March 26, 2016

Moving Abroad? Are You Being Pushed Out or Pulled Out?

In our five years of living in Cuenca Ecuador and traveling in South America we have met all types of people that have decided to move abroad. And we have found that most people generally fit in two major categories. 

Those that are:
 

1. ‘pushed out’ and those that are 2. ‘pulled out'.
 

Pushed Out from the Land We Live in Now to Move to a New Land

Pushed out of our homeland means that ‘our society’, ‘our culture’, ‘our neighbors' and 'our compatriots’ are no longer appreciating who we are as a person.  Because the feeling that we are not appreciated as a person by an entire culture, or at least it seems that way because we are becoming a minority in the way we act, do, and well, live.
 

Being a minority in and of itself is not necessarily a problem.  If you’re queen Elizabeth, or King of Thailand for example, you’re a minority of one, but almost everybody loves you.  Or at least they act like they do.  On the other hand if your “type” is not appreciated, not respected, not loved, or worse, despised by the very actions of your culture, by the fact that they treat you as an outcast, your type is publicly ridiculed meaning they ridicule others like you, with impunity and without apparent consequence because that is the current way the wind is blowing, well then, it is likely you’re being pushed out.

Pulled Toward a Different Land, Because Well, the Grass Seems Greener...Well Is It?



In this category we find what is referred to as the financial refugees.  Now, to me, that term in and of itself is sort of a pushing term, as if you have no standing, no land, no culture because you’re on a “low income”.
 

In this category is also those that have plenty of means, but in their own land they would not be able to necessarily, according to their understanding anyway, live at the top end of consumption and lifestyle, i.e. live in luxury, get a maid, a butler, eat steak and lobster, have the best views, etc. etc. and all on a salary which would in times past be considered not really all that extravagant.  

These types back home would be considered those that “keep up with the Jones's”.  They want to report to those ‘back  home’ about the wonderful views they have, how many more bedrooms they have, how many more square feet they have, than their counterparts back home.
 

There is a third category, those that have these kinds of means, but are also being pushed out.  However they straddle both sides of the whole. 

Moving somewhere to improve your surroundings in such a way that you find peace is a long established, historical norm.  Abraham of the bible did it.  However, this is not the kind of ‘peace’ that the second category is looking for.  This is the kind of peace, where you are willing to accept the perceived minor inconveniences of lowering your standards, just like Abraham did.  Why? Because you are finding your peace from within.  Such is the kingdom of God.  There is more to say about this.

The second category, the financial refugees may feel they are being pushed out but in reality they are being ‘pulled out’ with the promise of a better financial life.  If you’re in this category, take heart.  You may have spent your whole life working up to your social security check and realized you’ve been swindled.

It’s ok, there’s a lot of things you can do, and nowadays, in this information age we live in, there are lots of tutorials online from people that live well on practically nothing.  If this is your major concern, you may or may not find peace moving abroad.  It all depends on your skills at blending in, living local, picking up new skills such as a new language etc.  If this is not part of your thinking already, you may have a rude awakening.

 No matter where in the world we’re thinking of relocating to we may find that no place is going to be PERFECT.
 

Finding our REAL Paradise is within our attitude and emotional well being; No place on earth can make a person at peace in and of itself because that person must first be a contented person. Running from the problems of the world is like running from God…they’re everywhere…we must learn to detach from those things which bring us discontent. Life is about detaching from circumstances that we find destructive and if we’re the type of person that has a difficult time doing that, moving to a different city abroad will not make our life happier.
 

Leaving one country to move to another country for financial reasons is escaping the fear of living below normal economic standards. However, moving to a third world country where most things are not up to the standards of the North American middle class may not bring most people the peace they are looking for, in fact, you will come to find out that “cheap paradise” is not all cracked up to be what you thought it would be. 
 

Why would someone move from the economic standards of a society they are so used to, to move to a lower standard of living? Perhaps because they were mislead?
 

The “travel abroad hucksters” prey on people who want to continue living in the middle class and subsequently they are usually the ones that are the most susceptible to being mislead. The hucksters love to say that blah-blah developing country has a growing and high middle class because they know that it will “wow” you” and “entice you” to move there. But this is very misleading.

It’s perfectly fine to move to a place because cost of living seems lower compared to where you are living now but do not expect to live in the lap of luxury like many of these hucksters insinuate.  Continuing calling a city abroad “paradise” for instance, gets people who feel discontented where they are now to move abroad for mistaken reasons that we have mentioned in this article thus far.

We’re not discounting anyone’s feelings because ALL reasons for moving abroad are valid reasons to have but don’t become mislead by your reasons!   Ask most expats that went home after living abroad and they will tell you, “It wasn’t better, but it certainly was different”. It wasn't better because there is too much confusing and misinformation out there about moving abroad.
 

Choosing to Move Abroad
 

CHOOSING to, or volunteering to move abroad means we have volunteered without feeling pressured to do so. We are neither pushed, nor pulled.  We have a plan of how we’re going to live, what our cost of living is going to be, and what we’re going to do when we get to new land.  We already know everything in advance and we’re gung-ho to begin the new chapter in our life.
 

We have met and know personally many expats over the last five years and the happiest and most content are the ones who volunteered to move abroad; there was no pressure to leave for economic or political reasons; they were not escaping something but rather opening up a new chapter in their life experiences. 
 

Until we write again, try out these related articles about moving somwhere abroad.
We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

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