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Where should we go for a baby hiatus?
January 1, 2014 8:24 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I have been working together in a pretty intense, all consuming job for the last 5 years. We LOVE our chosen career, but it's totally incompatible with having children. Within the next year we hope she will become pregnant, and when that happens we will leave our job (which also provides our housing). We are thinking of taking advantage of the situation and taking a cheap 6-month hiatus to "get to know" our baby, to come to grips with our new reality, to decompress, and to contemplate reinventing ourselves.

We've traveled and lived overseas extensively and are comfortable with being out of the country. We'd like to find someplace to live for those 6 months that's cheap, beautiful (tropics? rainforest? mountains?), healthy for a young infant (no risk of dengue/malaria, clean water, good produce), close to decent health care, has decent internet for Skyping family, and preferably not too far from the US E. Coast (<6 hrs flying) so family can visit if they want. Early thoughts are Costa Rica, Panama, and Dominica. I'd consider Asia except for the flight time. Clearly this is our first child. Any advice? Is this idea stupid? Any good destinations we should consider?
posted by karst to Work & Money (32 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I think most of this sounds great; having 6 months together with the baby without having to worry about working will be wonderful! I would, however, highly recommend that you don't move far away from family and friends. Those first few months can be really isolating and overwhelming and having as much help and support nearby as possible is important (or was to me, and I had a relatively easy childbirth and easy baby; it would have even been even more significant if I had a premie, or any other number of complicating circumstances).
posted by Empidonax at 8:56 PM on January 1 [10 favorites]

Yeah, if you're seriously expecting to "decompress" in the first six months of parenthood, you're in for a rude shock.

Cutting yourself off from whatever support networks you already have is a spectacularly unsound idea.
posted by flabdablet at 9:00 PM on January 1 [19 favorites]

Is it feasible to relocate to nearer family? If I were doing this I think I would choose basically "wherever my mom lives".
posted by Sara C. at 9:04 PM on January 1 [10 favorites]

I think the idea needs some serious evaluation.

You're not going to enjoy much of your new location while dealing with a newborn.

You're going to really appreciate the proximity of your support networks in those first few months.

If you're planning a break, it might be worth taking it after the first year or so, but it's very ambitious to deal with new country + new person.
posted by chiquitita at 9:13 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]

Do you have a guaranteed return to employment in six months?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:14 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]

This scenario assumes that everything goes smoothly with delivery and post-partum stuff. Keep in mind that most pediatricians discourage flying with a newborn; their immune systems are pretty naive for the first eight to twelve weeks. If it turns out you need to get specialist help for a medical issue or PPD or whatever, you are going to be navigating a system you aren't familiar with, without a support network to help you out.

If you can hang out for six months close to the most supportive family/friends you have, that would be better, regardless of where they are.
posted by ambrosia at 9:27 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]

Also keep in mind that even if you are really on the ball, it can take two or three months to get your new baby a passport to travel. That's half your hiatus period.
posted by ambrosia at 9:31 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]

Hmmm. Great feedback but not what I hoped to hear.

Part of the problem is we want to hang on to our job until the very end so we have insurance and a paycheck and maybe even paid maternity leave. We do have the flexibility to slowly write ourselves out of the script so the last 6 months of our job will be sedentary. We'd hope to go through the last trimester and first 3 months of parenthood employed (at least for me).

We have been on the move traveling internationally essentially nonstop for the past 5 years with no stationary home to speak of. Being in one place would offer the decompression. I'd hope that sitting on a porch looking at a waterfall or watching waves crashing on a beach would offset the diapers and crying. I think we both really want a couch. To just sit at "home" for a bit. We haven't had that in a long time.

We both have parents, but only my wife's mom would be useful. I'm not sure living close to her would be a net positive. She's great, but I think we'd both suffer from suburban angst.

There's no job to go back to. That's it. New job, new career.

The only place we can sorta call home is one of the most expensive places on the planet. Spending $2k a month for a crappy apartment, $500/month for electricity, and $12 for a gallon of milk won't work if we are unemployed.

Btw-on preview-target timing would be from 3-9 months of age. I'd expect the first 3 months to happen stateside close to a major hospital and family.
posted by karst at 9:44 PM on January 1

...6-month hiatus to "get to know" our baby...

