Posted on 01/11/2012
relocating to a “life of leisure” in a far-off land while
avoiding the current hassles of your home country?
Well. As an expat, living in the Philippines, I have had the opportunity to see things from a completely indigenous perspective. This means that I didn’t decide to grab onto my life savings, rely on that old social security check, marry someone young enough to be my daughter and hide out in some gated community in a Philippines province. Oh no. I decided to take the “Ernest Hemmingway approach” and dive right in to the “belly of the beast” (except without Ernest’s money, fame, knowledge, whatever…). Was I satisfied with the results? Well, I can say this much – I’m pretty confident that I could set up shop, so to speak, in just about any corner of the world and find some measure of peace and contentment. I even know how to correctly exchange currency. Imagine that. Plus, unlike Mr. Hemmingway, I’m still breathing.
But here’s the thing. I wouldn’t suggest that anyone attempt this sort of kamikaze approach without doing a heck of a lot of research. That’s why blogs, such as this, exist. In my case, I managed to amass a wealth of experience that I really had no initial intention of accumulating. And, to be honest with you, I think that I have a few items that I can share that are pretty applicable to anyone who is considering a complete overhaul of their life. A sort of “do-over”, if you will. It can be done. The best part is that you will have the freedom to direct your life the way that you want – towards the outcome that you desire.
The “not so best” part? It involves a lot more than you may expect – and that’s why I intend to present to you “the man behind the curtain.” Or, in other words, the things that you may not have heard from those who either don’t know how to express themselves adequately or who just want to be envied for their ability to think out of the box. Those guys are sipping a tropical beverage and being waited on, hand and foot, by their many servants. How wonderful – a tropical paradise obtained without a care in the world. Right. So, without further adieu, here’s the straight scoop (or at least the beginning).
First of all, you will encounter enough drama without getting caught up in the small details, so plan your entrance carefully. Believe it or not, visa details can be the most exasperating things you may ever encounter. Because, let’s face it, you’re a foreigner attempting to enter a world that may not think the same way that you do. While I was dead positive that the guy on the corner with the “Rolex” watches and that begging kid (with a mouthful of Jollibee French fries) were more than happy to greet me upon my arrival, I got the feeling that the Immigration Bureau didn’t quite feel the same. So here is my first piece of advice.
Remember that relocating to another country is far more than just a geographical move. It is a move towards a different culture and mindset.
It’s honestly weird how many expat wannabes overlook this fact and manage to stress themselves out, as a result. So, what is the best way to approach this situation? We’ll look closely at this in another entry.