Retiring at the Exotic Marigold Hotel: it’s still an adventure

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Retiring abroad has been a major focus of The Travelling Boomer ever since it started, but it’s not often that anyone makes a movie on the subject. But there has been one good one: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel , a 2012 film about a group of British retirees moving to India to spend their later years in what they imagine to be an exotic paradise.

The paradise wasn’t quite as advertised, of course. In fact, their lavish hotel was a bit of a fantasy concocted by its youthful manager, whose imagination tended to outstrip reality, not to mention his finances. But everyone adjusted, fate played its usual part, and inJudi Dench Second Exotic Marigold Hotel the end it all turned out right. So right, in fact, that they’ve made a sequel, called The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Aside from all the plot twists, what was most interesting about the first Marigold Hotel movie was how it depicted the hopes and circumstances of people looking to retire abroad. All the expats had their own reasons for coming.

One guest needed a lower-cost place to live after her husband died and left her with a load of debt. Another couple had lost most of their savings in their daughter’s business. A third retiree was returning to re-establish ties with a life he once led in India, while a couple of others were looking for a mate. A last woman was a medical expat, looking to get a hip replacement without waiting in line.

All those are leading reasons people decide to retire abroad: spouses die, the weak economy has eaten many a retirement fund, and countries like India, Mexico and Panama are just cheaper places to live than Europe or North America. But the interesting thing is that as in the movie, even those who come for necessity often find themselves discovering a new and enjoyable life — and in some cases, romance.

And in fact, not everyone retires abroad for financial reasons. Many, like Loren, Sue and Allan, the expats I Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel posterfeatured in my 2014 series on retiring abroad, do it at least partly because they want to live in a new culture, sample a new cuisine, see new landscapes out their window each morning. Very soon, the place that they call their second home just becomes their home.

Whatever the reason for retiring abroad, it’s always an adventure, And the fact that so many retirees do it — and many more are thinking of it — is proof that even though you may not be 20 any more, you’re never too old for a new adventure.

You may not want to climb mountains any more, but you can still make some great discoveries if you’re ready to look for them. There’s always time to break new ground and discover things you’d never dreamed of. Often, just the act of changing your life and moving from one place to another can energize you.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel features the same the group of expat retirees as the first, and the same top-notch cast, with names like Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, plus a new one or two for interest — think Richard Gere. There’s a new hotel, too, and even a little Bollywood dancing for good measure.

I enjoyed the new movie, not least because it allowed me to experience the sights and sounds of India once more. Movies are a great way to see the world, and seeing characters we can identify with in exotic places can magically transport us there. And now and then, the characters aren’t spies or 21-year-olds: they’re boomers and pre-boomers, and we’re all on the same adventure.

If you want to immerse yourself in their world, you’ll have to see the movie. But meanwhile, here’s a look at the trailer to see what it’s about.

This post was sponsored by Fox Searchlight Pictures, photos courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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Paul Marshman is a retired journalist who spent 30 years as a writer and editor on Canadian newspapers, while travelling to the ends of the earth. Now he continues to travel while passing on his travel experiences to you.

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