When my husband and I first embarked on our “nomadic expat” adventure four years ago, we really didn’t have a clue about where to go and what to do once we got there. We had quit our jobs, sold our cars, and rented out our properties with a vague notion of finding another country (or, more accurately, countries) to put a stake in the ground.
The information out there directed toward aspiring expats, especially on the online boards, was often confusing and contradictory. One posting would portray Medellin, Colombia as a reincarnated version of “heaven on earth” with the perfect climate, great restaurants, and a much lower cost of living than we were used to in the States. And yet several posts later someone would post a horrific, supposedly true-life account of kidnapping, extortion, and chicanery.
We didn’t know which account was the real story. What we really needed to do was talk to a variety of expats and get an honest, more well-rounded view of the places we were hoping to visit.
The Diverse Expat Experience
Keep in mind, not all expats are created equal. Every expat has his or her own needs, desires, and experiences. These may differ, depending on age, stage in life, or what kinds of things they find motivating or exciting.
A single person in their 20s may have an entirely different take on living in Boquete, Panama than an older, retired couple.
This is but one of the many reasons why I am grateful that TCI exists. Not only do we have a variety of in-country expats who can provide a balanced, realistic view of what it’s like to live there, but they are people who are eager to share their hard-won knowledge with others. They love where they are and they want aspiring expats, or pre-pat as we like to call them, to have a positive experience.
That positive experience does not happen by chance. It all comes down to having the right resources to make important decisions. One of the ways we educate is through our “Expat Essentials” section, which gives you all the basic information you need about the country: what visas are required, the cost of living, healthcare and insurance, banking and finance, and real estate. Since this information frequently changes, we have our researchers that update it regularly.
Our Blogger Team
Then we have our team of bloggers, who tell you what life is really like in any given country from their vantage point, whether they are millennials, a young family with children, a solo expat, or retirees.
They write about the topics that really matter when you are making those all-important decisions: where to live and shop, how to navigate the cultural differences, and, of course, things they wish they knew before they made the move.
You will have the opportunity to talk to them and ask them questions foremost in your mind. We also provide forums where you can share your experiences with each other.
Opportunities to Interact
Then there are the roundtables, podcasts, and webinars, all recorded and live. Our podcasts include the back story from our Alliance Members about how they got to where they are. We also have a strong social media presence that includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
These are highly interactive, immersive experiences because we believe that one of the best ways to benefit from a community is to be truly a part of it. Our website is one of the best places to make new friends as you start to form your own community.
There is something indescribably unique about being an expat, whether you’re living in one place or roaming the world. I am so grateful to have a community of people that really “get it,” and understand the joys and challenges we expats encounter on an everyday basis. I know you will, too.
by: Eileen Brill-Wagner