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Thread: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

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    Question Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    GTFOH.

    This is a daunting prospect for the Wife and I to entertain and I am looking for legitimate resources with which to evaluate the possibilities.

    We're looking at Belize & Panama, Panama City atm... nevertheless nothing is heavily weighted as yet.

    Thanks in advance!
    Martin

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    So you are thinking of decamping? Not sure what the question is.
    Jay Dwight

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Quote Originally Posted by ides1056 View Post
    So you are thinking of decamping?
    Indeed. The question is: "I am looking for legitimate resources with which to evaluate the possibilities."

    I'm doing research. Real estate, infrastructure, ease of immigration, lifestyle, medical, yadayadayada, etc..

    So recommendations in terms of where to be poking around online and such from folks with actual experience.
    Martin

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...


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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnmdesigner View Post
    Have you spent any time in the countries you have mentioned?

    https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...-advisory.html
    That is a part of the plan. Extended stays in the contenders. Panama City is considered a "world," city with an apparently vibrant ex-pat community + amenities. The areas specified in the travel advisory are incredibly remote and have no bearing on where we'd seriously consider settling. I live in the Bronx, I can easily find neighborhoods as "bad," as those travel advisories. ;)
    Martin

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    If you are keeping your current address as a home base while you explore then no need for a visa in the beginning. You can travel up to 90 days on a US passport.
    Non working visas everywhere a bureaucratic formality as long as you have plenty of cash in the bank and a clean record.
    We had planned to apply for a year visa to Spain this year but that was impossible and won't be a realistic option for some time.
    We are just the opposite and want to avoid the ex-pat community as much as possible.

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Not one myself, but many friends are.

    A major consideration is how interested you are in being part of your new home. There are places that cater to expats... but it's mostly early retirement folks and if you're looking to escape the worst of american ugliness, well, those places have imported it. It ends up just being rich-white-america with a lower cost of living.

    If you're actually interested in being part of the culture, then it's going to be about how quickly you can find friends and acquaintances. My friends who immigrated found the social isolation crushingly difficult to deal with--and they are all typically people who don't struggle meeting and talking to people. In most cases it took them years to settle in. A strong command of the language(s) before hand is a must. Having work lined up before hand helps considerably, both for the paperwork and for the connections to people. Immigration is hard. Most folks do it as a desperate measure for a reason.

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Are you running toward something new, or running away from something here?
    You know how that saying ends......

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Might help if you were more specific about your plans. Is this for work? If so, what's the profession? Retirement? If you choose to work, this limits your options for locations. If you choose location, this limits options for work.
    Your situation (or perceived questions) sounds a bit different than what I have to offer but I have experience working as an expat. I don't really have a say in where I'm located, or my living arrangements, or how long I'll be in a given location. It's more of a 'make the best of it' or 'suck it up' until you move on. Most of what I'm responsible for is what I deem as items I can't live without - bike and espresso machine sum that up. Everything else is provided. I don't have an opportunity to settle so real estate, infrastructure, lifestyle etc. mean nothing to me.
    What does matter - I miss friends and family. I miss the shit I would normally decline to attend if I was in the US. I miss the familiarity that comes from growing up in a place and knowing the people. I miss the simple shit. This ranges from 'will I have electricity or water service tonight' to 'can I trust the food' to 'should I take a alternate route home'. Being in places you wouldn't normally want to be makes it very difficult to relax.
    Regardless of all stupid shit that happens in the US, it's still a wonderful country.
    Rick

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Quote Originally Posted by spopepro View Post
    Not one myself, but many friends are.

    A major consideration is how interested you are in being part of your new home. There are places that cater to expats... but it's mostly early retirement folks and if you're looking to escape the worst of american ugliness, well, those places have imported it. It ends up just being rich-white-america with a lower cost of living.

    If you're actually interested in being part of the culture, then it's going to be about how quickly you can find friends and acquaintances. My friends who immigrated found the social isolation crushingly difficult to deal with--and they are all typically people who don't struggle meeting and talking to people. In most cases it took them years to settle in. A strong command of the language(s) before hand is a must. Having work lined up before hand helps considerably, both for the paperwork and for the connections to people. Immigration is hard. Most folks do it as a desperate measure for a reason.
    Spot. On.
    Rick

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    This is retirement. I'm retired, she's almost retired and we absolutely want to avoid American ugliness. What intrigues us about the two locations I've listed thus far are their international aspects of the ex-pat communities; not necessarily American only. Not looking for that; we absolutely do not want to be living within the fences of one of these pre-fab American domiciles. Spanish (or Italian) for us isn't insurmountable...P City has a 15% literacy of English, etc. Belize is an "officially" English country.

    We're tired of NYC living, we do like beaches. We are open in the adventurous sense and are willing to do a bit of legwork to ingratiate ourselves. Still, ideally, there are amenities that make these kinds of transitions far easier and that's things we're keeping an eye out for as well.
    Martin

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Having lived outside the US most of my adult life, and now keeping one foot in the US and one foot out of the US, I will add to what Ras72 offered.

    Panama City is considered a "world," city with an apparently vibrant ex-pat community + amenities.

    Don't read the brochure, this is not how it is. This is how it is:

    1. The Honeymoon- everything is new, and life is kind of wonderful. (this period can be very short like when you find yourself in Kinshasa.)
    2. Frustration- yeap, it hits you, you are not in Kansas anymore. It sucks. This can last for a while.
    3. Adaption - you may get here, but that's not guaranteed. I know people who never make it here
    4. Acceptance - yeap, you figured the new home and yourself out. You may get here, you may not, but when you least expect it, you find yourself back at #2 .