You don't really "get to know" an infant, you keep it from screaming at you. Where you do this is largely irrelevant as long as there's somewhere nearby that stocks diapers and wipes and such. Infants don't eat produce. Besides, you're going to get to know your children wherever you are unless you hire full-time nannies to raise them for you around the clock. They're your kids. They're utterly dependent on you for everything. You'll know everything there is to know about them. You'll know more about them than they know about themselves for decades.

And the single biggest thing you find yourself wanting for with a newborn is time away from the baby. I'm not even kidding, other people are more reluctant to say it, but *nothing* feels so good as being given a few hours to yourself when you have a kid that young. You don't need to be in central America. You can just go to Starbucks or the park and just think by yourself for a little bit and it's a godsend.

Here's a video of my daughter at 5-months-old, just learning to crawl. This is all she could do at this point, which is to say, children this young can't really do anything. They don't need exotic locales or special equipment. I mean, she has a floor and she's *far* from mastering the use of that. They take months just to get "oh, I have hands, I can use them to pick things up!" really figured out.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:53 PM on January 1 [13 favorites]

Why don't you retrace your steps to one of the locations that you've already lived in and liked? You'll be comfortable and you'll have friends (the all important 'support network') around from your previous 'tour' there.

I think people who haven't lived in the developing world might not realize that it's a lot easier to decompress when you can easily afford some childcare, and when you aren't surrounded by a consumerist or high highly scheduled culture.
posted by Kololo at 9:53 PM on January 1 [3 favorites]

Puerto Rico? North Carolina? Key Largo? I would look at places uncomplicated in terms of visas and lengths of stays and getting a small local job to pay the bills. You might want to get into the planning stages of buying a house now. You will appreciate not having to pick up and move 6 months in if you don't feel like it. Your wife might also experience nesting, which will also change how you guys feel about instability.
posted by bleep at 10:07 PM on January 1 [3 favorites]

Being in one place would offer the decompression. I'd hope that sitting on a porch looking at a waterfall or watching waves crashing on a beach would offset the diapers and crying. I think we both really want a couch. To just sit at "home" for a bit. We haven't had that in a long time. . . . I'm not sure living close to her would be a net positive. She's great, but I think we'd both suffer from suburban angst.


As a woman currently in her third trimester, I suspect you're being a little overly ambitious. Your own pregnancy may vary, but the physical and emotional toll of pregnancy has had me craving stability, hardcore; I wouldn't want to move late in pregnancy or with a small infant, and definitely not both. I mean, people do it (usually out of necessity), but it sounds to me like what you guys really want is simply to find an affordable, interesting place to settle down. Some place like . . . I don't know, the triangle area of North Carolina, or Amherst, MA, where you might encounter other young, interesting parents but will also give you domesticity and stability without being horrifically boring might be good.

But yeah, pregnancy is fast and intense and things like continuity of care providers and being able to plan at least a few months in the future have suddenly become really important. And avoiding isolation is important, too. Family might not be the solution for you (it wasn't for us), but other parent friends have suddenly become completely invaluable. So I'd definitely take all of that into consideration.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:10 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]

One thing to think about is the difficulty in getting a new job if you are living overseas. What if neither of you can find a job after your decompression period? Do you have enough savings to float you past six months? Babies are expensive, what is enough for a couple is different from enough for a small family. All the couples I know who both took substantial time off, at least one parent had a job to go back to. You may not care now, but the stress of finding work could increase quite a bit.
posted by Aranquis at 10:33 PM on January 1

If I were you, I'd want to be near the cleanest air, cleanest water, safest food, best medical care, and friends and family. Those are the things that should matter most when having a new baby.
posted by Dansaman at 10:50 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]

I think 6 months to get to know your baby sounds like a fabulous, luxurious thing. Despite what people say, you do have a little time to focus on yourself (a little) and becoming a parent is very much a life changing thing. Having the freedom to consciously evaluate how you want to carry on through life henceforth is great.

That having been said, moving to a completely new environment is a terrible, terrible idea. You have no idea what you will need after the baby is born and neither does anyone else. Ask anyone with kids. All the stuff you plan for and purchase you don't need and all the stuff you need isn't anything you imagined you'd need. The best thing for new parents is to have an open mind, free of expectations and be ready to respond to your own needs and those of your baby in ways that you cannot even conceive of now. Without going into your specific situation, in our case, there were times where it was absolutely critical that we were able to get prune juice in the middle if the night, that we could get chicken tikka masala within 30 minutes, that the store had such and such particular brand of breast feeding pillow because the other brand just absolutely won't work, and that we had an experienced parent nearby who could come over and check out this rash because we weren't sure we should go to an ER or not because of it.

