They ditched America to retire by a lake in Chile on about $3,000 a month — and rarely come back

They ditched America to retire by a lake in Chile on about $3,000 a month — and rarely come back

The shimmering waters of a Chilean lake call to the Dorchaks these days.

The American couple — who six years ago retired to Puerto Octay, a village on Lake Llanquihue, the second largest lake in Chile — say that their lives as real-estate appraisers and investors in South Carolina used to involve a lot of running around, but those days are long gone.

“The sun will come out, and I’ll say, ‘Let’s go get our kayaks and go to the lake,’ ” says Lori Dorchak, 55. “Maybe I’ll think, ‘Well, we’ve really got to finish some project.’ But to heck with that, nope, not anymore: We go to the lake. Life is short.” Or, as Jim, 56, puts it: “We don’t get up in the morning unless we want to get up. … It’s a what-I-want-to-do life now.”

Indeed, life in Puerto Octay — a village in southern Chile brimming with traditional German-style architecture — often revolves around the breathtaking nature at your doorstep. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the beaches abutting the deep blue lake, as well as a variety of water sports like kayaking, fishing, sailing and swimming.

The Dorchaks had never considered Chile as a retirement option — and, for that matter, weren’t considering retirement at age 50. But a series of tragedies hit their family, including the decimation of their real-estate business by the Great Recession: “We had this realization that life is short,” says Jim, 56. “Our dream had always been to have a little farm and raise our kids there.”

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