Does God Have an iPhone? This and Other News from Around the Globe

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on July 27, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

Hello readers,

Welcome back to another edition of the Escape Artist Weekly Round-Up, where we bring you news from all over the world and update you on the happenings within Escape Artist.

This week, I’ve found some news about activists fighting for the rights of parenthood, a great installation piece in Switzerland, and a new expat group fed up with their banks. Also, if you haven’t yet, check out the conference coming up this December!

Just like every Friday, the newest Escape Artist content can be found at the end of this newsletter. Did you know the IRS can revoke your passport? If not, read the article below!


I Can Hear the Bells

Do you ever feel like you’re hearing a phone ringing but don’t know if it’s in your head? If you’re in Lucerne, Switzerland, chances are that sound is real. St. Peter’s Chapel, with the help of local art students, has replaced its bells with the sound of a familiar iPhone ringtone while the original bells undergo maintenance.

The art students from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences say they chose the sound of the iPhone ringtone carefully. They told reporters, “We confide everything to our mobile phone. We communicate with them when alone, we ask them for advice. All of those tasks are actually attributed to the gods.”

The city-wide sound installation piece will be active until July 30.


A Fight for Parenthood

LGBTQ advocates in Tel Aviv are fighting to change surrogacy laws in Israel. After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went back on his promise to pass legislation allowing surrogacy for gay fathers, the community is outraged.

Rainbow flag-yielding protestors hit the streets of Tel Aviv on Sunday, even blocking a major highway briefly. Tens of thousands of protestors marched in Rabin Square. Other protestors were posted outside of Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem. They are fighting to ensure equal treatment of the LGBTQ community.

The Prime Minister, taking all of the flack for his vote against the legislation, says he was under pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jewish coalition partners. As a gay-friendly country, often noted as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations, many are outraged.

The protestors have gained global support and activists will continue to fight for equality.


Swiss Expat Group Says “No More!”

Switzerland, a country known for its welcoming and attractive banking system, may not be treating its own expats as well as you would think. A group of Swiss expats living in surrounding European countries and the U.S. are not getting the benefits of their banks as they did when they lived in their home country.

For years, expat Swiss have been unhappy with the way they are treated by their home banks. They are losing access to Swiss banking services under unfair conditions and are hit with excessive fees. The OSA, a Swiss Expat group of more than 750,000, won’t stand for it anymore.

OSA president, Remo Gysin, is very honest about the group’s intentions with the banks in an interview. They want to regain access and change the high banking fees. The group is active with lobbying efforts and a parliamentary group of about 100 people who regularly talk to government committees and organizations in parliament.


Come for the Island, Stay for the Dancing

Have you ever been on a trip to a new country but felt that you just weren’t experiencing the culture? It’s easy to find what’s familiar or do what all of the other tourists are doing. One tour of the beautiful island of Tanna challenges visitors by taking them deep into native culture.Consumer Resource Guide

The tour of the Vanuatu island takes places in the Imoklan village on the west side of Tanna. Here, guests will experience native dancing, food, and end with a traditional festival.

Travelers will be led by native guides who will go deep into the history and traditions of the Toka dance, the cuisine, and one of the world’s largest banyan trees.

If you still haven’t made your vacation plans, or are looking for a winter destination, this trip to Vanuatu might be perfect for you.


Save the Date!

We have received so much great feedback and help in planning the very first Escape Artist conference! Your contribution to our survey gives us a great idea of what the event will look like, what we will discuss, and how many of you would like to attend. We are excited to announce that the dates and location of the conference have been decided!  

Mark Your Calendars for December 1st and 2ndand book your trip to Dallas, Texas, to meet all of your favorite Escape Artists!

Want to join us? Contact me here If you would like to reserve your spot, please send me a message and I will personally send you the official invite when it is finalized over the coming weeks. There will also be a 10% discount for anyone who reserves a spot in the month of June. Seats are limited, so act now!

If you’d still like to share your ideas for the conference, you can fill out the survey  here!


Thank you for reading this week’s round-up! If you’re interested in learning what it’s like to become an expat, don’t hesitate to ask some questions. At Escape Artist, we aim to ensure that your travels abroad run as smoothly as they can.

Whether you are planning on living, working, retiring, or investing overseas, Escape Artist can help you every step of the way. Don’t forget to check out the eBook store for the 2018 Expat Tax Guide and our wonderful country guides!  

For more information on what’s going on in the international scene, check out some of this week’s newest articles!


P.S. Do you have questions about how to live abroad and what the experience is like? Are you looking for international investment opportunities? Want to meet like-minded people who are in the same boat as you? Come hang out with other EA readers and the Escape Artist staff! We will be hosting an event this year and can’t wait to meet you!

Click here to find out more information and to stay in the loop on locations and dates! It’s important that this event be exactly what YOU want – no alternate agenda or product pitches! This is about answering YOUR questions!

In order for the event to be a success, take a second to fill out this survey. By sending us your thoughts, you can tailor the event to your specific overseas needs. We will also be supplying a 10% discount during registration to everyone that filled out the survey to make the event possible!

The IRS Can Refuse or Confiscate Your Passport

The IRS now has authority over your passport. The U.S. tax man can control where you live and where you travel. In fact, the IRS is holding 362,000 passports hostage until their owners pay up. The service will keep you in the land of the free until you pay what they claim you owe, and you have no right to appeal or complain… just pay and shut up.

I’ve been warning that this day was coming for two years now. At the end of 2015, Congress passed a law that gave the IRS the right to control your travel. It’s taken a while, but the IRS now has its act together and is refusing to renew the passports of…

Read more…

Traveling Out of the United States Without a Passport

The United States IRS froze over 365,000 U.S. passports last week. If you owe more than $50,000 to the IRS, you won’t be able to renew your passport and it could be revoked at any time. And this got me to thinking, how can someone travel out of the United States without a passport? In this post, I will look at how to travel out of the U.S. without a passport.

When your one and only passport expires, and you can’t get a new one, or your passport is revoked for any reason, you’re basically stuck in your home country. Without a valid passport, you won’t be allowed on an international flight and are…

Read more…

Best Countries for Gay Expats

In this article, we’ll consider the best countries for gay expats. If you’re looking to move out of your country of citizenship, here are some LGBT-friendly options. An expat is someone that moves to another country and intends to make it their home for the foreseeable future. Here are the best countries for gay expats.

Let me be blunt. There are many places in the world that aren’t welcoming to gay expats. This is especially true in some of the top expat destinations in Latin America. If you want to live open and be with like-minded individuals, you’ll need to find a country, city, and area in the city that is gay-friendly.

Without any further adieu, here’s our list of the best countries for gay expats:


If you plan on going to live in another country, but don’t want to travel that far, then Canada is…

Read more…

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on July 27, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.