There's a lot of running around and responding to the needs of your kid, and the last thing you want to have to deal with is figuring out how to navigate the public transit system in Costa Rica when your baby needs the hypoallergenic skin cream *now* and you only slept 3 hours last night.

Yes, please travel and camp and go jogging with your baby, but do yourself a *huge* favor and have your baby in a place that you are comfortable navigating on chronic insomnia autopilot, where you can call someone to come over with emergency diapers because you were up all night with the kid, and had to take the cat to the vet because she has a bowel obstruction, and you totally forgot that your baby's wearing the very last diaper in the house.
posted by Random Person at 11:32 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]

I dunno, I think people are being a little rigid about this. I mean, a babymoon is a thing (and I would suggest reading the Sheila Kitzinger book that term comes from, The Year After Childbirth.) People have and raise infants all over the world every single day, and yes, "infant mortality" but let's assume the two of you are going to make good choices for your family, with sanitation and healthcare at the top of the list.

Personally, were it me and I could plan my ideal entry into parenthood, I'd spend every single night re-reading Spiritual Midwifery, go give birth at The Farm, and then maybe hang out in rural Tennessee for six or nine months, just out of sheer laziness and relatively low cost of living by US standards. If that doesn't appeal and you really want to get on a mid-haul flight with a three month old infant, more power to you and Costa Rica seems like an excellent choice both in terms of medical care and costs.

What I would say, though, is that wherever you end up, I'd factor in the cost of paying for some help at home, at least for a couple of months. The reason people are asking about your families is that infancy is both joyous and gruelling. From an anthropological viewpoint, outside of contemporary Western culture it is not typical for a couple to nurture an infant in isolation (multi-generational families and all of that). You need the support and you need the knowledge if you can possibly get it. I mean, when your infant is young and you are staring at a furious, red-faced squalling, flailing little being you are still kind of afraid you're going to break, it is a miracle when someone steps in and wraps that baby like a burrito so tightly you're unsure it can still breathe. And then it stops crying and is suddenly the most content, beautiful human in the world again. You will love the person who teaches you to swaddle, and you will love them so, so hard.

Just on a practical basis, breastfeeding can be basically a full-time job, and someone has to do the laundry. If that means you are doing almost all of the laundry, the shopping, the cooking and the cleaning, that's... not much of a babymoon. If you need to use this time to contemplate something other than feeding schedules and urine output and to plan and setup the next step in your lives, this seems even more important to me. And FWIW, I'd prioritise the help over the time period -- I'd rather have three months of help than six months of no help.

But hey, if what you guys really want is to hole up in a virtual treehouse and figure it all out and do everything for yourselves, you wouldn't be the first people to go down that path. Just... give yourselves some flexibility because babies are unpredictable little people who have a knack for throwing a spanner into your carefully crafted works.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:03 AM on January 2 [10 favorites]

When my daughter was born, my wife and I quickly discovered how unsuitable it was to get around with a pram in London and made a quick decision to move on. As our flat in Sweden was being rented out, we needed a place to crash for a few months. We rented a house in Competa, Spain in the mountains over Andalucia and it was a fine place to look after an infant. We were relatively close to an airport so good connections to the UK and not far from Malaga which is a modern city. It was as blissful as could be for us as first time parents. The Spaniards love babies and were very friendly and helpful.

Babies are remarkably self-contained and durable. They travel well. If breast-fed you have all the clean food and water you need for a year. They need not be expensive, but they are demanding of your time and attention which you should generously give. You won't have much time for you - but that would be the same if you were in Cleveland or Copenhagen so why not suffer someplace nice? This is totally doable and no big deal at all.
posted by three blind mice at 12:12 AM on January 2 [11 favorites]

Well let's start with children and people and families are different and you don't know your baby yet. Some babies are relaxed and comfortable anywhere. Some babies you can ruin their week if you're slow to have a bottle ready. Oh and they're inconsistent, so don't expect what's true today to be true in a month.

That said, you know yourselves (and after three months at home you'll know your baby) better than anyone else on the planet. I think probably you already know this will work for you and your partner and realistically that's all you need to make this a good idea. Babies are at home where their parents are. They're not accustomed to a lifestyle and they don't care which side of the road you drive on.

If you're breastfeeding this will be easy. If you're not, well, there are babies everywhere and where there are babies there are stores selling baby formula and bottled water.

