that there are some seventy-two languages in Zambia and some two hundred and forty-two in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

It's all Foreign to Me

Many people, particularly older persons, have a difficulty learning a new language. It is a great "comfort me" factor to be able to go to a country where the national and business (including banking) language is one's native tongue. Beware of places of which it is said that you need only speak, say, English. This is mentioned in all the publicity for the Philippines but without acquiring, quickly, some facility in Tagalog you will be vulnerable to many problems.

The Climate

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You Got the Right Island?

It is very likely that a better climate is one factor that is sought when choosing a country to which to retire. This might be considered especially the case if you are from the United Kingdom. British weather is notoriously unpredictable and frequently unpleasant and usually only minimally mitigated by a short summer. Although anecdotally the British weather is to be escaped it is also the case that most retirees from the temperate zones are looking for something better. Extremes of heat and humidity are easy to find in tropical regions. In such areas it is often the case that hills or mountains can provide graduated relief from coastal extremes, desert excesses and severe coastal storms (cyclones, hurricanes or typhoons). The climate is an important "comfort me" consideration

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The Geography

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Climb, Hike or Swim?

Often a great "comfort me" situation is the ability to continue to do something that you have always done in your country of origin. It may be that swimming in the sea, walking the moorlands or climbing mountains are simply things that you do not want to give up. If the geography of the new prospective country offers the opportunity to continue a favourite pursuit then that is very much in its favor. If a dip in the ocean is not accompanied by that numbing icy feeling or breasting the summit of the climb has not required a trudge through snow or slush in driving, cold rain then perhaps you have found your ideal place.

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Comfort me! Don't distract me! I'm Driving

Driving? Dead Easy!

The split between countries which drive on the right compared with the left is about 60% to 40%. It is not difficult to get used to the change if necessary although it is less easy with advancing years. If you have had to change any distraction however minor can cause you to revert to your "natural" practice and become involved in a traffic accident. This may be an extreme and unlikely situation but it is a fact that it usually easier to get a local license if you come from a country which drove on the same side of the road as does the new country. Some countries require neither a practical nor a theoretical test to obtain a local license if a change in the side of the road is not involved. Driving is such a major part of modern life that you will be happy if you can say "It is a comfort me factor that something so vital and important is so easy." It is also the case that public transport is either totally lacking or of a very poor standard in many Third World countries so driving assumes a greater importance than such a relatively minor skill might otherwise attract.

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The Time Zone

Time? Take your Pick

This phenomenon has been discussed elsewhere in some detail. It is an important factor because it is almost inevitable that there will be a need and desire to be able to contact the previous country. It may be for banking and asset protection reasons or because of the desire for continued family contact but a convenient "window of opportunity" for telephone calls and internet access may be a vital "comfort me" factor. The local government will make decisions about daylight saving but not usually about east/west time zones. Along with the time zone situation the availability of good telephone and internet access goes hand-in-hand with. Such services are within the province of the government to provide basic conditions for good services it is common for private suppliers to provide facilities to individuals.

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It's all Available

This is a very variable factor because it is normal for you to support your local team whatever the sport might be. If cricket is important to you then you will be well served in the Caribbean. Soccer, basketball and netball are gathering momentum in this region also. In South America football is the great game although tennis is now also popular. Cricket is the national sport in Australia but rugby league, rugby union, basketball, netball, soccer and that local peculiarity Australian Rules Football. New Zealand matches Australia in all of these pursuits except the latter. Most choices are available in the U.S.A. along with another local oddity, gridiron, or American Football. All things are available in Europe including the American and Australian varieties of football. Television services also bring the possibility for you to follow your sporting desire in most countries so this is perhaps less of a "comfort me" situation than most.

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No Pick

This or That : Go or No Go

None of the above factors will determine your choice for retirement residence. All will color and add nuances to your research and ultimate decision. It will take time to come to a  decision, perhaps years. This why you need to make your plans early and cover all details. It may be too late once your are "there'. If your final choice includes your needs in most of the above factors then you can truly say that "I have found the place that comforts me."

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You can buy books by Les on specific countries for Kindle or for other readers at the retailers mentioned below.

You can also buy a Kindle device from Amazon for reading the e-books that you purchase.

Just click below where appropriate.


The Philippines



Dominican Republic






New Zealand


Retirement Abroad - Your Complete Resource

A Short English Grammar

Your World

Selected titles also available at SmashWords for the Nook and other e-readers and Apple Customers

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