Sunday, October 12, 2008

Moving On...

What makes you an expat? the fact that you move away from your country of origin and make a life somewhere else. I am not talking about the people that move reluctantly looking for a better life. They move because things in their country of origin had deteriorated so badly that it is impossible for them to make a living. Life will be hard at times and they do work hard, they need to support their families back home and that is a priority. More times than not, they end up just assimilating into the new country. Those are not real expats, but immigrants. I am talking about the ones that voluntarily move away, willingly pick a place and do research about it and make the move. They arrive there, make a life and decide if it's worth staying or if it's not, they decide to move on again. Those are, in my view, the true expats.

There are more and more of these lately. The younger generation of expats is a motley group that know what they want and are not afraid to go get it...anywhere that is. It is a refreshing trait, I find. Completely different from the thousands that moved to remote places in the previous two centuries, looking for a life of adventure, going to represent their countries' interests, settling there and seldom coming home until they retired. The new expats have the advantage to come home as much as they wish, they spend holidays all over the globe and are not afraid of moving to another country at a drop of a hat.

What wonderful thing! In some ways, it has to do with age, but mostly it has to do with a sense that the world is an open's there to be seen and enjoyed. Take my daughter, Camille. She went to London five years ago to study Art at the Sotheby's Institute. It was to be a fifteen month course and once she got her degree, she was to return to Boston. Well, she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. Since she carries a Dutch passport, this was easily accomplished. She finished, got herself a job and a flat and stayed. She has made friends and has enjoyed evey minute.

In true expat fashion, she has adapted and calls the city home . She travels around Europe when she can and has no desire to come back to the States for now...but would not rule out moving to another European country. She is considering it! And why not? isn't this what the new expat is? someone that can adapt anywhere, at any time? I do envy her....must be so exciting to move freely and to know that you can make it and succeed, because you already did!

So back to expats, there is another kind and it also has to do with age. These are the ones, that looking to retire, have found that staying in one's country is not always the smartest thing. Your money can go a long way in other countries.....can't count on the developing countries economies anymore. Millions are moving overseas to live the life of their dreams: a nice home, household help, good health care that is cheap. I have friends that have done this and cannot be happier. So move on if you can and want, the world with all its complications is still a wonder!

No comments: