A Report From The International Living Conference

San Jose Costa Rica - August 11-13

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This month, Fran and I were invited to speak at the International Living Conference in San Jose Costa Rica.  The event took place at the Marriott Hotel and Resort, located near the airport in the town of Alejuela.  While we were only one of several speakers, much of the advertising International Living was doing to promote this event seemed to focus on our move to Costa Rica.  How cool was that!  If we weren't the humble souls you know us to be, all this hype and recognition may have gone to our heads!

Our new friends at International Living simply asked us to tell our story on why and how we chose Costa Rica as a place to in which to retire.  If you are interested, here is a copy of our PowerPoint Slides.  Note... viewing this file requires PowerPoint 2007 or above.  For those of you not aware, International Living is a magazine that provides information to those seeking to invest or live as an expatriate.

On opening day, Fran and I were the first presenters following introductions by Dan Prescher and his wife Suzan Haskins.  We were given 30 minutes in which to tell our story, which had us concerned.  How in the hell were we going to fill all this time in front of a group of 200 + people, who were paying  $5000 (see sidebar) a couple to be here.  That had us quaking in our flip flops.

Developing The Presentation...

For weeks I have been slaving over my PC, trying to create a succinct, visually appealing presentation, that clearly told our story.  Just three days before the presentation, I showed it to Fran.

APPROXIMATED COST TO ATTEND EVENT

BASED ON TWO ATTENDEES @ 4 NIGHTS


$1700 - Conference Fee

$900 - Hotel

$200 - Four lunches @ hotel

$400 - Four dinners @ hotel

$1500 - Airfare for two

$300 - Misc expenses

It was anything but succinct.  I had over 60 slides with crap flying in from all directions.  The complexity of trying to orchestrate our words with the animated slides would have required the dexterity of a cardio vascular surgeon. 

After Fran witnessed this graphical debacle and watched me trying to cram all these slides into 30 minutes, the voice of reason screamed out... SIMPLIFY!  Fran suggested that I cut the presentation down to 5 basic slides.  Tell them Who, What, When, Where, and Why.  I had to agree.  In the end, the presentation wound up being 11 slides coupled with a tight script. 


Here I am, in our hotel room at 5:30 am, the morning of the presentation, making final tweaks.  Can't I leave well enough alone?

As it turned out, we said everything we wanted to say and in exactly 30 minutes.   While I worked from a script, Fran jumped in and literally "winged" her part of the presentation.  We played off one another perfectly.  I was the bloviating voice of adventure while Fran was the calm voice of reason.  Together, our "ying and yang" approach worked perfectly. 

I have to admit, we sort of kicked ass!  Well not sort of... we did kick ass!  That was substantiated right after the presentation and for the rest of the event when we were besieged with questions and comments from many of the attendees.


The Conference Rocked...

International Living did a great job orchestrating this event.  The venue was perfect except for the sub-zero temperature in the main meeting room.  It was so cold, the restaurant could have used it as a meat locker.

On Wednesday and Friday, there were vendor sponsored cocktail parties where speakers and attendees gathered to toss back a few vinos y cervezas while schmoozing.  Fran used this opportunity to show off her killer tan by wearing her new sundress.  However, it wasn't much later that she ran back to our room to get her sweater. 

There were a ton of other presenters at this event, all being allocated approximately 30 minutes in which to present to the group.  For the most part, everybody did a superlative job.  However, there was one presentation that was a complete crash and burn.  Fortunately, I was already familiar with this company's high quality and professional expertise.   So their less than stellar presentation did not effect me.  When given the opportunity, I told my fellow attendees "NOT to judge this company's product/service based on their presentation."

We especially enjoyed having the opportunity to sit down, one on one, and talk to many of the attendees quite frankly about their motives for wanting to retire overseas.  Many seemed motivated out of fear and concern regarding the financial future of the United States.  Some seemed motivated by red versus blue politics.  Some are just seeking a slower, more tranquil lifestyle.

While Fran and I are not experts, we are able to offer opinions on what motivated us and how we got to where we are today.  It all boils down to one basic premise...

Think with your HEAD and not with your HEART!

I thank again all the folks at International Living Magazine for allowing us to tell our story.  We had a great time and hope to participate again in the future.

All the photos can be found here on Facebook.


COSTA RICA MARRIOTT

THE MEAT LOCKER

KILLER TAN

KILLER TANS X 2

FRAN SCHMOOZING

DAN PRESCHER - HMFIC

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