    Now here is the best part- your significant other gets to experience this independentedly from you. You may live together, you may be married for a long time, but that does not guarantee they will experience it like you. More importantly, if you are an american woman, many places suck a lot more.

    The concept of amenities is very American.

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    I know it is still the United States, but I'd look at Puerto Rico. There are areas that are snowbird filled, but a lot of the retirees are Puerto Ricans living on their pensions from working most their lives in the US. And you can get away from the touristy areas by heading away from the northeast corner. We have close friends who live in San German in the southwest region of Puerto Rico for about 4 months out of the year. Eventually they will live down there for most of the year. The surrounding area is very rural, quite old (church in town is from 1500's,) their house is from the 1700's I think. Cistern water, solar power, some grid connection for most electricity and sewage. Beaches within 15-30 minutes. Almost always one of them has zero people on it. Great weather, super nice people, lots of Spanish spoken, high quality farm products (bio and organic farming taking off there.) So lots to recommend it.

    They moved to San German because it was already a community of people with a long history and the climate was great (a lot drier than northeast) plus the beaches. They didn't want to move down and recreate a microcosm of what they already had in the Catskills.

    Of course, there are logistical hurdles. Puerto Rico has its own property and title laws. Importation of goods is weird. Banking. But that's going to be anywhere.

    You might plan some vacations once travel becomes immunologically stable. Here's a view from their porch. Seems mighty nice right now with a fresh 4" of snow on the ground!

    Last edited by j44ke; 02-09-2021 at 03:22 PM.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Bravo Martin! Good luck with this process; I shall live through you vicariously.
    The missus and I talk about this periodically -- certainly moreso in the past 4 years -- so I'm reading this thread with great interest. So far the two quotes that resonate most strongly with me are:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ras72 View Post
    I miss the shit I would normally decline to attend if I was in the US.
    Quote Originally Posted by vertical_doug View Post
    The concept of amenities is very American.
    I think we can get passed the first. We joke about how we've lived in New York City for over 20 years (these last 17 in Manhattan) and yet we can count the number of times we've been to a museum, a Broadway show, Lincoln Center, The Blue Note, Village Vanguard, or Madison Square Garden on our four hands and still have enough fingers left to make a fist and punch ourselves in the head for not going to a museum, a Broadway show, Lincoln Center, The Blue Note, Village Vanguard, or Madison Square Garden often enough.

    But while Ms. Thing and I may have a lot of different ideas about what stuff qualify as "amenities" versus "luxuries" the stuff we agree are "necessities" are dealbreakers...and a good chunk of those things are apparently unique to the USA. :::sigh:::

    Looking forward to hearing how this works out for you.

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    Bravo Martin! Looking forward to hearing how this works out for you.
    Hey Bob, I hope all is well with you and yours...

    This is a good opportunity to define what we mean by amenities for the thread.

    An abundance of fresh food, fresh air, a pleasant if humble, and yet inspiring vista. Solid infrastructure (power/water/sewage/comms)

    We're not very "stuff" oriented.

    The daughter will remain in NYC for sure, and we'll crash on her couch as need be. :)
    Martin

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Quote Originally Posted by vertical_doug View Post
    Having lived outside the US most of my adult life,



    Where do you live Doug? And yes, we certainly need to be realistic about the adjustment process. I appreciate the objective pragmatism folks are bringing into the thread. I'm a bit a of a cynic in general so... it's comforting!
    Martin

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    As you age, you become more appreciative of, as well as more dependent on your medical professionals...a location that has access to great healthcare would be paramount for me in retirement.
    rw saunders
    hey, how lucky can one man get.

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    Quote Originally Posted by rwsaunders View Post
    As you age, you become more appreciative of, as well as more dependent on your medical professionals...a location that has access to great healthcare would be paramount for me in retirement.
    Medical access is high on the list for sure.
    Martin

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    I've been an expat my entire adult life and lived in a few places, and I too think about where I want to settle eventually and retire. I've yet to identify a place that ticks all my boxes.

    I strongly recommend that you visit places on your short list, rent a house or an apartment, and stay there for at least a couple of weeks to suss it out. Even then, be aware that the things that will really cause frustration are things that you normally take for granted, the stuff you don't need to deal with when you're a visitor. It would probably help to talk with expats that moved to the area less than 5 years prior, ie, not too jaded yet. Someone mentioned healthcare: it'll really suck if you aren't able to communicate your problems to the doctor, nurse, or the receptionist and understand what they're saying.
    Chikashi Miyamoto

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    Default Re: Any American Ex-Pats here? We are heavily considering...

    (Father to a daughter whose husband is a FSO for the US State Dept. They currently live in eastern Europe, after having lived in Austria, Eritrea and Armenia. Also, brother to a sister who has lived in Spain, Japan and New Zealeand (current). My info is based on interactions with expat Americans mostly in Europe and mostly affiliated with US embassies and the military.)

    Money matters. A lot. Many countries will welcome expat Americans with open arms if they have a high net worth and will not be a drain on their economy.

    It's difficult for Americans to truly be a part of the local community. A lot of it is us; much of it is them.

    Learning a new language at an advanced age is difficult. Very difficult. Unless you are a savant. It's much too easy to navigate Europe as an English speaker. Less so Asia and Central/South America.

    Anecdotally, it seems like most of the expats I've met aren't overly immersed in the local community. They largely stay within the expat community of English speakers. Of course, it could be that those that do embrace the local community don't much cross paths with those that don't.
    Best Regards,

    Jason Curtis
    FoCo, CO

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