More and more people living in North America and elsewhere are considering the question of how to living differently, and perhaps even considering moving abroad to do that. For many, life is becoming more intense and uncomfortable, so it might be attractive to explore other options on where to relocate.
To be honest, living abroad can be overwhelming, scary, and sometime even lonely. But the process can be much simpler than you think. Perhaps the doubts about making this move are really misconceptions that the logistics of moving are just too much of a nightmare to bear. Here are some of those misconceptions about living abroad that others have admitted to:
I’ll have to quit my job
These days technology is so advanced that it is possible to convince your employer about the benefits of you working overseas, or negotiate a pay cut, or even a sabbatical leave while you are deciding. Many are under the false belief that if they quit their job, they will never find another one.
I need to make money
Life in North America is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. Living in some countries, and especially ‘3rd-world’ countries, your funds go much further. Of course you wouldn’t want to make this kind of a leap of faith without having some savings to rely on until you get settled. Anywhere from $5-$10,000 in savings is advisable.
There are actually any number of ways to actually earn money while living abroad. There is freelance work writing articles for various companies, which is more affordable considering how low the cost of living is in those ‘3rd-world’ countries. Check out websites where people and companies outsource online services such as writing, editing, or website design. There are even programs where you can trade hours of work for housing and food. In short, don’t let your fear of money scarcity stop you.
I just don’t feel comfortable making such a permanent decision
At first even the thought of living abroad can seem like a huge and unchangeable decision, but it doesn’t have to be. You can always go back anytime you choose … if you choose. Many foreigners have designed a comfortable life where they live in their adopted country for 6 months, and then return to their home country for the other 6 months. But you may find that your more relaxed quality of life is worth sticking around for. It is all your choice.
This is bad for my future. I need to be responsible
While it may seem more responsible to continue working at a job, a job you may not even enjoy, and only dreaming about the life you really wanted to live. With the dream of retiring at 65, to do what – play golf and then die? When you come to realize and accept that this is your life, then you can make the choices on how you want to live it. No one is guaranteed any kind of future. So why spend your time and your youth saving up for it? Take the chance, be irresponsible, follow your dreams, and listen to your gut instincts. Instead, choose to be responsible to yourself, for the world will go on without you.
My friends and family will think I am crazy
At first it may appear so. They may even be concerned for you leaving a high-paying job and a somewhat secure future to head off into the unknown. But, in the end, they love you and they will get over it. You may even end up becoming an inspiration, and the trailblazer for others to follow their own dreams too.
I will be sad to miss my friends and family
That might have been true some years ago. But with the advances in technology, you can probably stay in touch with friends and family more often than you did when you lived in the same city. Plus, you haven’t even considered all the new friends you will make, some who will become as close as family. And after awhile, you will realize that you can land anywhere on the planet and you will know someone there (or someone who knows someone).
If I get hurt or sick, I won’t be as well taken care of as back home. Plus, I’ll have no medical insurance!
Many of the hospitals abroad, and even those in developing countries, are just as good, if not better than back home. In fact, many people travel to Costa Rica specifically because of the more affordable health care for medical and dental procedures. There are actually dozen of health insurance companies to choose from that specialize in travel insurance, and some even based in Costa Rica geared to foreigners.
I don’t speak the language.
In most places in the world, no matter where that little village may be, someone there will have a basic understanding of English. It has become the international language around the world. But it is truly surprising what kinds of amazing conversations you can have with only a smattering of the local language, hand signals, body language, and the international language of pointing and smiling. The truth is though, you don’t need to be fluent in a new language to get around, and find what you need. And what a fantastic way to learn a new language when you are immersed in the culture and the country.
It isn’t safe to live outside of the United States
Looking at statistics, the US falls somewhat in the middle of the ‘safest’ countries in the world. So that belief that living there will keep you safer is just not true. It may feel safer, but perhaps that is just because it is more familiar. Living abroad certainly does contain more of the unknown, but then you become more aware and alert. It is that increased alertness that will keep you safe, not the false sense of security based on where you live.
Many of the hesitations and even fears that keep you from moving abroad are really just in your own mind. Focusing on the possible bad things that ‘might’ happen, rather than being open to the wonderful possibilities that are out there waiting to meet you. Of course there will be new challenges, unknown challenges that will come up. But from facing these, you will learn that you are much stronger, more resourceful, and more confident than you ever knew. You have faced your challenges in the past, and most often, found the perfect solution. Nothing is different. Just where you live, for you are that same person.
These challenges, experiences, and successes outside your home country will definitely change you though. In ways you never anticipated, in ways you will be so grateful for. Become one of those who were courageous enough to live a life beyond your wildest dreams when you face your fears of why you can’t.