benefits of moving abroad

6 benefits of moving abroad

Escaping the West might be a frightening prospect for many of you.

There are a great number of reasons why you’d want to get the fuck out as soon as possible, and I’ve covered them in:

In this article, I’ll approach the topic from the other side, and talk about several things you could gain by moving to another, non-Western nation.

Many of those are of course dependent on your current situation.

If you’re moving from Hickville, Alabama to Tokyo, Japan, you’ll probably not decrease your cost of living.

And if you like snow and cold weather, you won’t see an upgrade in your life upon moving from Norway to Thailand.

However, in general, you’ll be able to improve your current situation in just about every regard by moving abroad.

In which aspect(s) and to what degree depends on you.

And of course, you also have to take into account an almost certain decrease in the negative factors we’ve talked about in the previous articles. 

More personal freedom

The number one thing you can gain from moving to another, non-Western country is more personal freedom, on nearly every level.

This might come as a surprise to you, especially if you’re an American, but the Western World is definitely not free.

I’ve alluded to this before, but let’s expand on it a bit more now.

Yes, you have more apparent civil liberties than in, say, Russia, North Korea or Afghanistan, but these aren’t countries you’d want to move to anyway, so they aren’t viable comparisons.

At this point in time, regardless of which Western country you live in, you are generally less free now than people have been in most of the history of the West.

The current United States government is the biggest government that has ever existed, both absolutely and relatively.

It has far more power and control over its citizens than any other “totalitarian” regime, kings or emperors in the past could have even dreamed of, and it isn’t shy about abusing it either.

The same can be said about governments of other Western nations, but to a lesser degree.

And the saddest part is that most of us do not even realize this, because we have grown accustomed to the insane amount of regulations and laws that determine everything we can and cannot do.

Millions upon millions of laws dictate how you and I should – and can – live.

And if we do not follow them, we are imprisoned or fined, by the same people we fund with our taxes, with our work.

(You might agree or disagree with these laws or with their premise of being for the greater good, but that’s not the point here.)

Examples

  • In the US and many other countries, you cannot legally pay another consenting adult for sex
  • An adult human being cannot take any drugs he or she wants to, only those that are allowed and taxed by the government
  • You have to build your own house according to strict regulations, and if you want to improve your property, you have to get permission from the government
  • In most countries, you cannot say what you want anymore. You can get thrown in jail, fired, fined or publicly shamed for your opinion or choice of words, even if this happened decades ago
  • You cannot walk around naked on your own property if outsiders can see
  • If you enter into a marriage, you aren’t allowed to legally separate unless the government approves of it
  • In some countries, you are forced to vote in pointless elections
  • You cannot name your child whatever you want
  • You (and your children) have to go to school until you reach a certain age, or set up some sort of other educational scheme
  • You have to wear helmets and seat belts
  • In some countries, you could get drafted and forced to fight and die in wars you may not approve of
  • And of course, you have to pay taxes for nearly every aspect of your life, because if you don’t, you’ll go to prison

Every year, more and more of these restrictions are introduced.

And again, your opinion on the “validity” of these restrictions isn’t the point! 

Oh, and all of this was true before the COVID-19 crisis gave governments the opportunity to impose even more rules on their populations.

And in its wake, even more restrictions will be implemented “for the good of the people”.

The point is that every single aspect of your life is tightly regulated, and personal freedom in the West is a massive illusion.

You’d be hard pressed to find something that you can or cannot do about which there isn’t some sort of law or restriction.

Counter arguments

Now, at this point you might be wondering about two things.

The answer is very simple: because a lack of personal freedom for citizens is not a problem for a government or a nation.

In fact, the tighter citizens are controlled and regulated, the stronger a government gets.

It’s only a problem for citizens on an individual basis.

  • Is it any better in other countries though?

This is a rather common point of view, and one that gets pointed out to me a lot.

Surely it isn’t any better in second- and third world countries? Surely they limit freedom even more?

The answer here is that in almost every single case, this is not so.

In most “inferior” countries (inferior only from the biased and uneducated point of view of an average Westerner), your personal freedom usually goes up, because there are fewer rules and laws dictating your day-to-day life.

On the surface, this might not be apparent, especially if you’ve never spent any significant time abroad.

On a macro level, it might seem you are more restricted in, say, Thailand and the Philippines.

