The decision to leave your entire life, family and friends in the only country you have ever known is a very substantial one, but it is a decision people have been making since the world began. Since there is still no manual for it, I am using my life as a blueprint for you to follow. I’ll start by telling you my expat story.
Around January, I visited Colombia for the second time. Although my first trip was AMAZING and awe inspiring, it never occurred to me that one day this would be the country that I would call home some day. When I arrived for second time, I again felt this nostalgia, but I was in a different space mentally this time. I had come to the realization that material things no longer mattered to me, the U.S. wasn’t the only place that could provide a good life for me, and I didn’t need to be in corporate America to take care of myself. Moreover, corporate America was only covering my bills and a few extracurricular activities on the side so it wasn’t creating a windfall of cash that could secure my future. Quite frankly, I was concerned about life after retirement because I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to afford the enormous expense of a California lifestyle on social security, if that’s even still available when I retire, and on what little I managed to stow away in my 401K.
My decision was two-fold based on whether I’d be able to generate enough income for myself outside of a typical 9-5, and when would I be able to live the life of travel that I desired if I did things the way that the American way was designed. From an American perspective, I’d retire at age 66, and then I would be free to travel freely. Well, who knows what tomorrow may bring. My Mother had passed away only a month before I decided to take this voyage at the age of 57 so who’s to say I’d even live that long. On top of that, I’d be 66 years old so I wouldn’t have the physical flexibility that I once had in my youth. With these facts in hand and having met many expats while I was visiting Colombia who were already living this lifestyle, I decided that the time was now, and I could no longer put off my happiness for a date to be determined.
So I decided. I decided that the time is now. The time is now for me to live the life of my dreams. Now is the time to explore the world. Now is the time to follow my heart. In March, I decided that it was time to plan my exodus. When people in Colombia asked if I was coming back, I of course I told them I’d be returning, but they all followed up with the question, “when”? I’d always be thinking to myself, “well, I just decided I was moving, give me some time.” As I was on the plane in April I even questioned myself. So when are you going to do it? Then I remembered that for any other goal I had set for myself, when a deadline was attached, it typically wouldn’t happen. I guess the expats already in Colombia had already known this and were just checking the thermometer of my sincerity. So right then and there, I decided that I would return in six months. For some reason, when I did the math in my head, that got me to September when it really should have been October 1st, but by then I had decided, and it was final.
I WAS BECOMING AN EXPAT TO COLOMBIA!!!!! This was the day a became free. Free of the weight of the world, free of the chains around my neck from corporate America, free from the chain of earning my American dream. I was just free to be whoever I wanted to be. It was my choice. I no longer operated under the confines of love and marriage, employee and employer, lender and borrower. Now, all I had to do was figure out how to pay for it all which was no small fete.
Well, once I got off the plane, I immediately went into life change planning mode. I needed to wrap up my life in the U.S. and being to plan for a life abroad. Here’s where it gets complicated, and for you, this is where I come in. I can help you go from deciding to planning. This process can seem a bit overwhelming, but I can help you plan, get organized and execute. What I’m offering is something I desperately needed when I was planning my new life. I will help you feel more confident about your decision, give you insight into how your story matches up with other expats, work efficiently and systematically on the planning process so you still have time to enjoy your life, juggle your current lifestyle with the new lifestyle you are planning while getting everything done that’s important for your big move.
I would like to say CONGRATULATIONS on making this huge life change. I’m here to support you in whatever way you may need. Thank you for trusting me with something so precious to you, your happiness.