Expat Lifestyle Living Abroad
It may begin as a daydream, a passing thought or fantasy; it might be a romantic vision of life in the tropics that you can't get out of your head. Maybe you took a week or two vacations and the pace just seemed so soothing, the gentle breeze touched your spirit.
You returned home invigorated and ready to face reality, relaxed, a new you. But sooner or later, whether it's the chill of winter ice, or the incessant stress of the same old, same old, the daydream becomes an idea. You start to tell yourself that you want to leave this entire behind. Pack up the family, your suitcase, your cat or dog, whatever you possess, and try a new way, start a new day. Testing the waters you mention this thought to coworkers, friends, family, they all say you're nuts. "Who do you know there?" "What will you do?" "You don't even speak the language."
Whether you're single or married, young or mature, working or retired, the changes that result from moving abroad can be unsettling, frightening, and fraught with uncertainty. The reasons for wanting to leave the country of your birth are as varied as the individuals and not really important. The truth is that some need to move away, and some need to stay behind, it's a story as old as humanity, a part of our great diversity, something to be celebrated, not necessarily analyzed.
Whether you have to convince your wife and kids, your business partners, or simply yourself, all ideas need some development in order to grow into plans and reality. Forty years ago, growing up in a small apartment in Queens, I would gaze through the pages of my National Geographic and dream of a life far away. I would follow the adventures and travels of free spirits and explorers and imagine what could be. Rekindle your dream, look at the map and dream of a possibility, then go online, start with a Google search, read, click, read. It takes some time to wade through the travel agencies and resort offerings, the real estate schemes, and for profit sites. Eventually you will find real people and real experiences, sharing solutions and offering encouragement. You'll find newbies with eyes wide open, and the disenchanted on their way back home. You'll hear tales of warning and tales of survival, a balance of experiences some good, some bad, just like life everywhere.
Four years ago I told my wife, Marlyn, that we were leaving New York, leaving the U.S., that I had had enough, not that it was a bad place, it was just that I had had enough, needed a change. Our personal finances weren't so firm, better than some who are on this path, not as good as many others. What I see is that it's not a question of money, I've been meeting rich and poor along the way. What drives them all is a call for change.
The first move was a half measure, we moved to the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean between Cuba and Puerto Rico. Marlyn's family lived there and I thought it would be a good thing for the kids to get to know the family. I also believed that somehow family might makes things easier. Well the kids did get to know the family. But I came to realize that most of the problems that we needed to solve were solved alone, the heat of the tropics and the congestion of Santo Domingo were a drain of both energy and time. I had an excellent idea of what life in the Dominican would be from reading and corresponding on the internet forum DR1, I would advise anyone considering the island to read it well. In the end we decided to move on to a more temperate climate.