“I don’t like being called an ex-patriot,” my friend Jack said. He’s a former elected official and about as red-white-and-blue as they come. His wife is a former trial judge. But now that they’re retired they’ve chosen to live in Ecuador…for the adventure, the pleasurable lifestyle, and definitely for the lower cost of living.
Gently, I explained to Jack that he is definitely not an ex-patriot. And he never will be…
Jack is an expatriate. It sounds the same but is very different than an ex-patriot.
Like knight and a night, or whole and hole, the words expatriate and ex-patriot are homophones—spelled differently but pronounced the same.
An expatriate can be someone who moves from his home country. If you’re from the U.S. or Canada but you live in France, for example, you are an expatriate.
Make no mistake, being an expatriate does not make you an ex-patriot.
So what is an ex-patriot? The dictionary refers to a patriot as “a person who loves his country, zealously supporting and defending it.” So it stands to reason that an ex-patriot is someone who no longer cares much about his or her country.
I have yet to meet an expatriate who fits that definition. Sure, we may moan about what’s going on at home, but that’s how our system works. We’re allowed to do that and it doesn’t mean we love our country any less. In fact, I’d say it shows how much we care.
(In fact—and this may help Jack and others like him feel better—there is no such word as ex-patriot.)
By the way, as I have written before, you will never lose or be asked to forfeit your citizenship when you move overseas.
So if an adventure in living internationally is something you’ve been thinking about, maybe it’s time to take the next step?
Go and enjoy the adventure. Live life to its fullest (and spend less while doing so). At the end of the day if you find out the expatriate life isn’t for you, you can always go back home. But nothing ventured is nothing gained. And there’s a lot to gain by living the expat life.
Editor’s note: Suzan and Dan are experts at being expats. It’s taken them more than 10 years to learn every tip, trick, strategy and loophole that you need when you start a new life overseas…and this new program walks you through them all, step by step.