So what exactly is an Expat?
It is so uncommon for information about living abroad to be geared at young people that most have never even heard the word Expat. I have experienced countless blank stares in response to trying to use the extended term Expatriate. Don’t worry, I’m not referring to some sort of crazy militiaman. An Expatriate or Expat is just a person living in a different country from where he or she is a citizen.
There are American Expats living in almost every country in the world. People become expats for many reasons. Some become expats when their jobs push them into overseas territories. Some become expats when ailing family members require assistance in foreign lands.
Some become expats for shorter amounts of time to learn and become fluent in other languages. The most recent wave of expatriates seem to be leaving for the very reason that many immigrants come to the US in the first place, opportunity.
The American folklore has always been that this is a country where opportunity abounds. “The land of milk and honey.” Well that myth has started to unravel. The latest economic downturn has cast a spotlight on Americas many problems. For portions of our population, this has never been the land of opportunity. In fact for some at the extreme, this has been the land of deprivation.
No matter where you are on the ladder of opportunity in America today, the latest financial crunch has forced everyone to reassess their values and priorities. Many Americans are starting to re-think their current addictions to consumption that necessitate working slavishly long hours in order to just “get by.”
The question has most recently become, is there a better way? Is there a way to do work that I love, work for less hours, have more days off, and make enough money to live extremely well in an environment that I love? Many current expats are answering that question with a resounding YES!