Saying It Out Loud: I’m Going to be an Expat!

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

Casually Browsing Your Dream

There came a day when I realized not everybody spends their breaks looking at foreign country apartment listings and international job postings.

Sure, maybe a few have been guilty of booking their spring break trip to Miami on the clock, but I was seriously planning a new life in a foreign country!

Fly Away - An Exciting Expat Experience By unsplash
Fly Away – An Exciting Expat Experience By Unsplash

There are some who are perfectly content staying right where they are… and understandably so.

Familiarity is secure for most; but for the rest of us, we spend our lunch hour looking up Visa Requirements in Mexico as if our bags were already packed.

I found myself constantly fantasizing about a life in a far-away place where I could spend my days soaking in the sultry sun instead of fighting the biting blusters of the Chicago suburbs.

The spirit of adventure, the allure of tropical days, the glamor of “starting over,” whatever it was, it was calling me.

Today, people often ask me, “How did you know you were ready to move to Mexico?”

“It’s a process!” I tell them. It starts way before you say it out loud!

Dream Big or Stay Home

Dreaming is perhaps the first step in becoming an expat.

Be careful with those inspired vision boards and innocent web searches, my friends! That’s what got me where I am today: living the life in a seaside pueblo near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

You start to envision a postcard of your future life. You’re skiing on the slopes of Switzerland or are sailing in Australia. I had my heart set on Mexican sunsets and chelas con los amigos.

Whatever that vision is for you, hold on to it.

Research and Report

If you’re curious enough to dream, you’re curious enough to do the research. In my case, I was writing the Mexican Consulate in Chicago like we were old friends. I was searching for real estate, and I was browsing local groups on various social media platforms. That was before I found the TCI Expat Alliance, though.

Main road through Valle Dorado, Nayarit, Mexico by Dale Hanstad
Main road through Valle Dorado, Nayarit, Mexico by Dale Hanstad

I didn’t feel confident enough to say anything out loud at this point personally, but how casual could this kind of browsing have really been?

I toyed with the idea of moving abroad for almost a decade until the definitive moment I said to a contactor at work, “I’m moving to Mexico to be a writer.”

We had just wrapped up a meeting about plans for the next year, and there I was, commenting that I wouldn’t be there in that time.

On the drive home that day, I reflected on the exchange:  What in the world possessed me to say that? I have no idea. Now that I’ve said it, do I have to make it happen? Yes. How? I’ll figure it out!

Departure for Mexico

Roughly six months later, with a little finagling, I found myself on a plane to Mexico City. It was the start of the life-changing expat journey on which I find myself today—one that I only made a reality when I said it out loud!

Have you said the important words yet? Or are you still dreaming; researching during lunch breaks and imagining the life that you always wanted? Let me know what holds you back or what helped you make the same decision I made. We can help!

by: Dale Hanstad