Archive for April, 2014

Health – Climate Comfort

Posted in Blogging, Economy, Family, Health with tags , , , , , , on 2014/04/28 by rmolby

Have you ever thought about your own comfort levels, physically, and if you are not comfortable with where you live, maybe moving to a part of your country or somewhere on this globe that might be more to your liking?

Well, the wife and I are extremely sensitive to extreme temperatures. The wife has a genetic condition that doesn’t allow her body to regulate heat very well because she cannot perspire sufficiently to stay cool, so when temperatures rise above 72ºF (22.2ºC) she starts struggling. Her comfort range realistically ends at 70ºF (21.1ºC). I personally feel fine until we get above 80ºF (26.7ºC), and start hating the heat above 85ºF (29.4ºC), but I can tolerate all the way to 92ºF (33.3ºC). However, I feel like I am getting less and less tolerant to heat, so I prefer to stay below 78ºF (25.6ºC).

Now, going in the other direction, the wife will wear shorts and sandals at temps below 50ºF (10ºC), and only wear a light coat and Capri-Style jeans at temps between 30ºF (-1.1ºC) and 50ºF (10ºC). She won’t start wearing sneakers or boots until temp reach below 30ºF (-1.1ºC)! However, this winter she has become less tolerant to colder temperatures, and anything below 40ºF (4.4ºC) seemed uncomfortable for her. My personal lower limit is 60ºF (15.6ºC), and I start putting on a light cotton knit sweater and jeans, anything below 50ºF (10ºC) I am wearing at least a light to medium weight jacket, along with the sweater, and if we dip below 40ºF (4.4ºC) I am wearing a decent medium to heavy coat, gloves, and something warmer than sneakers.

The consensus the wife and I have come to is that we need places to live where temperatures do not exceed 78ºF (25.6ºC) on the high side and don’t go below freezing very much in the cool season. This limits the choices we have, and I have been looking for places all around the planet that come close to our ideals.

The wife has been dreaming about moving to Anchorage, Alaska, and looking at the last 5 years of weather there, temperatures are between 6ºF (-14.4ºC) and 71ºF (21.7ºC), so the wife would feel fine there, but it would be too cold for me in the winter. The other issue is that you are pretty much cut off from civilization if modern air and ship travel get impacted by weather or natural disasters, and the other factor is that it is very expensive to live in Alaska, even in Anchorage.

Several years, before I married my current wife, I had read about a place in Ecuador named Vilcabamba, in the southern part of the country, that I read was a health nut’s paradise because the temperatures are between 68ºF (20ºC) and 89ºF (31.7ºC) all year long, and the land is so productive that you can grow anything all year long. I would be able to live there just fine, but the wife would struggle with the warm season.

About 3-4 years ago I came across an article about another place in Ecuador, Cotacachi, near Quito, that stays between 48ºF (8.9ºC) and 70ºF (21.1ºC), the perfect overlap range for both of use to be happy, and the cost of living is below that of the USA, and after the last currency default, the Ecuadorian government decided to adopt the US Dollar as their own currency, and being in a trade agreement with the USA, many American citizens decide to retire in Ecuador because of the lower cost of living.

There are warmer and colder areas than Cotacachi, and several of the larger cities in Ecuador offer high-tech jobs and many of the these same cities are progressive and modern and offer many conveniences like equivalent cities in North America and Europe, so there is employment opportunity for younger folks, too.

So, it seems to be the perfect place to move to, until today, when I read about a town in southern Chile, Punta Arenas. It is at the tip if South America, and was the port city of choice for any ship circumnavigating South America, to stop and resupply at, until the Panama Canal went into operation. Today the city is know for excellent tourism, wool, fish and beef production, and forestry products. Temperatures are between 29F and 60F, a little cool for me but I can live with it.

So, I think I would prefer to live in Cotacachi as my first choice, due to to the economic ties to the USA. And with so many American ExPats living there, I would imagine it would be the better choice. Also, since Ecuador is pushing hard to attract high-tech jobs, I think this is where we should go if we decide to become ExPats ourselves.

The other thought that had crossed our mind is to have several places we call home, and move with the seasons from Alaska, to Ecuador, to souther Chile, and maybe a place or two in between.

I will explore that idea in another post, later…

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