When I was a child, I dreamt of far-away places in the world that I would one day see. I never considered that I wouldn’t live outside the the States for a few years, at least.
Feeling I was meant for warmer weather, especially hating the bitter cold winter winds in the North East, I was determined to find a pleasant climate when I grew up, and live there forever and ever. Unlike most childhood wishes, this one stuck with me. In fact, it developed into a full-blown thirst to see many distant countries.
As a young twenty-something adult, I finally found a means of making the jump across the puddle. In my explorations, I thought of only me, and not my future children. I partied in Sydney, Perth, Dublin, Amsterdam, and Paris to name a few. I enjoyed my pre-family days.
They did end, happily indeed, with the birth of my son. Then my mission altered from finding the perfect place in the world for me, to discovering the best place in the world to raise my children. With all my traveling experience, I knew I had more options than settling down in the same town I was born in. There are a few reasons why I chose to consider moving my young family elsewhere.
1. We don’t feel safe in the States.
Like many parents these days, I have developed a growing doubt of my children’s security while in the States. How could we not worry, when mass shootings like Sandy Hook make metal detectors and police monitoring a necessity? I fear taking them to family-centered public businesses like malls, movie theaters, and even playgrounds. Terrible acts of violence that have become all to common in our homeland are forcing our parents to search for any way to protect their children.
Before moving outside of the country, I considered home-schooling as an effort to keep my little ones safe. I didn’t know what else I could do from that location. Thankfully, we found another way to lower their chances for attack by moving to peaceable Costa Rica, a country that doesn’t even have need of a military.
2. Our children can learn other languages.
One extra plus to living outside of the States is that our kids will be exposed to additional languages. It is our hope that they will have a conversational knowledge of several leading tongues, namely Spanish, French, German, and Dutch. Studies show that a child that spends their first two years in a foreign land is more likely to be able to pick up that second language easier later in life.
3. It is easier to live a healthy lifestyle.
As we’ve chosen to move to Central America for our first year outside of North America, we have found many bonuses of living in a warmer climate. We enjoy year-round spring temperatures and therefore an extensive variety of home-grown produce. In our new yard, we even have a few banana and mango trees. With large, weekly farmers markets available to us in every small town, we can stock up on many fruits and vegetables at a fraction of the cost than we paid in the States.
Also, because of the excellent public transportation that accompanies many non-US countries, we find ourselves walking more in the fresh open air. The instant decrease in toxins in our oxygen from over-production, and increase of vitamins in our bodies from an effortless healthy diet make our new country a much better place for our whole family.
4. It’s cheaper.
Back home in the States, we spent almost all of our waking hours chasing the dollar, only to find ourselves hungry for that next paycheck week after week. Even in days of prosperity, we never could have lived in a house like we have now, with a huge and incredible view of the Central Valley below us, in a land that people save their pennies to visit. We live in a vacation spot!
Our friends are shocked to hear that our monthly expenses are drastically lower while living in Costa Rica. We can take our family of four to the tropical beach an hour away for less than $10 round-trip. We can explore a vast array of natural wonders, like neighboring waterfalls, volcanoes, and protected rainforest and wildlife exhibits for a small entrance fee. It’s a wonderful world down here that we are not stressed to live comfortably in.
The List Continues
The benefits to raising our children outside of the United States goes on and on. In most countries in Europe, our offspring would have access to a free college education. Also, by following a vagabond lifestyle, we can fill the family photo albums with shots from across the world.
More importantly, our kids can grow up knowing it’s not just about “America,” and that we have brothers and sisters all over the globe. Our hope is to raise culturally-conscious, caring and generous people, with a wealth of knowledge stored up from traveling and living outside of the United States of America.