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Thinking of Retiring.


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On 9/8/2022 at 10:13 AM, James Arryn said:

Nowhere near retiring, but am in Florence to see the Tuscan villa we bought for the first time, which feels like a definite step in that direction. Work to live if you need to or absolutely love what you do, otherwise get out as soon as you viably can. 

James Arryn -- that's interesting and cool! From what I understand, Tuscany is a favorite for Americans, but I'm starting to come across more examples of people buying in the cheaper areas, like the boot heel. Are you remodeling the villa? Rustic? Home or vacation home? Does it have any history?

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58 minutes ago, Wade1865 said:

James Arryn -- that's interesting and cool! From what I understand, Tuscany is a favorite for Americans, but I'm starting to come across more examples of people buying in the cheaper areas, like the boot heel. Are you remodeling the villa? Rustic? Home or vacation home? Does it have any history?

My wife’s father was born closer to the boot heel, and we love many places in Europe…before the twins I spent about half of every year travelling, mostly Europe, and could enjoy living a great many places. Canada is, imo, from a governmental and popular standpoint, making almost all the right choices for how a society should be run, at least relative to most, and I really appreciate the benefits I get from that, but first as a history guy I want to live some of my life somewhere with echoes I understand, and second I think the European/Mediterranean way of life…working to live, not the other way around, etc. and all that means…is just a better, healthier lifestyle.
 

I don’t want our girls to grow up worshiping the all-mighty dollar, eating lunch at their desk, etc. and playing the game of whoever has the most money when they die wins. I’d rather they actually enjoy how they live by their experiences and relationships, not try to by way of possessions and tax bracket. I also realize there’s a very good chance one or both of them might decide something different for themselves, but I want to give them some foundation in what we think is healthier and happier and then they can plot their own course from there, my only demand of them…well, impotent demand, but you get me…is that they not hurt people, otherwise if they’re happy that’s us happy. (Obviously if they turn out w/e Trumpist is by their day that will put us to the test. ;) )

Italy was the first country we visited together and was very formative in our appreciation of that lifestyle, and there were a few places we considered living…we were married in the Lake District of northern Italy…and in particular Siena really grabbed us. So too did Avignon and Normandy and Andalusia and the Dordogne, etc. but we chose Florence because my wife’s company loves her and will facilitate a move to their division there…Montpellier was another serious contender, but Italy had the added sense of my wife going back to her roots, has family there, and me, a complete mutt with like 10 different ethnic composites have never felt that about anywhere and am kinda looking forward to getting some off that through her and passing that on to our kids. 

The other benefit of Europe is so many distinct flavours are just a quick flight away, and I both enjoy that constant easy access to different cultures/lifestyles/ways of thinking and think my kids will benefit greatly from exposure to it (and we both grew up multilingual and think it really helps in many ways and want that for them) And I’ve spent enough years walking European streets that I don’t think I have a very idealized picture anymore, I think I somewhat get what it is and isn’t, or rather what they are and aren’t. 

As to the villa, it’s not a fixer upper, the older empty nest couple (half Italian half Brit) rented the lower two stories out as an Airbnb and had hundreds and hundreds of rave reviews…there are a couple changes we want to make, specifically getting more comprehensive air conditioning, but aesthetically it's just great, on a hilltop surrounded on three sides by olive farms and a view all the way to the sea, and we bought it with the contents included as they fit so perfectly and allow us to use it as a low effort second home/friends vacation spot until we finally take the plunge. Even then we’ll likely keep our townhouse in Toronto and rent it out once we move there, we have the lake house up by Parry Sound to stay at when we want to visit home, and her parents extra condo on the Toronto lakeshore. The house itself has a long though so far as I know unremarkable history*, parts date back to the 12th century, though it is only part of what was once a great country estate whose buildings have been separated into 4 villas. Part of the ~ plan is to start buying up other properties in the region and renting them out as holiday homes. My wife is good with money and I am good with people. We’ll see.

And we haven’t decided this will be where we’ll retire one day, we might end up in, say, Provence or on a Greek island or many other options…and I think I’d like to live at least one year in Venice before I die, it's just so unlike anywhere else…but we’ll take it as it comes. And if we miss Canada so much we end up moving back, well, we see that as value added too. 

Btw I do agree that Tuscany is a bit too touristy, but we’ll be ~ 45 minutes from Florence, nearer smaller ancient hill towns and a couple cities, so it works for us, we think. If not we can go another way. Anyways, life’s an adventure, the only one we get, so why not try?

