The Number One Thing You Need To Do Before You Move Overseas

Quick question—would you put as much research into buying a new guitar as you would into moving overseas?

I’m thinking about this today for two reasons.

First, I’m thinking about adding a new guitar to my collection. (If you’re not a guitar lover, substitute something equally tempting to you personally… a new fly fishing rig, an original painting or sculpture, new bread maker, new carpeting for the house, new easel and set of oils, new boots of Spanish leather… whatever trips your trigger and deserves researching.)

And second, I’m also thinking about when my wife and I moved abroad back in 2001.

What strikes me is that I seem to be spending exponentially more time researching a new guitar than I did researching our overseas move.

Seems like it should be the other way around, right?

After all, moving—much less moving to another country—is a pretty big deal. It’s something you want to study up on as much as you can.

After all, if I got the wrong guitar and ended up with buyer’s remorse, there would be a couple of solutions… and none of them would be all that difficult.

If, on the other hand, my wife and I had moved abroad and discovered that we made the wrong move, to the wrong country, for the wrong reasons, after having made the wrong preparations—well, while it wouldn’t have been the end of the world, it would have sucked.

We didn’t make a mistake, thankfully. It worked out fine. And part of the reason is that we actually did do a lot of research on the topic and our destination beforehand. (Full disclosure—my wife did most of the research. But I helped.)

It’s just that, back in 2001, there was only so much research available.

As I’m discovering now, with the explosive growth of the internet in the past 18 years, there is now orders of magnitude more available information on everything, everywhere, including guitars, than there was when I was trying to get ready for my move way back when.

Indeed, today I can spend more time doing the research on a single guitar than we probably did researching our entire move… and I can do it without getting up from the desk. No going to libraries and bookstores, no writing query letters, no waiting for study material to arrive by mail like back then.

Of course, since I moved abroad the whole subject of living and retiring overseas has grown immensely. Once an intriguing fantasy that few would be adventurous enough to try, it is today a well-documented and researched lifestyle choice being made by people of all ages for lots of reasons.

Anyone who wants to live better for less in some of the most beautiful and exotic places on the planet without sacrificing quality of life can now find out all about it—mountains of valuable research—without even getting up from the desk.

Wasn’t like that back in my day.

Does that make me sound like an old-guy curmudgeon? Maybe. But there are two things I can count on to make me feel young—the things that never fail to energise me and get all my faculties revved up and engaged.

One is stepping out of a plane or train or bus in a new country.

The other one, I’m doing the research on right now.

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