3 Real World, Non-Financial Benefits of Being an Expat
There are dozens of reasons to live as an expat, and each of us has our own priorities and objectives for wanting to pursue this life.
Much of the information and advice put forth to make the case for becoming an expat is that there are financial benefits of lower taxes, reduced living expenses, new investment opportunities and general flexibility in how you can arrange your financial affairs.
All of those are true. They are advantages that can make a very serious difference in your lifestyle, sense of security, and how well you sleep at night.
You owe it to yourself to look into those elements of becoming an expat. But, dare I say, there really is more to life than money.
So permit me to tell you some of the less-discussed benefits of being an expat.
Feel Young Again
If you’re in your twenties you can skip this bit. But for those of us with a little grey hair, anything that brings back feelings of youth is worth its weight in Centrum Silver vitamins.
Being in a totally new and literally ‘foreign’ environment is an adventure akin your first memories of being at a state fair. Travel writer Bill Bryson put it like this: “I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. … Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”
When my wife Connie and I get to a new city and settle into a place to live, there is no better feeling than coming out of our door and knowing that new discoveries await in every direction we walk.
Remember being a teenager who went into the big city with your friends for the first time? Or taking a summer vacation to the distant ocean or mountains? That sense of newness, discovery, and permanent memories was around every corner.
Those innocent days are long gone for everyone reading this. But a similar and long-dormant feeling of youth is triggered when you board a slow train through the jungle to Penang, Malaysia, or as you walk up the ancient trail to the Parthenon in Athens, or when you feel the wind grab your sails on the Caribbean Sea.
And it’s not like when you’re on a vacation and you know to the hour how long you have until your plane returns home and ends your bliss.
This is different.
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This is the feeling of knowing you can live like this for as long as you want. You can have a shot at feeling young again any time you want.
What’s that worth?
Burst the Stress Bubble
I’m writing this article during a global pandemic and a US presidential election. The news is a steady stream of fear, fear, fear.
In fact, “news” isn’t even news anymore. It’s infotainment. News broadcasts have dramatic soundtracks, jarring graphics, and angry presenters.
Calm informed and reasoned analysis has been replaced by blatant, juvenile manipulation of irrational fears, cultural biases and political lies presented as facts. Everyone I know back home is living with daily, relentless stress from this onslaught.
And you could pick any year in the last thirty and the situation would be the same in principle. The 24-hour news cycle sells toothpaste and prescription medicines using fear and division to keep people tuned in until the next commercial.
But when you get out to the little expat enclaves in Mexico, Belize, Thailand and hundreds of others, you spend your day around salt of the earth locals and other like-minded expats who have all turned their backs on the crap back home.
As an expat, you spend your days getting to know new people who have funny stories, interesting backgrounds, and knowledge about what places you could see and what experiences you should try.
Expats are more relaxed because they are living life on their own terms. They are happier because they’ve taken steps to get their lives on the track they want. And they aren’t targets to be manipulated for political gain. They are outside “the system.”
Expats aren’t the proverbial low hanging fruit to be exploited financially and emotionally. All of that baggage was left behind when they found a new place (or places) to live.
That’s very liberating.
The stress leaves your body. The people around you feel the same. The whole dynamic of interaction with other people changes. You feel like you’re living a more natural life – a life that’s not being blatantly manipulated.
Here’s a podcast from The Expat Money Show where Mikkel and I talk about safely leaving the rat race by starting an online business!
See Yourself as a Doer
Connie and I have a ritual.
We have several lists of things we want to do. Some are complex, like spending time in the South Pacific going to remote islands. Some are much easier, like traveling on a train that goes 200 mph or standing on the site of Aristotle’s Lyceum.
We probably have a hundred of these little goals. Every time we achieve one of these we “celebrate the victory.” That’s our ritual.
We take a moment to formally acknowledge that we made a goal at some point in the past, and today we hit that goal.
It may seem like a moot exercise. But the reason we do it is because it reinforces the feeling that we are people who set goals and then reach those goals.
We’re dreamers for sure, but we aren’t idle dreamers. We have a dream, then we make a plan to achieve it, then we execute the plan. When we hit the goal we stop to celebrate the victory.
I mention this only because you so infrequently hear people talk about having this opportunity in life.
To some extent, all expats have this opportunity. At some point they dreamed of making a different life for themselves. Now, every time they step outside their home they reinforce the sense of being a person who “does” instead of just being a person who talks about doing.
And every person who does it once knows he or she could do it again.
In fact, every time gets easier. Change is not frightening anymore. Options open up. And you see yourself as a person who will exercise his options.
Hey, we’re all guilty of saying we want things that we don’t make the effort to achieve. That’s a given. And it’s why I know what if feels like when I talk to people who say “I’ve wanted my own online business for years” “I’ve wanted out of the rat race for years.” “I’d like to live in a warm place on my own terms.”
But I also know how good it feels to execute a plan and to have an experience I said I wanted and then achieved. And that’s not to be taken lightly. Which is exactly why Connie and I ‘celebrate victory’ every time it happens.
Ready For Your Turn?
Are you ready to live life on your own terms – create your own online income? Reach out to us at Safely Leave The Rat Race. We are committed to helping you get from whatever point you are right now – to the point of earning regular, predictable online income.
Here are some additional articles that I’ve written this year about Safely Leaving The Rat Race, enjoy!
The #1 Income Hack in Every Expat Country
Visualize Your Life Outside the Rat Race
About The Author
Pete Sisco has been a successful online entrepreneur and author for over 20 years, building and operating multiple online businesses generating millions in online revenue. This business is how he helps people like our readers do the same.
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