I have some good friends who currently live in Cancun, and I like to stay in touch with them because we have the same kind of outlook on living and working abroad.
We see it as being members of a close-knit group…a kind of tribe.
A tribe of wandering citizens of the world.
Actual physical distance and current location doesn’t have much to do with how close-knit we feel…we are by definition spread out around the globe, and almost all of us have lived in multiple locations.
It’s a tribe defined more by lifestyle and interest than by geography.
We live internationally and our compelling interest is in experiencing as much of the world as possible and sharing that experience with others.
Our tribe is similar to those that once took year-long sea voyages to write memoirs or settle on tiny South Pacific islands to paint or toured the great cathedrals of Europe for architectural and design inspiration.
However, we don’t live abroad because we’re independently wealthy and don’t have anything else to do. In fact, folks often join our tribe precisely because they don’t qualify as “independently wealthy” in their home countries and are looking for better value in their lives.
But a more common reason for people to become members of the “International Living” tribe is adventure and thirst for knowledge. Our tribe’s interest is the act of living abroad itself. We study why people live abroad in the first place, where they live, how they live, what happens to them when they live outside their home countries, and the reasons they do and don’t return to their homeland.
And we accomplish our study by living the lives ourselves.
Many of us write about what we learn from all this. That’s what my friends in Cancun do. It’s what my wife Suzan and I have been doing since 2001. We do the research and we share it with other members of our tribe who haven’t actually moved abroad yet and we share it with those who have moved but still have an abiding interest in all this.
After all, it’s a topic as big as the world itself…and that means the total amount of information on moving overseas is immense. Suzan and I…along with lots of other members of our tribe around the world…contribute to that motherlode of information on a near-daily basis.
What’s the total value of all this interest, information, and writing? That’s fairly subjective. It depends on how you feel about the topic of living, working, and retiring abroad.
For example, Suzan and I and our fellow International Living editors and correspondents are fanatics. It’s what we do. It’s our very lifestyle. So naturally we think that the sum total of all that writing, research, and experience is priceless.
And to potential members of our tribe who are just starting to figure out for themselves how best to accomplish their goals of living abroad, that information is the deepest and richest mine of experience and advice they can possibly get.
What is a mine of information like that worth? Like I said, it’s subjective. What I can say is that I would have appreciated tapping into such a wealth of information when my wife and I moved abroad 15 years ago and joined the tribe. There is really no comparison between what was available then and the virtual mountain of information available today.
I’m proud of that mountain of information. My wife and I have helped contribute to it for the past 15 years, as have all the members of the International Living tribe. It’s not a stretch to say that it is our legacy, in much the same way that those ship-board memoirs and island paintings and cathedral sketches were the legacy of similar past tribe members.
It’s something to be proud of, and I’m happy it’s out there and available to those who want to follow in our footsteps.
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