Continuing on with the previous discussion on timing, there is one more idea that probably should receive consideration. That would be the idea of becoming an ex-patriot. As in, going to live and work in some other country for a period of time. While this is not an ideal option for many traveler these days, it does have a certain appeal to some.
I have to confess at this point in the post that I am one of the people that it has an appeal for. Living somewhere new is the best way to become fully immersed in another culture. Working in another country can also give you a different view of industry you happen to work in. Best of all, living in another country gives you a new point of origin from which to travel.
If you live in New York and can only afford to fly to Europe, you never see anything besides Europe. Not that there’s anything bad about Europe. I happen to love Europe. But, if you move to Europe to work, when you get vacation you can travel to Eastern Europe or Africa, or maybe the Middle East. It also make the previous choices of the weekender and standard 2 week usable options inside Europe, which will greatly increase the amount of land you can cover. If you live in California, you can do the same thing going in the other direction. Travel made easy!
Now, I admit, it’s not really all that simple. Actually changing work and moving to an international employer can be problematic. For one simple obstacle, most European countries look for people that are bi-lingual. There are firms out there that don’t require multiple languages, but one must be diligent when looking. Also, you will find that when you become immersed in another culture, it can be temporarily overwhelming. (Having been dropped in Germany when I was 18 years old, thanks to the US Army, I found this out first-hand.)
There are numerous other problems as well. Logistical problems with moving things to another country. Serious tax implications. If you’re married, then there are a whole host of family issues to be dealt with. Schools, housing, medical issues, etc. They are all important issues to be considered before taking off to another country.
If you’re single or divorced, the situations are simpler. Also, if you want to stay with a firm based in America, you’re situation is simpler. If you work for a large firm, the first thing I suggest is that you check with your current employer to see if they have employment options in other countries. If they do, well then, you really have things in hand.
There are a host of international employers based in the United States that can simplify the issues of working visa’s, citizenship, medical insurance, and relocation. There are also a host of international companies that will streamline these problems for new hires. They are usually especially happy to help when the project locations are in less than secure locations.
The real upshot to all these problems, once they are overcome, is that you can explore your new HOME country. Then, you can travel to new locations and see many new things without having to purchase airline tickets that drag you halfway around the globe, and drain your finances.
If you’re not locked into any specific region of the world, then becoming an ex-patriot is a viable option to be considered. It’s not a good idea for everyone. It can be a great idea for some. Working outside North America can be a rewarding travel and social experience.
Just something else to consider. Now, get out there.
The author at the Fortress of Tomar, Portugal, fall of 2009. I was doing some book research for my third novel.