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Vacation vs. Living Abroad

When Vacation Becomes Your Permanent Reality

Nothing beats a great vacation.  Whether your idea of the perfect vacation is sun worshipping on a white sand beach or scotch tasting in the rolling hills of Ireland, it’s always hard to return to your normal life.  But what if your “normal” life was your destination choice?  Thousands of people every year make the leap to live permanently in their favorite place in the world and you could be joining them.

Jackie Hopper needed a vacation from the United States.  Her job was stressing her out and she had recently heard from an old friend who had moved to Costa Rica.  On a whim, she went to visit her friend in Dominical, Costa Rica for 10 days and instantly she fell in love with the pristine beaches, the relaxed atmosphere, and the simple jungle surroundings.

Upon returning to the States, she felt a total paradigm shift in her life.  As she sat in her stuffy windowless cubicle she thought, “Could I really make the transition to live there permanently?  What about my job and my friends?”

Jackie did in fact move back permanently.  After six months of big decisions and research, she sold most of her possessions and she is now a successful hair dresser (a career she had enjoyed earlier in life) in Dominical with a little cabina by the beach.

While everyone can’t make the transition happen quite as quickly as Jackie, her story isn’t a new one.  Luckily for her, she had the advantage of a friend who was able to offer realistic advice on specifics of living in Costa Rica, so she knew that living in paradise was going to be a lot different than being there for a couple weeks.  Even if you don’t have this advantage, just remember, people still need to pay bills, do laundry and run errands no matter where they live.

However, if you’ve ever gone on vacation and thought, “I could totally live here,” maybe it’s time to start doing some in-depth research.  By already visiting the place you want to live and having this feeling, you’ve already completed the first crucial step.

Next, you’ll need to take some time to learn about visa requirements, cost of living, banking systems, year-around climate, transportation, and safety to name a few.  You’ll also need to consider your feelings on leaving everything that is familiar to you – friends, places, and possibly your first language – to pursue your dream.

Once you’ve done some serious soul searching and the answer is still yes, then with a little work you too can join the ranks of millions of expats living abroad in their dream location.

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