You don't need our advice because once your wife is pregnant you'll both probably spend an hour a day on the internet reading about all the things you need to plan for and buy and do.

Have you considered Europe? Portugal and Spain seem to meet your criteria.

EDIT: What three blind mice said right above me. Babies are just loud luggage for the first few months.
posted by ddd at 12:33 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]

I don't usually find myself disagreeing with many other responses, but this time I kind of do. I think there are a lot of variables, but I have to say I think your idea sounds rather wonderful.

Looking after a small baby doesn't have to be grim, a lot of it is quite blissful and I think two people in good health (mental as well as physical, and it's helpful if you are calm, can do types), with access to good support systems (good health care, affordable home help) can easily manage the first six months. Some of my happiest child raising memories are of things like the snoozy lunchtime breastfeeds that turned into naps, of carrying wee babies around so they can grab leaves: if you have the money and time to do this easily, I say go for it.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 1:09 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]

I think Costa Rica would be a good choice but I think you need to get better advice from a few people who know the two of you really well and also have recent experience having a newborn baby. Those people are better suited than us to tell you whether your idea is feasible or not. I suspect there are people out there who are hardy, strapping, wonder-mamas and papas who would not find it difficult to live the pastoral life with a baby in tow. But I am also a new mother who loves to travel and has been all over the world and happily spent months in third world countries, showering from a bucket etc., but I absolutely cannot imagine doing such a thing myself now that I have this baby (almost 11 months old).

I would give very strong consideration to finding someplace in Florida where you could pretend you are in the tropical wilderness but yet be within driving distance from suburbia, where it would be easier for friends and family to visit you, and most importantly, where you could get Amazon Prime. (I say this as a person who had no idea before having a baby why new parents would want Amazon Prime, which you can use to get almost anything in the world to your front door within 2 business days, when you could just pop the baby in the car and go to the store and have whatever you need within 30 minutes or an hour. hah!)

p.s. I have brought my baby on an international trip and they seem to have improved passport processing services lately - I was told that even though the forms state 6-8 weeks for processing that it would be much less than that, and it was. Took about 2.5 weeks to process the passport and that was during the government shutdown. I do not think that stuff like passports or ease of air travel will be your issue - a 3 month old won't be tough to travel with. It's more the slog of every day, all day, all night, baby care in an unfamiliar and lonely place. I guess there are other people who 24/7 parenting comes more naturally for. I personally am used to being a working full-time, busy and productive person (I've never been great with babies/kids), and although slowing down and taking leave was great, and very important and necessary, it also made me feel stir crazy and a little bit depressed. If this is the type of person you are as well, just remember to budget enough for good quality childcare even if you don't plan to work.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 1:54 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]

Where's home? When you're sick, or lonely, or feeling isolated and worn down by the road, if you close your eyes then, where do you long to be?

That's where.

All the other things are variables you can't control. You don't know whether you're going to have a kid who needs to be a ten minute drive from a hospital, or one who you could just chuck in a ruck sack and go. You may have a baby who will only sleep in hour long blocks to the sounds of Cat Stevens being played in the next room - no closer, no further - or one who sleeps through rock concerts. You may have a dainty baby who can be carried everywhere in a sling or a whopper of a wriggler who pitches a fit the minute you strap him against your body. A baby who is content to sleep on a plane or a poor tyke who gets motion sickness or migraines from the pressure changes during flight. There's no telling what you'll need or what your child will be like.

I just tucked my 6 month old into bed. For reasons beyond my control, my natural birth and my desire to breastfeed went out the window, and I had a traumatic c section and emergency formula. This means being close to somewhere that sells the stuff is good, and I was not able to do anything like lifting so being close to takeaway outlets was more important than any waterfall or beach could have ever been. He's an easy baby but the thought of being somewhere that is anywhere but home, no matter how beautiful, is terrifying.

But if you love that place, it doesn't matter. You'll find a way.
posted by Jilder at 2:40 AM on January 2 [3 favorites]

For balance, both sets of our parents were a huge pain for the first couple of years. Child-rearing ideas firmly (and I do mean firmly) fixed in the 70s. Put him on his front to sleep! A nice feather mattress is what he needs! Listen to us, we had babies thirty years ago and can imagine what it was probably like! And running errands? Useless. I still remember when I asked for a loaf of bread and they came back with no bread, but a lovely magnetic spice rack that was reduced in price.