In the former, you cannot insult the king, and in the latter, all drugs are illegal (except, again and of course, those that the government can tax and thus allows).

However, if you have no interest in insulting the king or doing drugs, living in those countries comes with the definite upside of having way more freedom in what you can and cannot do on a daily basis.

Yes, there are some laws of some countries which will restrict your freedom more than it would be in the West in a specific area, but in many more other areas, the opposite will be true.

You might not agree with things a specific government does or dictates, but as long as it does not affect you personally, why would you care?

The key here is moving to a country where the specifically harsh laws do not affect you, so you can take advantage of the increased freedom their lack of other laws provides.

That is the most important difference between the false concept of personal freedom in the West and actual personal freedom abroad: Laws dictating every part of your life versus laws dictating some very specific parts of your life.

No country is perfect, let me repeat that.

I’ve talked about this in more detail in Every country sucks.

It’s just a matter of finding the country that sucks the least FOR YOU PERSONALLY.

  • If you care about insulting the Thai King, don’t move to Thailand. Move to any of the dozens of other countries where you can do that without running into problems.
  • If you want to do drugs, don’t move to the Philippines. Move to another country where you can smoke it up.
  • If you don’t care about either of those things, like I do, then you can live in both of them and experience a level of daily personal freedom you would never get in the West.

More opportunities

If you’re unhappy with who you were in your country or how people perceived you, moving abroad gives you the opportunity to completely reinvent yourself in a different environment.

A fresh start, a new beginning, where you can be who you want to be, instead of what your nation of birth has pressed upon you.

Different countries breed different people, and if you’re dissatisfied with the men/women in your country in general, or just want to experience something else, moving abroad is a good option.

Different sexual tastes can be problematic or at least frowned upon in your own country, but it might not be elsewhere.

For example, if you’re an old guy who likes to date 18 year old men or women, you’ll definitely draw looks and comments in the West.

In Asia, this is commonplace, and nobody gives a shit.

Or this could be as simple as being really into Latina women but living in Norway, where the supply of such is pretty low, or totally digging Asian men while living in France.

You really open up a lot more avenues of sexual and romantic success and happiness by moving to a country where what you like is available in abundance, instead of being scarce.

Not only will you have a larger “supply” to choose from, you will also encounter fewer problems while dating, because your prospects know there are thousands of similar opportunities just like them available to you.

Moving on to the business side of things, in most countries it is much easier to open a business than it is in many Western nations, so if you want to start your own company, you can definitely do so much easier and cheaper abroad.

And don’t forget, you’ll be taxed a lot less too, and your money goes much further.

This means you have an excess budget available to spend as you see fit, on things that might have been out of your reach in the West.

This could be anything from eating a different kind of food, renting a boat, getting plastic surgery or organizing a 10-way with a bunch of prostitutes to using some weird kind of drugs or living in a villa for the same amount of money you’d spend on a 1-bedroom apartment in New York.

Honestly, the opportunities which open up to you upon leaving the shackles of the West behind are nearly endless.

And that’s not even considering all the more normal stuff that you could also do in your home country, but were afraid to indulge in out of fear for the reactions of your family and friends.

A cheaper way of life

Moving abroad is generally accompanied by a cheaper way of living.

As I’ve mentioned plenty of times by now, inflation and rising costs of living are a serious problem in the West, causing misery, homelessness, general poverty and an increased dependability on the government.

If you move to a region such as Southeast Asia, your monthly costs can easily be cut in half, while simultaneously allowing you to achieve a higher standard of living.

Currently, I’m living in a 4 bedroom house in Asia, and I pay around $400 in rent.

And this is in a reasonably big city with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, not somewhere in the boondocks.

If you were to move to some smaller town, an island in Thailand, or somewhere in the mountains of South America, your costs would be even lower.

Utilities and groceries and so on follow a similar pattern, and it’s pretty rare to find something that is similarly priced as it would be in the West.

In addition, you’d get access to many exotic fruits and vegetables you might not even have heard of.

You are fully able to get all the “first world” amenities you want in non-Western countries, at a much lower cost and at similar (if not often better) quality.

