Who Moves to Another Country?

When I first left my home country, it was with the intention of traveling for a few years and then going home. I haven't been back to Canada since. And most people can't understand why someone like me, with a promising future in a "civilized" country, would just decide to settle down in a third world country. But I'm not the only one. In fact, there are thousands of people who do the same thing every day, and I know this because I help many of them move here.

So just what is the grand appeal in living in a foreign country? The fact is that once you've spent a year or two in another country, it doesn't feel foreign anymore. In fact, it can become home. I consider GuThe open road(44735)Credit: Genesis Daviesatemala to be my home more than I do Canada at this point and I've spent just a decade here, as opposed to two decades in my birth country.

Many people don't make the decision to become an expat on a whim. It might start with a trip to the country in question and the subsequent adoration of the culture, but even so, the vast majority of folks just settle with an annual vacation to their favorite country. So what is it that makes someone move completely and embrace a new culture as their own?

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Money. Moving to a 3rd world country means you need far less money than you would in a first world country. Here, for example, most expats enjoy maids and nannies at a fraction of the price they would pay in their original country.
  • Jobs. Maybe you've been offered a job in another country. This can be an excellent reason to move, particularly if you just don't have many opportunities in your birth country.
  • Adventure. It IS an adventure to move to a foreign place and an exciting one at that! But most people find the adventure part drifts away after a few months in country and they become comfortable there and end up staying.
  • Escape. I've met at least one fugitive in Guatemala, but many expats are escaping from other things . . . a bad relationship, a depressing lifestyle, bankruptcy, etc. 
  • Family. Maybe you were adopted from another country, or perhaps you have family members that live there. The ties that come with blood can be a strong reason to move to a place you have no residency in. 

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to leave their own country behind and as plane tickets rise and rise in price, going back for visits is rapidly becoming something you only do once a year, if that. If you're interested in living in another country, stay tuned, I'll be sharing more expat tips and topics in the future. 

Could You Live Here?

Guatemala
Credit: Genesis Davies