I am not saying your parents are like this, or will be like this. And they get on with him, and us, pretty well now. But six months to quietly find our feet would have been lovely. You know your own situation best.
posted by danteGideon at 6:50 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]

Some babies are easy and adaptable and some babies cry for six months straight, need the most obscure and expensive kind of formula, or simply hate being put down for any reason.

You can try to "vacation" for that period and it might be incredibly idyllic or you might spend every waking moment wishing you could just hand the baby off to your MIL for 5 minutes just to hear yourself think.

I think the six months off are a spectacular idea. I think the six months off in an unknown locale, not so much. And as a pregnant lady also in her third trimester, let me tell you that MOVING? Hahahahahahaha, no.
posted by lydhre at 7:31 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]

Seconding Florida and adding other coastal southeastern areas: Georgia and South Carolina both have some peaceful beautiful areas and are handy to medical care and airports.
posted by mareli at 8:06 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]

One possible problem that I don't think has been discussed here is health insurance. I understand from your follow-up post that at least one of you will be employed for the first three months after the baby is born. But what about after the baby turns three months old? Will you be without health insurance then? Unless you have considerable savings or assets such that you can self-insure, this sounds like a bad idea.
posted by merejane at 9:35 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]

We raised twins from birth to 6 in a small and remote part of a 3rd world country. It was far easier and more fun than Europe, UK or USA when they were little. Low cost of everything, warm weather, outdoor lifestyle meant we were relaxed along with excellent parent- friendly and cheap childcare-incl fun and flexible nursery from 3 months although ours didn't go to part-time afternoons till 13 months. But the attitude was -because we pay, we call the shots-they abided mostly by our wishes over their rules and did I mention it was cheap. Yes there was the occasional challenge such as when formula they liked became suddenly unavailable and the available ones were not digestible for them-requiring a (fairly far-away) trip to capital city to buy up all the easy-digest formula imported from Holland we could find. But overall, MUCH easier. As someone else mentioned, it is amazing how little kit one needs compared to western countries in which special spoons etc are required for infants. Most of this stuff is not available and not necessary if you are in the right frame of mind to handle it. Disposable nappies/wipes are available world-wide. You are well travelled and rootless-shouldn't be too difficult-do a bit of research to find a place you like, with a decent local hospital nearby. Ours were born healthy there and stayed healthy, being born elsewhere and having health issues would be another matter entirely.
posted by claptrap at 12:56 PM on January 2

PS Standards of hygiene may be lower and there are more 'bugs' around, aside from malaria and dengue, but over time baby's (and your) immune systems will strengthen and grow resistant to the local ones. This is nothing to do with food or water, but unavoidable, just in the environment everywhere, money, door handles, etc
posted by claptrap at 1:23 PM on January 2

Thanks all. Three blind mice, I'm reassured to hear your input. One of our candidate spots is Mallorca, Spain. We've lived in Valencia, Barcelona, and Mallorca and feel very comfortable with Spanish living. It's not exactly cheap but it's far cheaper than the Virgin Islands, which is the last place we lived 5 years ago. It's also cheaper than most of the US.

I don't know why, but I feel a knee-jerk need to be cagey online about specific life details, yet I enjoy Metafilter and trust most everyone here. Maybe a little more specific background will help. We have been working on a yacht for the last 5 years. It doesn't have a homeport to speak of. We've traveled on average probably 2 out of every 3 days for 5 years. We've crossed international borders over 100 times last year. Think "The Amazing Race". One of the facts of life for us has been that we will get to a new port and will have 1/2 a day to find customs and immigration, a laundromat, a grocery store, a market, a marine store, a hardware store, etc. We have become very resourceful, and very comfortable "on the road". We are quite literally vagabonds. Glorified carnies. I'm not worried about finding diapers or bottles or a breast pump in a 3rd world location. I'm also not too worried about finding a comfortable apartment somewhere. No bucket showers for us. There are middle and upper class people in big numbers everywhere you want to be nowadays, and they rent their places the same as they do in Boca or Key Largo. It's been just the 2 of us for most of the past few years, so there's no pre-existing support network in place for us. Wherever we settle wlll be new to us, and after all this travel we really don't view ourselves as Americans with a home somewhere, everywhere/nowhere is home. If we spend a week somewhere it feels like home by the time we leave. We are also used to sailing for 24 hrs/day, sharing watches. Changing a diaper is surely more difficult than staring at the horizon, but we have each others back and aren't daunted by a 24hr/day schedule.

