Remote is my idea of an Eden for retirement or to spend a few months each year.

Forced into teaching retirement for trying to prevent a California playground war, I started globe-trotting to unwind from the America trials and in search of Edens. Within two years, I found myself a peripetatic ex-patriot surfing the world Shangri-las.

The top three have been Iquitos, Peru, San Felipe, Baja, and Lake Toba, Sumatra.

Iquitos, Peru at the headwaters of the Amazon is pleasantly jungle strangled and water bound to escape nearly every world influence of the last 50 years. Daily air flights from Lima drop a handful of tourists who usually imbibe the hallucinogenic ayahuasca, marvel at the 3:1 female to male ratio due to soil concentrates and, as the Yellow Rose of Texas ex-pat proprioter explains, 'Arriving in Iquitos is like traveling to the 1930's USA'. One in a thousand visitors remains, including a surprising twenty Americans entrepreuners who manage small businesses. An attractive option is a Peru resident visa to anyone on Social Security pension.

San Felipe, Baja, Mexico hugs the Sea of Cortez with the two grand advantages of location just two hours from the California-Mexico border, and a tourist slump from the global recession has opened hundreds of ranchos, houses and apartments for dirt-cheap. Meals are economical and hardy, the locals amenable, and there's lots to do in the water and desert.

I'm sitting in the third Eden, Lake Toba, Sumatra, a far flung volcanic island among the robust, beautiful Batak people. Their jungled mountainside resort of orangutans, huge butterflies and waterfalls is open for vacancy since a 1970's tremor drove most of the tourists off the island. A daily ferry drops a new trickle from the mainland and six bus hours past baboons on yield posts from the Medan international airport.

Who says you must stay in one Shangri-la forever?


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