September 23, 2022
If you live in the US, health insurance is a big deal.
It’s expensive, it’s vital to have, and navigating the health care system is time consuming, mind numbing, and draining in every way imaginable. No wonder it’s one of the first questions someone asks when they’re considering living overseas.
The rest of the world doesn’t understand our obsession with health care.
Well, without going into all the gory details, a recent turn of events reminded me why it’s important to have good health care, especially as we age and parts of us start to go kerflooey. (Yes, that’s the scientific medical term for falling apart at the seams.)
Seriously. . .
I’m a writer. Also an avid reader. So I was thrilled recently when, after having a cataract removed from my left eye, I was seeing better (without glasses!) than I had in years. I couldn’t wait to have the right eye done as well.
Both procedures went smoothly. The day after my second surgery, tests at the eye doctor’s office showed I had 20/20 vision, probably for the first time in my entire life.
Until, a few days later, I didn’t. After two more office visits, a bunch of tests, and a few weeks healing time, my doc diagnosed the problem. It was exactly what I thought it was, based on the way I was seeing the world.
Hold on, I need to back up a bit.
My biggest eye problem was never near- or far-sightedness, it was a massive astigmatism. For those of you fortunate enough to not know what that means, it’s caused when the curvature of the eye is uneven, sending light bouncing off in new directions. My first glasses, and later contact lenses, were solely to correct my astigmatism. For years, without my glasses on, I saw double. Depending on the distance, it might be an actual double image, but more often, it was a ghost image, making words on a page, people’s faces, street signs, etc., look blurred.
In order to correct astigmatism, a lens needs to be placed very precisely. If you’re wearing round glasses and a lens pops out, you can’t just stick it in any old way and expect it to correct your vision.
I was still seeing well with my left eye, but looking through the right eye alone, I was seeing double. Again.
Fast forward to the eye doctor’s office. Turns out the fancy powered lens implant that was supposed to correct my astigmatism shifted some time after the surgery. Instead of correcting my astigmatism, it was giving me a new one! And it’s exactly what I told the doc when I walked in the door. “I feel like I’m seeing like I did before the surgery without my glasses.”
So now I’m scheduled to go back in for a third surgery, when he will rotate the misbehaving lens back to its proper axis. After that, I should be seeing with 20/20 vision again. (And hopefully it will behave this time and stay in place!)
First, I’m grateful to have a very knowledgeable doctor and health insurance that covers most of the cost. Because I’m here in the US, without insurance we’d be talking in the neighborhood of $25,000 per eye. Not exactly affordable. . .
This experience has also reminded me how important it is to me to see the world around me clearly. Right now, without the third procedure, my vision is okay. It’s not bad. I can do the things I want to do, see the things I want to see, and read the things I want to read.
But I don’t want to settle for just okay. I want better. I want to see what’s in this big, beautiful world of ours without blurring, double images, or confusion. Only then can I share it with others in any kind of helpful way.
Tips & Tools
Great news! Thailand has finally announced its digital nomad visa. Here’s a quick rundown of how you can apply, in four steps. Be forewarned, though, that unlike other digital nomad visas, this one carries strict requirements.
If you qualify, the benefit is a 10-year residence visa, and a lower tax rate.
Raise your hand if you’ve used Google Flights before. How about Wikipedia?
I’ve used both, quite a lot. I used Google Flights to plan this winter’s upcoming trip to Panama, and my birthday trip to New England last spring. But there are things you can do using them together that far exceed using them separately.
In Europe, people are better at apartment living than they are in the US. Author Charlie Brown (no, not the cartoon character) says we’re doing it all wrong.
He outlines 5 ways to live your best life in an apartment.
I really dislike the term “unretirement.” But whether I like it or not, it’s an idea we’re hearing more and more about. Many Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millenials don’t envision ever having a life after work.
For some, it’s because they don’t think they’ll be able to afford it. Others enjoy the ongoing challenge of work, or worry they’ll be bored without it. For some it’s a way to try something new, maybe something they’ve always wanted to do (like me with my attempts to write a novel).
Here’s an article by successful serial entrepreneur Brian Clark. He maintains that there’s a specific type of business that’s perfect for older folks, especially if location freedom is important to them.
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In Case You Missed It. . .
Here at Anywhereist, we’re all about freedom. . .
. . . Freedom to live where you want, work where you want, and do your best creative work wherever that happens to be.
Guest author Christopher Haymon outlines the ways that freelance writing fits beautifully into your freedom machine.
If you have a knack for wordsmithing, a career as a freelance writer — either full time or as a side hustle — can be a profitable way to earn a living.
It’s a great fit if you’re in journalism school or a recent post-grad and looking for work. Freelancing can help you pay the bills, explore your own creativity, and develop a diverse portfolio that accurately showcases your skills. And, of course, writing is the most portable of work-from-anywhere careers.
Today, Anywhereist offers some tips and resources to get you started.
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