6 Reasons Why I Wasn’t Crazy for Moving Overseas

When my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I told our family and friends in 2001 that we were selling the house, quitting the business, and moving abroad, we got some looks of sincere concern for our sanity.

But I don’t think we were crazy for going overseas back then. Here are the six biggest and best reasons why we’re so happy with our move overseas:

1. Our nest egg is actually growing. That’s because our cost of living is so low compared to back in the States. We still work as writers, and thanks to that lower cost of living we usually have a little something left over at the end of each month to put in the bank. Savings…what a concept!

2. We are healthier. Well, we feel healthier… We live in a place where the fruits, vegetables, and meats we buy today were most likely on the tree, in the ground, or running around the farmyard yesterday. And the air is sparkling clean. And we walk a lot. But we’re also 13 years older than we were when we moved abroad, so of course it’s a balancing act.

3. We have more friends. That’s just unavoidable if you move overseas… You will most likely make new friends where you move, so statistically you just end up with more than you had before. And we’ve moved seven times in 13 years, so we have lots and lots and lots of friends in all kinds of places. That’s a good feeling.

4. We still get to see our family and friends back home. Everyone who moves abroad misses the people they leave behind, but it’s not like we’ve gone through a wormhole into another dimension. We’re still here on earth, and it’s not hard to get home often enough to see and catch up with everyone and show up at the important holidays and life events.

And almost everyone we know and love is on Facebook or has an email account or a phone we can call with Skype or MagicJack, so it’s not like we don’t know what’s going on in each other’s lives. We know exactly what’s going on in each other’s lives, sometimes in excruciating detail. On the plus side, the Internet makes it possible to see our new granddaughter via video almost any time we like.

5. We know more than we did before we moved. That doesn’t sound like much, because doing anything for 13 years should leave you knowing more at the end than at the beginning. But we know lots more, and we know it about some really weird and interesting stuff. Like what people in places like Puyo and Bocas del Toro and Sayulita and Medellin and La Ceiba and Celestun and the Corn Islands and San Juan del Sur do every day. That probably doesn’t seem weird or interesting to them, but some of it just amazes us.

Speaking of which, we have great stories to tell. I have a theory that one of the really important things that makes humans different from other animals is our ability to tell stories. In a sense, we actually are the stories we constantly tell ourselves in our heads about what’s happening to us as we fit our experiences into the ongoing narrative that is our lives. Then we tell those stories to anyone who will listen. And it’s great to have new and interesting stories to tell.

6. We’re happier. That’s just sheer speculation, of course, but I’m going to speculate that although we probably would have been very happy even if we’d never left the U.S., we are even happier now. I don’t see how we couldn’t be, given all the places we’ve gone, things we’ve done, challenges we’ve overcome, and people we’ve met that we’d never have even dreamed existed if we hadn’t taken the leap and moved abroad.

So for all of these reasons…and many more…I’m pretty sure that Suzan and I weren’t crazy to move abroad. Which means that you might not be crazy for considering it, either…

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