Oct. 4, 2022

Leaving Canada To Retire in Albania as a Solo Female Expat

Leaving Canada To Retire in Albania as a Solo Female Expat

After a divorce and moment of clarity, Canadian expat Karen Espig decided to make drastic changes in her life. She retired early and moved from Canada to Albania to lower her cost of living and pursue her love for art full-time. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however, as she struggled with culture shock and adapting to expat life in Albania.


After a divorce and moment of clarity, Canadian expat Karen Espig decided to make drastic changes in her life. She retired early and moved from Canada to Albania to lower her cost of living and pursue her love for art full-time. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however, as she struggled with culture shock and adapting to expat life in Albania.

 

In this podcast, Karen goes into detail about how she prepared to retire and move to Europe as well as the challenges she encountered during the first few weeks living in a new country. She highlights the cost of living in Albania, tips for dealing with culture shock, and how she found herself again after so many big life changes.Tune in as Kristin sits down with her to find out how she did it.

 

Episode 175 Resources Mentioned: 

 

EPISODE 175 TOPICS DISCUSSED/WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How Karen went from working a 9-5 for the Canadian government to retiring early to become a full-time artist.
  • Being a tourist vs. being an expat in a new country
  • The biggest challenge she’s facing as an expat living abroad.
  • Processing huge life changes & finding yourself again after going through a divorce.
  • Tips for preparing to move abroad after retirement.
  • Adjusting to life in a new country, especially when you don’t know the native language.
  • Navigating major cultural differences in a foreign country you’re not familiar with.
  • How to overcome culture shock and/or depression after moving to a new place.
  • The importance of meeting other foreigners/expats when living abroad.
  • Karen’s favorite foods in Albania: local produce, fish, coffee, and more…
  • Why Karen chose to live in the Lake Ohrid region of Albania & the top towns in Albania to live in as an expat.

 

QUESTIONS ANSWERED:

  • Why did you feel you had to leave Canada to live well in retirement?
  • What happens to your pension plan if you retire early in Canada?
  • What countries did you consider moving to after retirement?
  • Why Albania?
  • How did you prepare for your move abroad?
  • What belongings were the hardest to give away before moving abroad?
  • Were you apprehensive about moving to Europe? What did your family think?
  • How much is rent and your cost of living in Albania?
  • What is your daily life like in Albania?
  • What challenged you about the process of cultural adaptation?
  • How has your pet adapted to life in Albania?
  • Do you have any regrets about moving?
  • And more!

 

Related Podcasts:

 

Related Videos:

 

Recommended Resources for Digital Nomads:

 

Albanian Cities/Towns Mentioned:

  • Lake Ohrid
  • Pogradec
  • Durrës
  • Sarandë
  • Vorë
  • Tirana
  • Shkodër
  • Korçë

 

Connect with Karen:

 

Connect with Kristin: 

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Karen Espig Profile Photo

Karen Espig

Artist / Expat

Karen Espig is a Canadian artist and recent expat. She relocated to Albania in February of 2022, having retired from her nine-to-five so that she could pursue art and travel full-time. She candidly shares her experiences, photography and art as she navigates this new journey.