We are lining things up to do a refit somewhere on the US East Coast starting in 6 months, and it will last for about 6 months. When that happens we will move ashore while the boat gets worked on. We will be at the boatyard everyday, but the work becomes 9-5, M-F. We will have an apartment. My wife will be able to work from home, ordering parts and coordinating schedules and contractors. A (semi) perfect environment for a pregnant mother to be. We'd presumably have the child during the refit. When the boat launches again, that's it. We train our replacements and the boat sails away. There is no option to stay in the job after the birth of the child (and the launch of the boat). No more insurance, no more paychecks, no more wealthy "benefactor". We have enough money saved to bide our time and start a business. The question is what business, and where. We don't expect to settle down where we spend the Babymoon (great word, didn't know that was a thing). It will be where we go to contemplate the next move.

I'm curious about Belize. It seems a bit more 2nd world than 3rd world. English is spoken widely. I'd expect the hospitals to be a bit more legit.

Spain is a great option, though a bit expensive.

I don't see us happy in the continental US. Maine in summer is fantastic, but the other 11.5 months of the year are rough. It's ok for cost though. I lived out west for awhile (CA, AZ, and CO). That was ok. I dream more of a Garden of Eden or Blue Lagoon scenario, though (not a loincloth and a spear, but no interstates, malls, or red light cameras). We've been on this go! go! go! schedule for so long now that I feel like life is passing us by. I'd like to force us to stop, and stare at our baby, and really think about where we're going. Forced idleness.

I can't thank you all enough. It's a weird phenomenon, getting better life advice from strangers online than from real people in our lives. It's an indulgent process, asking others for advice. It's tough to steer a conversation with a friend to be about "you", and when you do you're only getting the advice of that one person with their narrow field of vision. You'd never call a conference of your friends to discuss your next move. But that's what this is, sorta. Thanks MF!
posted by karst at 1:28 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]

Why not look at the 3rd world semi ex-pat port towns with marinas? Sounds like you may have already visited many of them and as you say they are on every continent all over the world although much cheaper in the 3rd world.
posted by claptrap at 1:37 PM on January 2

I don't know if this is a great idea or a terrible idea, but that's not your question. So:

Check out Guatemala, specifically the Lago de Atitlan area. Insanely gorgeous lake surrounded by volcanoes and dotted with Mayan villages, from the shores up the mountains. WAY WAY cheaper than Costa Rica. Some of the villages (like San Pedro) have a decent expat community, so you could be social if you wanted. You could also just rent some little house and not see anyone and stare at the lake all day. The people are LOVELY and used to foreigners. Go to the market and buy fruits and vegetables every day; take walks. And it's safe. I mean--lock your doors, don't be an idiot, but it's not Guatemala City. I know lots of expat couples who had babies--and are now raising them--in Guatemala. They are doing just fine.

Only thing I would be cautious about is going there during the rainy season--it can start to bum you out after a while.
posted by namemeansgazelle at 2:33 PM on January 2

I don't usually find myself disagreeing with many other responses, but this time I kind of do. I think there are a lot of variables, but I have to say I think your idea sounds rather wonderful.

Agreed. When my first was born I was in a somewhat similar situation -- I'd been in grad school, working insane hours, totally stressed out, and then I finished and I sat quietly at home with a newborn for six months, and it was WONDERFUL. The most peaceful, happy, quiet, restful time of my life. And I was far from family.

If this were me, I'd want to be in the States (are you American?) so that people could come visit and you didn't have to deal with a passport, and I'd want to be in a town. I liked -- and still like, as an at-home parent -- having windows I can look out and see people walking around, being able to put the baby in a stroller and go for a walk and see people, etc.

If it were me I'd rent a little house in a beautiful little town. Like, I don't know, Asheville or something. Somewhere I could walk to the grocery store and the library.
posted by gerstle at 7:07 AM on January 3

Given the new information about your circumstances, your plan does look a lot more workable.

I have no first-hand or recent information on any of the possible landing spots you mention, but a good friend who spends as much of his life as he can fund in seeing the world with a backpack and/or motorcycle did make a point of telling me, on his return from wide-ranging travel in South and Central America in the mid-nineties, that of all the places he'd visited on that trip, Belize seemed to be among the most relaxed and easily the most competently run.
posted by flabdablet at 11:35 PM on January 3

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