My Journey to Expat Life: From Remote Worker to Nomadic Expat
What opened the door to my journey to expat life was the opportunity to work remotely.
No longer confined to an office, in a particular location I was able to negotiate the ability to work from anywhere in the world as long as I had stable internet, was able to complete my work assignments satisfactorily, meet all deadlines and even log into meetings remotely.
What a coup! I was off to my first destination, Cuenca, Ecuador, for five months.
Cuenca whetted my appetite to explore other destinations I wanted to experience intimately and most importantly, as a local.
I wanted to stay long enough to gain a sense of what it might be like to live there.
My Journey to Expat Life: Around the Globe? Well Almost
Circling back to my small casita in Tucson, AZ (which I have decided to keep and rent when out of the country), I next landed in Granada, Nicaragua; then Antigua, Guatemala; Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Lanjaone, Spain; Rovign, Croatia; Vila Nova de Misfontes, Portugal; Oaxaca, Mexico, and a few others along the way. The list kept growing. Over the past eight years, I’ve lived in each of these unique towns and cities for 1-5 months, the length of stay often dictated by the validity of a tourist visa. They each offer up their special cup of local coffee, culture, cuisine, countryside, climate, architecture, history, customs and residents.
My Journey to Expat Life: Wherever I Hang My Hat – I Am Home
There is a sense of belonging when you are in a place long enough to know the vendors that you frequent at the mercados, when you are on a first-name basis and have conversations with other swimmers and the workers at the local swimming pool, when you socialize with the students from the language school, or join a local hiking group or cooking class.
My Journey to Expat Life Goes On
I have found there are so many options and I still have more to explore.
Not ready to make a definitive decision or any type of commitment—could I, should I, would I, just do it – live here long term or permanently, as an expat.
Life is too dynamic. I cannot choose one destination. For me, living is like water—flowing, moving, always changing, the temperature, consistency, depth, velocity, viscosity, location.
So, I continue with my “liquid life”, it invigorates me, forces a reset, disrupts placid routines, and has been shown to formulate new neural pathways which enhance creativity. I find it an essential part of trying to understand and maneuver our rapidly changing world.
I also get antsy every three to four months, needing this change of pace, scenery and stimulation. And I’m okay with this nomadic meandering. It keeps my mental and physical senses sharpened and aroused.
The bottom line is: I have eased into and chosen to be a serial nomadic pre-pat (expat) or whatever label it deserves. I’m not a full-fledged expat because this lifestyle works for me right now.
The choices are different for each individual. In my next blog, I’ll discuss the various forms of an expat lifestyle to help you decide what might work best for you. Where will you land?
by: Gwen Hyatt