There’s only one qualification for moving overseas: you must have an adventurous spirit.
If you don’t, then save your time and money and stop reading right here.
Certainly, it’s okay to have some misgivings and concerns… You may, in fact, be scared to death, especially if you are selling a home and getting rid of a lifetime’s worth of possessions. Your heart may hurt at the thought of leaving family and friends behind, and you may be worried about moving your precious pets to a foreign environment.
There may be other issues at play… You may have financial motivations for making the move…maybe you’re worried about being able to live comfortably on your monthly income and you’re looking for a more affordable place to live…. Maybe you need more affordable health care. Maybe you’re running from something that’s just too difficult to face head on. And maybe you’re just on the hunt for better weather where you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle…
The point is, we all have our reasons for uprooting ourselves and going off in search of “something else,” even if we don’t know exactly what that means. And if you approach the entire experience as if it is the most exciting journey in your life (which it surely should be), then the better off you will be.
Mostly, what it boils down to is attitude. If you’re the kind of person who typically sees the glass as half full rather than half empty…if you embrace that childish sense of wonderment at new sights and experiences…and if you enjoy meeting new people and not knowing exactly what might await you around the next corner…you’re cut from the right cloth to be a successful expat.
And if you’re not quite sure if you’ve got what it takes? That’s okay, too. Some of us just need to ease our way in. You have to take baby steps before you learn to run.
There’s no doubt that there will be stumbles along the way. (And the more research you do upfront, the better off you will be.) But if this is something you really want to do, then don’t let the possible bumps deter you. And always remember: this needn’t be a one-way trip. Some people move overseas only to find it wasn’t what they expected or that they weren’t quite suited for the place they chose.
It’s happened to me, in fact. My husband and I have lived in four different countries in the past 12 years, and no doubt there may be one or two more in our future. Right now, we’re living happily in a small, sweet and peaceful village in Ecuador where the weather suits us perfectly and our monthly expenses are remarkably low—about $1,500 affords us a very comfortable lifestyle.
For good or bad, we don’t see the glass as half full, but as overflowing with opportunity and adventure. Someday we’d love to explore further and perhaps even live in another area of Ecuador, or maybe even Asia or somewhere in the Mediterranean…
Point is: you can always move on and try on another city, region, or country for size. And should you decide to go back home, that’s fine, too. But you’ll bring with you some wonderful memories and great stories to tell.
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