The 'Problem' With Being an Expat
Jun 05, 2013
You’ve found the perfect house, with a view some might just kill for. Your internet is up and going; you’ve even had a few Skype calls with friends and family back home without incident. Utilities, maid service, bank accounts and cell phones are organized and up and operating… you’ve been on every tour you could find of your new backyard and tried every restaurant within walking distance and even taxi distance…
It’s been 8 months that you’ve been living in the paradise you now call home, and you might be thinking to yourself, “now what?”
Chances are, there are other expats in your area that you’ve met with, maybe even had a dinner party or had a card or games night, but you find that most of your time is spent browsing Facebook and watching satellite TV. Does this sound like your life right now? Before you move abroad?
When you’re purchasing international real estate there is an exotic, adventurous, euphoric feeling that comes over you… dealing with developers and lawyers in a faraway land just seems so much more sexy then buying property in North America. And that feeling continues throughout the entire moving process and again once you’ve settled and are exploring. But fast-forward several months, and the next thing you know, everything that seemed impossible to manage only a few short months ago are… well, managed. That sense of euphoria has subsided and all the unknowns about your new home have pretty much made themselves known. The next thing you know, you’ve got routines, and they’re not looking a whole lot different then your old routines… notwithstanding nicer weather, a better backdrop and with fewer expenses.
For most new expats, that’s exactly what they were looking for. Basically a better, more inexpensive version of what they had before they moved. And there is no shortage of countries that can offer this… Costa Rica, Honduras and Ecuador are only a few examples.
That being said, not all expats have the same expectations. For some, they expect that moving abroad will change everything in their lives… even who they were prior to moving. Then, one day they wake up to realize they’re still that person, and - aside from living in a more exotic locale - their life isn’t all that different, ultimately making them feel that they’ve ‘missed something’ about being an expat.
Obviously, they haven’t. In fact, quite the opposite; they’re exactly where they should be at the 6-8 month mark. They’ve demystified the ins and outs of their new country and have settled in a routine, an achievement in it’s own right! The next step is determining whether or not it’s the routine they really want… and if it’s not, doing something about it. After all, moving to a new country may free you from old baggage, but you’re still you.
If reinventing yourself and/or changing your lifestyle is what you’re hoping for by moving abroad, you’re well on your way. That’s part of the beauty of living in a new country. But you need to steer the ship… you can’t merely move to another country one day and expect to wake up a completely different person the next.
Consequently, you are the captain of that ship, and moving abroad may set free a piece of you that you didn’t even know was there… an entrepreneur, a writer, an artist… the possibilities are endless. And, typically these new-found passions won’t make an appearance until the necessities are taken care of and you’ve got everything in order.
So don’t look at it like you’re ‘missing something’, instead try to figure out what you’re missing… missing the pets that you left behind when you chose to ‘simplify’ your life? Perhaps a pet-sitting business is in your future… Enjoy making music and singing? Maybe starting an open jam session at the local bar or restaurant would prove a good outlet, or open your own restaurant! It may sound cliché, but you are the master of your own destiny…
No doubt about it, the first several months of living in a new country are exciting and a bit scary. Learning the ropes and understanding your new way of life does take time. But once you’re settled and you’ve established a daily routine, take a breath… close your eyes, and summon your inner passions and imagination, because ultimately that will be your only limitation. Moving to a new country will open up the opportunity to do just that.
Want a taste of what living in another country might be like? Visit one of our developer partners on a Discovery Weekend and receive a full tour of available properties and turn-key homes. You’ll have a chance to see surrounding towns and meet your future neighbors.