Expat Planning: A New Perspective

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

Two and a Half Years Ago, I Said “Yes!”

I set my sights at the top and was determined to get started, to force through the obstacles as best as I could until I reached my goal of a healthy and stable expat lifestyle.

Puerto Vallarta Mirador by Dale Hanstad (2021)
Puerto Vallarta Mirador by Dale Hanstad (2021)

Was it all I imagined during my expat planning?

I left behind the frozen tundra known as “Chicago in February” and made my way toward the warm and welcoming shores of beautiful Mexico.

When the plane touched down at the Aeropuerto Internacional Licenciado Gustavo Dias Ordaz, sun, sand, and surf greeted me with open arms.

Since That Time, I’ve Learned a Lot About Mexico, Expat Life, Expat Planning, and Myself

I practiced Spanish until I was blue in the face, made numerous calls to plumbers and various repair professionals, and ate more tacos than I can count. I threw some back with some very tasty margaritas. I even got into a regular exercise routine.

I love it here, even on the days when it hasn’t been so easy. The hard times taught me resilience and patience. The good ones showed me love and gratitude.

Expat Planning Is a Difficult Topic Because It’s Different for Everybody

Puerto Vallarta Mirador Higher by Dale Hanstad (2021)
Puerto Vallarta Mirador Higher by Dale Hanstad (2021)

Some people wouldn’t give shoving their gear in a backpack and jet-setting halfway around the planet a second thought.

Others, though, require a bit more assurance before making the jump. They want to land with a job, visa, insurance, and home already arranged.

Legalities and logistics take center stage in their minds.

With some work lined up, I had insurance and income covered. I also had my visa situation pretty much squared away.

All that was left to do was to find a place to crash—not too bad!

Write Your Story by Dale Hanstad (2021)
Write Your Story by Dale Hanstad (2021)

As the route before me began to unfold, there were plenty of moments that were exhausting (like finding a place to live).

Others gave me a chance to take a break and enjoy the view (for example, learning new recipes).

Both are important if you want to make it as an expat.

When I leave Mexico, I’m sure I’ll return. I’ve made friends that I love to the moon and back.

I figured how to navigate highway 200 like a local. How could I turn my back entirely on such a magical place?

Puerto Vallarta Mirador Top by Dale Hanstad (2021)
Puerto Vallarta Mirador Top by Dale Hanstad (2021)

That being said, I’m not sure I’ve found my forever home.

Expat life is tantalizing in that new twists and turns take us by surprise, sending us to any of the globe’s four corners when we least expect it.

In order to see where I’ve been, and where I’m going, there is no better vantage point than the top.


Now That I’ve Reached the Pinnacle of My Path, Change Is Afoot, New Expat Planning

I may be bringing it home sooner than I had planned, as new opportunities present themselves.

Regardless, I’m looking back at the past with joy and pride—the climb was worth it in the end! I’m also sneaking a glance at the future, ready to make the most out of a world of possibilities.

Where are you in the expat planning process? Setting your sights at the top, enjoying the view, or glancing out at all the horizon may hold? Tell me about the next chapter.

by: Dale Hanstad