*But it’s a relatively short walk to Leonardo’s birthplace/family home, so there’s that.  

Edited by James Arryn
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13 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

...

James Arryn -- oh, wow; thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed reading it! Europe as a whole is my favorite place to spend extended periods of time, besides NYC. Understand the family and lifestyle considerations, I do think what you're planning and preparing for is superior to what I'd typically find in mainstream America / Canada.

On the aesthetics and geography, it sounds amazing, hahaha! I recall researching, and even considered, some of the extrememly cheap, older houses in Italy (and Ireland; but now, Ukraine). Love the idea of olive trees, actually; I'd grow one my own, if I lived in Italy / Greece. Your overall intention is solid, good for you!

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11 hours ago, James Arryn said:

My wife’s father was born closer to the boot heel, and we love many places in Europe…before the twins I spent about half of every year travelling, mostly Europe, and could enjoy living a great many places. Canada is, imo, from a governmental and popular standpoint, making almost all the right choices for how a society should be run, at least relative to most, and I really appreciate the benefits I get from that, but first as a history guy I want to live some of my life somewhere with echoes I understand, and second I think the European/Mediterranean way of life…working to live, not the other way around, etc. and all that means…is just a better, healthier lifestyle.
 

I don’t want our girls to grow up worshiping the all-mighty dollar, eating lunch at their desk, etc. and playing the game of whoever has the most money when they die wins. I’d rather they actually enjoy how they live by their experiences and relationships, not try to by way of possessions and tax bracket. I also realize there’s a very good chance one or both of them might decide something different for themselves, but I want to give them some foundation in what we think is healthier and happier and then they can plot their own course from there, my only demand of them…well, impotent demand, but you get me…is that they not hurt people, otherwise if they’re happy that’s us happy. (Obviously if they turn out w/e Trumpist is by their day that will put us to the test. ;) )

Italy was the first country we visited together and was very formative in our appreciation of that lifestyle, and there were a few places we considered living…we were married in the Lake District of northern Italy…and in particular Siena really grabbed us. So too did Avignon and Normandy and Andalusia and the Dordogne, etc. but we chose Florence because my wife’s company loves her and will facilitate a move to their division there…Montpellier was another serious contender, but Italy had the added sense of my wife going back to her roots, has family there, and me, a complete mutt with like 10 different ethnic composites have never felt that about anywhere and am kinda looking forward to getting some off that through her and passing that on to our kids. 

The other benefit of Europe is so many distinct flavours are just a quick flight away, and I both enjoy that constant easy access to different cultures/lifestyles/ways of thinking and think my kids will benefit greatly from exposure to it (and we both grew up multilingual and think it really helps in many ways and want that for them) And I’ve spent enough years walking European streets that I don’t think I have a very idealized picture anymore, I think I somewhat get what it is and isn’t, or rather what they are and aren’t. 

As to the villa, it’s not a fixer upper, the older empty nest couple (half Italian half Brit) rented the lower two stories out as an Airbnb and had hundreds and hundreds of rave reviews…there are a couple changes we want to make, specifically getting more comprehensive air conditioning, but aesthetically it's just great, on a hilltop surrounded on three sides by olive farms and a view all the way to the sea, and we bought it with the contents included as they fit so perfectly and allow us to use it as a low effort second home/friends vacation spot until we finally take the plunge. Even then we’ll likely keep our townhouse in Toronto and rent it out once we move there, we have the lake house up by Parry Sound to stay at when we want to visit home, and her parents extra condo on the Toronto lakeshore. The house itself has a long though so far as I know unremarkable history*, parts date back to the 12th century, though it is only part of what was once a great country estate whose buildings have been separated into 4 villas. Part of the ~ plan is to start buying up other properties in the region and renting them out as holiday homes. My wife is good with money and I am good with people. We’ll see.

And we haven’t decided this will be where we’ll retire one day, we might end up in, say, Provence or on a Greek island or many other options…and I think I’d like to live at least one year in Venice before I die, it's just so unlike anywhere else…but we’ll take it as it comes. And if we miss Canada so much we end up moving back, well, we see that as value added too. 

Btw I do agree that Tuscany is a bit too touristy, but we’ll be ~ 45 minutes from Florence, nearer smaller ancient hill towns and a couple cities, so it works for us, we think. If not we can go another way. Anyways, life’s an adventure, the only one we get, so why not try?

*But it’s a relatively short walk to Leonardo’s birthplace/family home, so there’s that.  

What? Leaving Parry Sound for Florence?

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