Why would anyone move abroad?
Truth be told, nobody would move abroad…if they were completely happy with everything about the place they currently lived.
If everybody lived where the weather was perfect, the cost of living affordable, the taxes low, the health care quality high, the people friendly, the food and water clean, the crime rate no problem, the politics sane, and the culture and geography interesting enough to satisfy an adventurous spirit of discovery…nobody would move anywhere.
But for some people, it can be a challenge to find all those things in one place, especially where they may live right now.
Take me, for example. I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, in the U.S., and I still think it’s one of the best places on earth in many ways.
But I had a wife who wanted to see the world, a budget that was getting hammered by taxes and utility costs, a health insurance policy that was so expensive it was making me sick, and a deep desire to never have to drive through, walk in, or shovel snow again. Ever.
So in 2001, we moved to Ecuador and haven’t lived in the U.S. since.
We’ve spent time in and lived in many different places around the world since then, always on the lookout for those ideal conditions mentioned above. And today, we live in a place where the weather is perfect, the cost of living affordable, the taxes low, the health care quality high, the people friendly, the food and water clean, the crime rate no problem, the politics sane, and the culture and geography interesting enough to satisfy an adventurous spirit of discovery.
There are many places like that out here in the world, and there are a lot of expats living happily in them.
But it can still sound like a strange and exotic topic to someone who has never spent more than a few days or weeks of vacation outside their home country. For some, it’s a concept that’s hard to grasp. And frankly, living in a foreign country isn’t for everybody. It’s not even for most people…otherwise there wouldn’t be anybody left in the places with bad weather and high cost of living.
There are really only two ways for a person to find out if moving abroad is right for them. They either have to spend a lot of time abroad to discover what life there is really like instead of just what it’s like on vacation…or they have to talk to people who have already done it themselves.
They have to hear from and ask questions of people who have made the move, plowed the ground, forged the trail, lived the life. Hopefully they gain from the hard-won wisdom of others. They learn about the good AND the bad so they can accurately assess if living the expat life is what they really want to do.
There aren’t a lot of chances to do that without going abroad yourself. It’s hard to meet with a big group of experienced expats living in a variety of countries around the world without actually going on a world cruise, hunting them all up, and grilling them about their lives.
But there is one good chance I know of to do that each year. I know about it because I’m part of it. It’s an annual event that International Living hosts in the U.S. for anyone who wants to research all the finer details about the expat lifestyle without actually becoming an expat first.
We put hundreds of people together with dozens of experienced expats and legal and financial experts in Las Vegas each year. Vegas seems like the right place to do it—it’s easy and affordable to get to, it’s custom made to cater to large groups of people, and it’s a fun place in and of itself.
And it’s the one place each year where I see so many people asking the real question—”Why would anyone move abroad?”—and getting straight answers and thoughtful advice from people who have actually done it. It’s as close to hand-holding as you can get.
This event gets the largest attendance of any of our annual conferences…because it’s easy. You don’t need a passport. You don’t need to speak Spanish, French, Italian, or Thai. You don’t need to arrange an airport transfer in a strange country. You don’t need to wonder where to go to get something familiar to eat or drink.
This makes getting the nitty-gritty details of life abroad from the experts about as comfortable and fun as it gets.
So why move abroad?
See all the reasons above.
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