Making the decision to become an expat was eezy breezy for me because I always knew that when I grew up I wanted to be an expat wife.
I have heard, though, that for many people considering joining the Expaterati, the decision can be a challenging one. Because I am all about giving generously and paying it forward and stuff, I wanted to share my expertise in this area, for anyone currently wrestling with the matter.
So here is a complete in-depth exploration of the awesome and non-awesome reasons for being an expat.
To save your marriage
As long as you go to a place where childcare and other staff are subsidised by your employer or just crazy cheap, you will find that you have a great deal of time to work on your marriage. This can take the form of spending more time together (to do unmentionable things like swinging or ballroom dancing), or less time together in order to simultaneously enhance your inherent mutual hotness via engagement with new activities. Either way, leaving your friends, family, and everyone who knows you can have a hugely beneficial impact on healing a flailing marriage, particularly if you have children. Ok, maybe not always the case in Singapore, where the number of expat divorces is frankly astounding, but I intuitively know that it is definitely a smart decision to become an expat if you’re having marital issues. I just know, ok?? Trust me.
Because you’ve been one forever anyway
If you are nomadic by nature, it’s sensible to remain a fully paid-up member of the Expaterati until you shuffle off this mortal coilio. The only caveat is that, if/ when you retire (although I’m not convinced that expats really get “old” – we just get more tanned and more interesting), you will reach a point when you can no longer physically board planes. When that day comes, you will be stuck. STUCK, I tell you! (The word alone strikes fear into the souls of all expats, like garlic to vampires.) Sorry to break it to you, but eventually the flitting must cease. The good news is that, because you have been everywhere and you know all there is to know (about taxes and healthcare in particular), you are in the fortunate position of being able to locate the best places in which to be STUCK. So, hallelujah, as a Forever Expat, you are totes on to a winner!!
To get a good education for your kids
If, unlike moi, you’re in the position where you can’t afford private schools at home or you have to pretend to be religious to get your kid into a decent school, becoming an expat can be a wise move, providing your package covers schooling. If it’s covered, that’s amazebobs, but if you’re not on a package and you can’t afford private schools, babeses, you’re kind of onto a loser with this reason.
To take your kids on trips to far-flung places that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise
Absolutely, but when you or they stop being expats, make sure they know not to go on and on about Mount Kilimanjaro and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon if they’re hoping to make any new friends. Also tell them that it’s best not to use the words “holiday” or “vacation” as verbs (and god forbid, the word “brunch”), should they ever find themselves in non-Expaterati company.
To be a big fish in a smaller pond
This is one of the best reasons everrrrr for becoming an expat, and one that many people espouse to advance their careers. At home you might be a nobody, but over here, you’re Somebody, baby! Go, you!!
To meet interesting and diverse people
If, where you come from, interesting people are thin on the ground, then this is a fabulous reason to leave. That said, interesting people only want to be friends with other interesting people, so you had better make damn sure that you up your game if you want to run with the cool Expaterati. Otherwise you will find yourself in the Dull Crowd, surrounded by all the boring peeps who, like you, left to get away from their boring peeps.
To run away from something or everything
This is where expathood really comes into its own. Like saving a marriage, if you had some bad stuff goin’ down back home – bad friends, bad habits, bad situations – moving thousands of miles away will just evaporate all of that, like it never even happened. So in my role as expert expat, I can categorically tell you that if you choose to up sticks and relocate far far away from your problems, those problems will be magically fixed. Like going to Dr Seuss’ Solla Sollew, “where they never have troubles, at least very few”.
So those are the awesome reasons. If you can think of any other ones, please let me know in the comments, or post on Expat EJ’s Awesome Facebook Page. Now to the non-awesome reason. From my vast, unrivaled knowledge, there is only one of these:
To learn a new language
If your first language is English, it is a scientifically proven fact that for 98.3% of your time as an expat, you will only hang out with English speakers. So you’re just as likely to learn a new language at home. Not doing it at home? Well then… BUT, if you are thinking about your kids learning new languages, expathood is totes the way ahead because, in Asia anyway, they will have Mandarin drilled into them from the moment they emerge from the womb. And that. Is. Awesome.
Well, I must fly because I’m off out tonight with my girlies, and I’m been running late all day. I had to spend an age explaining to the help how to delete videos from Max’s iPad. It’s synced with Don’s iCloud account, so I found Max watching Break Bad this morning before school. ARGH! We can’t have him aspiring to be a chemist. Not when he has to become a hedge fund manager.