For example:

  • Where I live, a half-hour taxi drive will set me back a few dollars
  • My monthly water bill rarely goes over 8 bucks
  • Renting a moving truck plus labor to help me move all my crap was less than $40
  • A modern, state-of-the-art gym in an air-conditioned mall comes with a monthly fee of around $20
  • Having a dental or other medical check-up is around $20

I could go on and on, giving you hundreds of real examples of how cheap living abroad can get, but I hope you see my point.

Now, it’s important to emphasize that cheaper does not usually mean inferior.

Sometimes it does, and that’s when you’ll have to pay a bit more to get the same quality of goods as in the West … but still at a lower price overall.

In addition, you can often benefit from services that are currently not available in the West.

For example, in many countries you can get someone to come to your door, pick up your laundry, and bring it back cleaned and ironed the next day – for a few dollars.

In summation: If you want to live a good and carefree life with a mediocre Western salary, you cannot do that in the West anymore, but you certainly can live it up in Asia, South America or other similar regions.

There are of course plenty of countries which I discuss which have a comparable or even higher cost of living as most Western nations, such as Singapore, Dubai or Tokyo.

And such, if a lower cost of living is important for you, you just include that in your parameters, and do not consider such countries to be viable for you at this time.

Lower and fewer taxes

As a citizen or resident of a Western nation, you are taxed extremely heavily.

It’s not uncommon for an average employee to have to give up half (or more) of his or her pay check to the government, through all sorts of taxes.

Moving abroad fixes a lot of that – depending on some factors.

  • If you move abroad, but keep your legal residence in your Western nation, you will continue to be taxed. Often at a lesser rate, but still
  • If you keep your business in a Western nation, or work an online job for a Western company, you will continue to be taxed
  • If you set up a business in the country you move to, you will often (but certainly not always!) be taxed there

Now, there are a number of ways you can go about lowering your taxes as much as possible.

I do not know which country you are in or what your specific situation in, so do not follow what I’m about to tell you without double checking everything, and making sure you stay within the legal boundaries.

  • Have a location independent income, and then move to a country that does not tax this sort of income
  • If you must set up a business, do so in a country where the taxes are extremely low (like Belize), and then do not live in that country, or have citizenship there
  • Internationalize your lifestyle, by setting up Flags. This means things like your finances, investments and businesses are spread across multiple countries, ideally in the most favorable country possible
  • Do not live in a country of which you are a citizen. Get permanent residency there, but do not become a citizen. Be a citizen of a country where you do not live most of the time

This is just a small number of ways you can pay the least amount of taxes as possible, so if you’re serious about this, talk to a qualified accountant and sort this out.

Paying little to no taxes plus a lowered cost of living means you have so much more disposable income, severely upping your quality of life and the opportunities you have access to, not to mention an increased budget for investing, which in the long run can make you very wealthy.

Different/better weather

Many people aren’t aware of how much of an impact sunshine has on your health.

A daily dose of sunshine makes you happier and healthier, and likely to live longer.

Living in a country where it rains and is overcast at least half the time really isn’t my thing, and I’m certainly not the only one.

This factor really is at the very least neutral to you, you can only win.

  • If you like sunshine and you live in a sunny Western country already, move to another sunny non-Western country
  • If you like sunshine and live in a rainy Western country, move to a sunny non-Western country
  • If you don’t like sunshine, move to a non-sunny, non-Western country (Armenia for example)

You broaden your horizon

Moving abroad gives you the opportunity to experience new things, broaden your horizon, and generally become a more complete human being.

By experiencing new cultures, you gain valuable insights into how other people live, and you depart from your provincial and narrow point of view.

You can grow as a person, or become a completely new one.

Life is about experiences, and you won’t get a broad variety of those if you stay in the country you were born in.

Life needs to be lived, and escaping the West is also about broadening your horizon, experiencing personal freedom, and seeing the vast array of opportunities that are available to you.

In summation

No country is perfect, and it’s definitely possible (and even likely) that you’ll have to deal with a decrease in quality of certain elements of your current life upon moving abroad.

However, in general you will gain much more by doing so.

Not only do you broaden your horizon and allow yourself to grow, you will also be able to enjoy a different (and often better) climate, more and more varied opportunities, lower and fewer taxes, a lower cost of living and an increase in personal freedom.

To me, more personal freedom is of paramount importance to my happiness, and this factor alone makes escaping the West one of the best things I ever did.

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