Have you ever dreamed of living in a villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea? Or an off-the-grid ecolodge in the jungles of Costa Rica? Strolling through the vineyards of Tuscany? Or maybe a high-rise apartment in Penang with the best Asian food just steps away…The perfect country is out there for you, but which one?
I’m really surprised at how many people mention that they would love to live in another country, but then say “Oh, it’s only a dream.” Why is it just a dream? It doesn’t have to be. It’s not something you take lightly like “Should I have white wine or red wine tonight?”
Moving to another country is a big opportunity, and you want it to be even more than you imagined. So to do that, you need to try to get as many details right as possible.
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Why do people move to a different country?
There are many reasons why people want to move to a different country. These are the top four reasons:
#1- to enjoy life (slow down)
#2- more time w/ family
#3- cheaper cost of living
#4- culture, food, learn a new language
Yes, we can all get 3 out of 4 of these on our usual vacations. But have you ever been somewhere that you absolutely fell in love with? That you wished you had more time to explore further? Where you could see yourself becoming a local? A place that felt more like “home” then home itself?
Reasons Why People Don’t Follow Their Dreams
First, let’s address why people don’t take that leap of faith and just go for it.
The number one reason why people don’t move to another country is family. Whether you have a close-knit family, kids or aging parents, family is always the number 1 reason why people don’t follow their dreams of moving to another country. If you are close to your family, you will still be close half a world away. If you have small kids, it’s the perfect time to expose them to a new culture and they will pick up on the language faster than you. If you have older kids, it’s good to expand their horizons. And unless your parents are bedridden, they are probably enjoying life more than you right now. And if you move to another country, it means they can visit you longer because “its so far away”.
The nuber two reason people don’t pack up and go is work. They are worried about how they will make money in order to pay for their new life. Today, most corporations have international offices or partner companies. If you have an elite set of skills, you could ask your company for a transfer. Working remotely is another option, which is what Tom is doing. Freelancing or contracting projects is becoming more and more popular. You have valuable skills. You just need to open your mind on how you can use them elsewhere.
Or do something completely different! You might decide to make a hobby into a money stream. Are you good at photography? Writing? This could be your chance to not only follow your dreams of moving to another country, but of doing something you love, and getting paid for it.
How do you find the perfect place for you?
To find the perfect place for you, you have to do research. This move cannot be taken lightly. You need to know why you want to move, what makes you happy, what you don’t want in your new life, and where you want to go.
Let’s start by making two lists of what you like about your place now, and what you don’t like.
Do you like being close to your neighbors? pros and cons
Are you in the city or the suburbs? pros and cons
How close are your daily conveniences like grocery shopping and medical care?
Do you have enough time for recreation?
What is your commute to work? Is it reasonable?
Next, make a list of your “perfect place”. The weather, the activities, the food, your neighbors, dog-friendly, cost of living, etc. Write down every detail of what your daily life would look like.
Now it’s time to do the nitty-gritty research. The following are all things to consider to find the perfect location for you:
Do you want seasons? Do you want warm weather year round? How hot (or cold) can you stand it, and for how long?
City life or small town?
In the city you have access to restaurants, shopping and events. You probably wouldn’t need a car because everything is close and there is public transit. But living space will be smaller and more expensive, outdoor space will probably be hard to come by, and it’s noisy. Smaller towns or outside the city will give you more space, but you will either need a car to get around, or choose a place with reliable transit.
Beach, mountains, jungle or desert?
This depends on what you like to do for outdoor activities. Hiking, scuba diving, zip-lining, and volunteering are just some activities to consider. Keep in mind most beach towns will have higher priced homes or condos on the beach.
Is your “prefect place” in a natural disaster zone? Does it have a hurricane or typhoon season? Are there volcanoes within 100 miles? How often are earthquakes felt? These are some important things to checkout. They can affect your insurance rates.
Cost of Living and Safety
For cost of living and safety factors, check out Numbeo.com. This website allows you to compare your city against your “dream” city.
Are you ok with eating one type of ethnic food? Or do you want an international community with more choices?
Mainstream or dialects? Are you only comfortable with English? This will limit your destinations. Canada, Belize, England, Ireland, Malta, Jamaica and the Bahamas all speak English.
Proximity to “home”
How close do you want to be to an airport? How long will it take you to get back home if there is an emergency? How close do you need to be to your family? How often will you go back “home”?
How will you support yourself?
Will you need to work? Will a company hire you, or will you work remotely via the internet? Do you need a work permit? Or are you retired and living off of savings or Social Security?
What are the requirements for the country you are going to? Do you need to contact the consulate in the United States to start the temporary or permanent visa process before you go? (Double check how much money you need to “prove” you can support yourself)
What is the level of healthcare in your chosen country? Will you be able to get public or private healthcare?
As you can see there are many factors to consider when moving to new country, but the adventures you’ll have are well worth the effort!