Anyone thinking of living, working, or retiring abroad has a lot of choices to make about when, where, and how they’re going to do it.
One of the most important considerations is one that a lot of expats I know wish they had given more weight to during their initial planning.
How far away in both time and space do you want to move from your old stomping grounds?
This is an important decision, and its importance can change several times during an expat’s time abroad.
When first thinking about moving to someplace warm, colorful, and inexpensive, many people put those three things right at the top of the list. They never want to shovel snow or pay a heating bill again. They’d like some unusual and entertaining culture around them. And they’d like to save money and make their resources go as far as possible, especially if those resources are Social Security, pension plans, annuities, or other fixed sources.
There are too many places on earth that fit those criteria to list here, but when you start looking at a few of them, you start to realize that there is another way to sort them.
They can be as close or as far away from your home base as you like.
Many expats find that their personal centers of gravity—their families, their health, their cultural and financial interests—require them to spend their expat lives a short plane ride…or even within driving distance…from the folks back home.
Many other expats find that their personal centers of gravity back home allow them to orbit farther afield. Or they find their centers have shifted completely to their new homes abroad.
And just as many expats find that those centers of personal gravity shift more than once for them over the years. Fortunately, the life of an expat can be so cost effective that moving with and accommodating those changing life requirements isn’t a huge financial strain.
Indeed, some expats have found that the farther they are from their old home towns, the more money they save. Aside from being exotic, warm, and friendly, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian countries are some of the most affordable places on earth to live.
The time-and-distance consideration is different for everyone, and can change with time.
This is good news for anyone who has chosen to live, work, or retire abroad. Because once you’re introduced to the many benefits of the expat life, you realize that the world is full of beautiful, interesting, and affordable places to live, and you don’t have to limit yourself to just one.
You can follow your own centers of emotional, financial, and physical gravity wherever they lead you.
You may even find yourself looking forward to the excitement and adventure of the next change.
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