“I’m a ____ from _____ who makes $_____ and I want to move abroad. Where do you suggest?”
I get some variation on this question every week in e-mails and blog post comments, which is a big reason I’m putting out a book in August called A Better Life for Half the Price. It’s about drastically lowering your expenses by moving abroad. (Sign up here to get pre-release updates and post-release tips.) The book will have loads of info on the why and where, while some more comprehensive packages will include worksheets, live webinars, and some personal consulting.
I’m adding that last part to the options, as well as interviews with other expats, because telling you where you should move to is like telling you who will be your perfect mate. Getting anywhere close to the target requires learning a whole lot about you, your wants, your needs, and your ability to deal with change.
Most of all though, it’s about priorities. What’s more important to you than anything? Super-low costs? Perfect (for you) weather? The ability to get by in English? Hot women who will treat you like a stud? Great food? The ability to walk everywhere?
These are just a few things that may be at the top of someone’s list. Then there are other factors that may get pushed to the top whether you’ve thought about them or not.
If you’re gay and don’t want to hide it, Argentina, Mexico, Hungary, and Portugal are great. In Uganda or Nigeria, being gay could put you in jail for a decade or more.
If you are a stoner, there are a good number of cheap countries where the marijuana laws are lax or unenforced. In Malaysia, however, a few joints could get you executed.
If you like a regular glass of wine and to go out on the town for cocktails, Panama, Nicaragua, Hungary, and Cambodia are a dream. Morocco, Ecuador, Turkey, and Ecuador are a nightmare.
How well will you deal with finding this in your shower?
Then there are the factors that will remove a place from your list. Some people can’t deal with creepy crawlies. Others will remove any place where they can’t drink the water. Some don’t want to live anywhere they have to wear a jacket. You and only you can decide what’s a deal breaker and what’s not.
As with most things in life, doing something worth doing is going to require some time and effort. Some people visit a place for a weekend, pack up and move there, and it turns out fine. In far more cases, a hasty move without any real soul-searching and a trial run turns out to be a bad idea. You can’t get to know the pros and cons of a place on paper without doing a bit of research. You can’t truly know if a place is right for you without spending some real time there being more than a tourist.
There’s lots to love about my adopted home in Mexico, but plenty that could drive someone crazy in a hurry as well. You can say that about pretty much any place in the world. One person’s perfect spot is another person’s “Get me out of here!” Spend some time and spend some money to figure out which is which for you. Unfortunately, there’s no quick answer and no button you can push that will spit out an answer.
But I’m happy to help you get there.