You've got that feelin' . . . you know . . . that, "I just don't feel at home here" feeling. . . or . . . "Why am I always looking at properties abroad?" feeling . . . or . . . "I just gotta get the hell outta here" feeling (in your Samuel L. Jackson voice in any of his movies).
If that's you, you are not alone.
I would advise that before you look at where you want to go, look at your reasons for leaving "These United States of America" (in my cynical voice while slowly and gently pressing my fingertips together ever so smugly). And no, I don't mean looking at Instagram photos of famous international locations that are just breath-taking photos (and yes, they truly are breath-taking photos), but that is not what's important.
I believe that finding out what you don't like, helps to determine what you do like. If you're anxious about "Getting Out" and you're feeling lost or overwhelmed about where to go, having a real talk with yourself (and yes......that's allowed) to better understand why you want to leave. That will help materialize the pathway beneath your feet that will give you the road map to planned actuality instead of just a fantasy.
But know that this global journey is a marathon that you'll have to learn to condition for.
This list is a concoction of resources from foreign consulates, books, articles, podcasts, YouTubers, and conversations with U.S. immigrants, people that already live abroad, and even people who were abroad, and for their reasons, came back to the U.S. This list is not in any particular order, it is certainly not exhaustive, and you are not required to research all of these things in order to plan your life abroad. Topics that can guide your moral and physical compass can include:
APPLY FOR OR RENEW YOUR U.S. PASSPORT
TYPES OF VISAS IN YOUR COUNTRY OF INTEREST
CURRENCY :: CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATES & BANKING
PERMANENT RESIDENCY, SECOND CITIZENSHIP & RENUNCIATION
REQUIRED VACCINATIONS BY NATIONS
TEACH ENGLISH (AND OTHER THINGS) ABROAD
STUDY ABROAD (INCLUDING S.A.S)
U.S. GOVERNMENT JOBS (USAJOBS.GOV, DODEA.EDU, USAID.GOV)
FULBRIGHT U.S. STUDENT PROGRAM
GLOBAL VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS
MULTI NATIONAL COMPANIES HEADQUARTERED IN THE U.S.
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR, FREELANCER & ENTREPRENEUR
COST OF LIVING
GOVERNMENT (RIGHTS & EQUALITY)
INFRASTRUCTURE (TRAINS, PLANES, TRAFFIC, ROADS, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, BIKABILITY, WALKABILITY, INTERNET, UTILITIES, INTERNATIONAL & IMPORTED GOODS)
HEALTHCARE & LONGEVITY (INSURANCE COST AND RANKING)
GDP (WHAT MAKES MONEY & ECONOMIC HEALTH)
GOING GREEN (ECOLOGY & SUSTAINABILITY)
FOOD & AGRICULTURE
WHO DO YOU LOVE? GENDER & SEXUAL ORIENTATION
HAPPINESS & QUALITY OF LIFE
YOUR KIDS (CHILD CARE, SCHOOL SYSTEMS, HOME SCHOOLING)
YOUR SHIT :: STORE IT, SHIP IT OR SELL IT
REAL ESTATE :: COST OF RENT & OPTIONS FOR OWNERSHIP
STAYING CONNECTED (VPN, WI-FI, VOIP, VIDEO, CHAT, INT'L MAIL, INTERNET)
TAXES :: THE U.S. & ABROAD (AARO.ORG & THE IRS F.E.I.E.)
PERMANENT RESIDENCY & CITIZENSHIP
U.S. EMBASSIES ACROSS THE GLOBE
FOREIGN EMBASSIES & CONSULATES IN THE U.S. & ACROSS THE GLOBE
VOTING WHILE LIVING ABROAD
SOCIAL WITHOUT MEDIA :: NEW FRIENDS & EXPAT COMMUNITIES
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (PRISON RATES)
MILITARY :: ARE YOU REQUIRED TO SERVE?
IS IT LEGAL? :: WHAT'S LEGAL IN THE U.S. THAT IS ILLEGAL ABROAD?
CLIMATE :: DO YOU LIKE IT HOT, COLD, HUMID, BREEZY, OR ALL OF THE ABOVE?
NATURAL DISASTERS :: WHICH ONES CAN YOU LIVE WITH?
LEAVE :: ANNUAL VACATION, HOLIDAYS, AND MATERNAL & PATERNAL
HOW TO TRACK & SAVE MONEY FOR YOUR LIFE ABROAD
APOSTILLES :: COPYING & CERTIFYING YOUR RECORDS
FBI BACKGROUND CHECKS
MEDICAL RECORDS & TESTING
INTERNATIONAL DRIVER'S PERMIT
CREATING YOUR TIMELINE TO DEPARTURE
I know, I know . . . breathe . . . BECAUSE THIS SHIT IS A LOT!!! (in my Big Momma after 6-hours of church service voice).
So, how the hell do you do all of this?
Hire a professional (like me . . . hint, hint)?
Take your last $115 dollars and your overcharged credit card and get on the next flight to the country that's willing to take you in, especially during the wrath of COVID-19?
Get help with your decision through family, friends, or a Facebook vote?
So, where do you start?
With just one.
Literally select one topic of one country that speaks to you and research the hell outta just that one topic. Not only will it help diminish your feeling of helplessness, the fact that you learned a new topic will help you get over your fears, deal with the nay-say-ers, teach you to trust your instincts, and build your confidence in your decision to choose your new country wherever that may be.
So, what topics would you choose to start with? Have you found one topic that's been more helpful than others? Was there a topic not here that I should include?
If you didn't know where to start before, I'm here to help you now.
Enjoy Your Journey,